Signature Courses Available by Term

Spring 2018

UNIV 1402 Signature Course vary by topic and integrated disciplines. Below are the courses offered during this term.

  • PROFESSOR: Paul Niemeyer, Ph.D. 

  • Seminar Instructor: Karla Linero, M.S. and Gaby Medina, M.A.  

  • ABSTRACT: Clones bred for body parts. Bio-engineered supermen. AI robots think, feel, and kill. Frankenfoods. These modern scientific uncertainties are all variations on fears Mary Shelley expressed in her 1818 novel Frankenstein. This course will study how, for nearly 200 years Shelley's novel has been used to express fears about scientific experiments that could go horribly wrong- from galvanism to nuclear experimentation to genetic engineering. The course looks at how literature helps form our views of society and ethics; and how the name "Frankenstein" stands for what we fear...

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Literature, History, Biology, Medicine, Ethics, Political Science

  • PROFESSOR: Deborah Blackwell, Ph.D.

  • Seminar Instructor: Daniela Rodriguez, M.A.

  • ABSTRACT: This course provides students the opportunity to examine ideas about gender and their origins.  With shorter readings about the historical and modern-day context, the course will make particular use of media analysis and the study of marketing strategies by way of giving students the opportunity to develop skills in critical thinking and written and oral communication.  We will consider the construction of femininity and masculinity as they impact the current world in which all of us live.

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Gender Studies, History, Media Studies, Marketing

  • PROFESSOR: Deborah Scaggs, Ph.D.

  • Seminar Instructor: Brenda Escudero, M.A. and Alvin Gonzalez, M.A.

  • ABSTRACT: What we choose to eat is shaped by several factors: cultural traditions, social surrounding, economic status, geography, advertising, and federal laws.  Known as “food politics,” the intersection of these factors shapes with what we actually eat, and what we “choose” to eat is not as democratic as we think.  Not only is human health at stake, but also the impact on our environment. Examining food politics as the reflection of one's individual, national, and global identities will allow students to consider the interconnectedness of several components of food beyond what is on their plate.

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Dietary Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Rhetoric
SC Course Icon-Scaggs

Race Matters in America
  • PROFESSOR: John Dean, Ph.D.

  • Seminar Instructor: Tami Summers, M.S. and Daniel de la Miyar, Ph.D.

  • ABSTRACT:Why does race matter in America? In what ways do we think about race, and how do we learn to think in such ways?  This course will trace the creation of race in the United States and examine the social, psychological, and legal consequences of race thinking.  Students will engage with media, case law, literature, and history to examine America’s racial wounds and racial progress.

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Literature, History, Biology, Law, Race Studies

Paradigms and Process:Research and the Development of Knowledge
  • PROFESSOR: Michael Kidd, Ph. D. 

  • Seminar Instructor: Destine Holmgreen, M.S

  • ABSTRACT: This class will examine how research leads to the development of knowledge by examining the process of research, the psychology and biology of memory acquisition, cognition, creativity and the process of learning, as well as the often revolutionary effects that the acquisition of knowledge has on the process of research and society.

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Science, Psychology, History, Education 

Neurobiology of Love and Sex 
  • PROFESSOR: Angelique Blackburn, Ph.D. 

  • Seminar Instructor: Ann Hoey, M.A. 

  • ABSTRACT: According to Datingsitesreviews.com, Match.com has created approximately half a million relationships, close to 100,000 marriages, and a million babies. The success of this site is due in part to the research underscoring its platform. Researchers have tested personality types, attachment styles, and other factors that determine compatibility. But why are we so eager for love? Why is the feeling intoxicating and unavoidable? Why do we seek this psychological state, even when it can end in devastation? And why is losing a romantic partner as painful as physical injury or drug withdrawal? In this course, we will discuss the neuroscience underlying the stages of romantic love and rejection, as well as psychological factors that underscore compatibility. We will also discuss the psychological and neurological basis of social bonding, including the close bond that mothers experience for their children. By the end of the course, you will understand what attracts us to our partners, encourages us to form lasting companionships, and enables us to create loving families.

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Neurobiology, Psychology, Neuroscience, 

Growth, grit, and grace: What brain plasticity can do for you!
  • PROFESSOR: Paty Cantu, M.A. and Hayley Kazen, Ph.D. 

  • Seminar Instructor: Paty Cantu, M.A. and Hayley Kazen, Ph. D. 

  • ABSTRACT: “Fire and fury!” Words or weapons? Heart or fist? How we choose to handle difficult situations is influenced by the world around us and the world within us. However, is it possible to “train the mind” and change the brain to become more resilient, persistent, and compassionate? In other words, is it possible to grow grit and grace? And, if so, how? Join us for the Signature Course Growth, Grit, and Grace: What Brain Plasticity Can Do for You! We will explore connections between brain plasticity and psychology in order to tackle questions about social issues, such as can our brains be manipulated to dehumanize others, and is it possible to program our brains to develop more kindness and compassion? We will also create a service-learning project that encourages others in our community to learn about and celebrate the brains' amazing ability to change in ways that lead to positive and productive outcomes.

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Psychology, Neuroscience, Sociology 

The Human mind 
  • PROFESSOR: Roberto Heredia, Ph. D. and Anna Cieslicka, Ph. D

  • Seminar Instructor: Abby Garza, M.S. 

  • ABSTRACT: The Human Mind course provides an interdisciplinary perspective to the scientific study of intelligent thought and behavior in humans, animals, and machines. Students will explore the intricacies of the human mind, broadly defined, by approaching it from the fields of anthropology, artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and social cognition.

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Anthropology, Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology, Neuroscience 

American Land, American Self: Human In(ter)ventions and the New world Environment 
  • PROFESSOR: Manuel Broncano, Ph.D.

  • Seminar Instructor: Jose Gutierrez, Jr., M.A. 

  • ABSTRACT: This course introduces students to the history of the New World, and especially of the United States, from an environmentalist perspective with the aim to promote an awareness of the critical importance of implementing a sustainable relationship with the ecosystem. The course will benefit from various disciplines (History, Geography, Biology, Literature) to offer a comprehensive approach to the various ways in which the American environment has shaped American identities, giving birth to a metaphorical homo americanus, as well as the ways in which Western in(ter)ventions have altered the New World ecosystems, oftentimes to the brink of destruction.

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: History, Geography, Biology, Literature

Fight for life: sustainable and climate change education 
  • PROFESSOR: Puneet Gill, Ph. D. 

  • Seminar Instructor: Virginia Watkins, M.S. 

  • ABSTRACT: Climate change is an often-discussed issue in the news, politics and in local communities. Recent events have indicated meaningful discussions about climate change can be strengthened with sustainability discussions. In Half Earth: Our Planets Fight For Life, Dr. E. O. Wilson puts forth the proposal that if we commit half of the planets surface to biodiversity we will be able to stabilize the environment necessary for our survival. Paired with the documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, you will evaluate evidence claims through a lesson plan methodology, evaluate the long term impacts of climate change and the fragile relationship between biodiversity and the impacts of climatic events. Towards the the end of the course, you will argue in defense or support of the Half- Earth proposal set forth by Dr. E.O. Wilson and analyze the feasibility of sustainable solutions to issues that relate to your major or future career aspirations.

  • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Science, Environmental Sustainability

University College 
Zaffirini Student Success Center 223 
Phone 326-2134 
Fax 326-2129