Snapshots of Brown: First Year Seminars
Do you ever wonder what it’s like to live at Brown? What do students do? What do they see? Well, let Snapshots of Brown with Emorie Beck give you a taste of what student groups, classes, and historical scenery (the best kind) are really like. No planes, trains, or automobiles required.
It’s preregistration time for current Brown students. Whoop-di-do for current students, right? Well, prospies / prefrosh, it’s good news for you, too.
Okkaaaayyyy… But really, that means that we have access to ALL the classes for Fall 2012 and Spring 2013, and you don’t. So now is the time to end the skepticism because after the jump, I will share some of this secret knowledge with you.
Quickly, most colleges now have “First Year Seminars,” including Brown. These, basically, are limited to freshman only and usually have twenty or fewer students (heavy on the fewer). As a freshman, most end up taking larger lecture courses—this is almost unavoidable. Many introductory courses are required by several concentrations, guaranteeing large sizes in them. These, then, are great opportunities for you to get a feeling for the smaller classes you will take while at Brown.
But Brown’s First Year Seminars are BETTER THAN OTHER COLLEGES. Yep, I went there. Here are few reasons:
- Brown is like the Apple AppStore. There’s a class for just about everything.
- Try the professors’ names on Google Scholar and prepare to feel your jaw drop when you get HUNDREDS of articles which the professor wrote or collaborated on.
- Now that your mind is blow, think about the small class size. You will be developing a relationship with this professor, who, I should add, LOVES teaching freshman.
- Look at my selective list below. Do you really think there are other schools who have classes like these?
- You’re at Brown. We, despite a mistake by the Princeton Review, DO have the happiest students.
- We also have super enthusiastic students. Trust me, if I use the word “super,” I mean it. I honestly don’t remember the last time I did.
- Many of these are “WRIT” or classes with “writing designations,” meaning many have papers. Also meaning, however, that those of you who are afraid of college writing or feel unprepared will have an opportunity to take a class that will help you to with college writing. After a FYS, you WILL NOT fear college writing. And this will take care of the writing requirement freshman and sophomores have to fulfill.
- The focus of these courses is collaborative learning. Like all Brown courses, the grade is not the focus—learning is.
Before you get too annoyed by the length, here are some FYS:
(Note: to be fair and accurate, I used official descriptions; it didn’t seem fair to insert personal judgment. All are awesome!)
Anthropology – Who Owns the Past?
“Examines the role of the past in the present. Using examples from the U.S. and other parts of the world, we will look at how archaeological evidence is implicated in contemporary cultural and political issues.”
Biology – Darwinian Medicine:
“Explores evolutionary explanations of why we get sick, and how this can shape, or misshape, our interpretations of medicine. This course will build on evolutionary biology and then focus on disease processes such as infection, aging, cancer, allergy, diabetes, and obesity.”
Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences – Computing as Done in Brains and Computers:
“Brains and computers compute in different ways. We will discuss the software and hardware of brains and computers and with introduction to the way brains are organized, the way computers are organized, and why they are good at such different things.”
Education: The Campus on Fire: American Colleges and Universities in the 1960′s:
“Ole Miss, Berkeley, Columbia, and Kent State: just a few of the campus battlegrounds where conflicts over civil rights, the Vietnam War, and other major issues were fought in the 1960′s. Students consult primary and secondary sources about higher education’s role in these conflicts, and why the consequences of its involvement still linger today.”
Engineering – Power: From Early Engines to the Nuclear-Powered Artificial Heart:
“Mechanical and electrical power have been source of major changes in civilization in last 250 years. This course starts from introduction to animal muscle power and harnessing nature to steam and later sources of power and applications, examining not only the technologies but also the people who developed them and the social and political impacts, ranging up to the nuclear-powered artificial heart.”
History – Sport in American History:
“This course covers the relationship of sports to aspects of American culture since 1900. Topics include gender, race, amateurism, professionalism, intercollegiate athletics, and sports heroes.”
Literary Arts – Writers on Writing Seminar:
“Offers students an introduction to the study of literature (including works from more than one genre) with special attention given to a writer’s way of reading. This course will include visits to the course by contemporary writers who will read to the class and talk about their work.”
With this class, your speculation about an author’s purpose becomes a question you ask them IN PERSON. Trust me, I took it. It’s worth it. If you at pic at the top of the page, you’ll see why. Yep, I got ALL the autographs. AND YOU COULD, TOO!
Music – Reading Jazz:
“This course will explore the musical aesthetics of jazz in texts about its world. Students will listen to music and read poetry, fiction, autobiography and criticism to investigate techniques (including improvisation, rhythm, timbre and articulation), which authors such as Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, Charles Mingus, Stanley Crouch and Jack Kerouac employed to describe and support a creative community.”
Political Science – “Coming Out” Jewish, Gay or Black: Mistaken Identity in Literature from USA and Brazil:
“Understood as the opposite of passing or assimilating, “coming out” evokes socio-psychological and cultural tensions between public and private identities that are becoming increasingly blurred. His seminar will read fiction from the USA and Brazil by applying the tropes of “coming out” and belonging to illustrate the complex formations and ambiguous practices of identity construction.”
Sociology – Who Am I?
“A study of self in contemporary society. We investigate the development of the self as a way of being in the world that makes everyday doings and, ultimately society, possible.”
PLUS!!!! You can take Hieroglyphics (anytime you want—it’s not an FYS)! How cool is that?
So, think of these and the amazing freshman year you will have when you think about which college to attend next year / in the future!
Plus, a reward for those of you who stuck it out! This one even beats my last secret reward!
Want to know about a specific type of group or classes? Want to see if we have a certain kind of building or scenery that matches your heart’s desire? Have some questions? Email me at email@example.com or leave a comment below!