Signature Courses Available by Term

Spring 2017

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

  • Quid Est Veritas? (What is Truth?)
    • PROFESSOR: William Nolen, M.S.

    • Seminar Instructor: Conchita Hichey, Ph. D. and Daniela Rodriguez, M.A.

    • ABSTRACT:Is “the world’s” story on which we’ve been raised really how it is? How much of our worldview is based on faulty memory, family biases, incomplete information, power structures, politics, and accidents of history? The purpose of this course is to undermine beliefs about “the world.”  What is real; what is true?  Healthy skepticism and honest introspection are needed for a healthy democracy.  By exploring how easily blurred the lines are between fact and fiction in various artifacts, we expose history as reality that has been constructed as blends of bias, belief, ambition, and fear.

    • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Philosophy, Religion, Politics, History, Pop Culture

  • Choreographing Nation: The Politics of Dancing
    • PROFESSOR: Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia, Ph. D.

    • Seminar Instructor: Abby Garza, M.S.

    • ABSTRACT:This course explores how the United States' national identity was formed from the late 1800s to the mid-20th Century through dance performances with the political/historical influences.  Students will analyze the indigenous dances during Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, explore the practice of the hula, learn about the folk dance movement, examine the Nutcracker ballet, investigate Modern Dance, and study Aztec dance as it was embodied during the Chicano Movement.  With each step, the nation’s identity is uncovered.

    • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED:Dance Studies, Nationalism, American History, Chicana/o Studies, American Politics

    • PROFESSOR: Peter Haruna, Ph.D. 

    • Seminar Instructor: Monica Thorpe, M.A.

    • ABSTRACT: The course addresses personal roles and responsibilities in using the earth’s resources to achieve environmental sustainability, by distilling ideas from politics, policy, and management to illuminate how mundane practices contribute to or detract from achieving sustainability. The objective is to foster awareness, encourage environmental responsibility, apply sustainability principles in one’s own life. 

    • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Politics, Policy, Management


    • PROFESSOR: Paul Niemeyer, Ph.D.

    • Seminar Instructor: Karla Linero, M.S.

    • 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

  • Disaster Management
    • PROFESSOR: Heriberto Urby, Jr., Ph. D.

    • Seminar Instructor: Virginia Watkins, M.S. , Destine Holmgreen, M.S. , Leiza Nochebuena-Evans, M.S., and Jonathan Martinez, M.A.

    • ABSTRACT: Recent experience with catastrophic disasters such as 9/11/2001, Hurricane Katrina, Oklahoma earthquakes, or devastating flooding in Texas illustrate most vividly the need to know what and how to manage efforts to prevent, mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover successfully (efficiently and effectively) from  disasters.  This course examines many of the principles, concepts, laws, and policies that inform  Emergency Management, as well as the roles individuals have as change agents in leading and handling these disasters as they impact the quality of life.  

    • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Emergency Management, Public Administration, Political Science, Geography, Public Policy

  • The Quest for Excellence
    • PROFESSOR: Mark A. Menaldo, Ph.D.

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

    • ABSTRACT: This course’s primary goal is to carefully study Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, paying particular attention to what he thought we need to do in order to become good, or virtuous, people.  Students will gain insight into how creative and powerful philosophical ideas constitute the human experience.

    • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED: Great Books, History, Psychology, Sociology, Political Theory

  • 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

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

    • Seminar Instructor: Tami Summers, M.S.

    • 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

  • Sexual Literacy
    • PROFESSOR: Julio Lujano, DNP, FNP, RN

    • Seminar Instructor: Ann Hoey, M.A.

    • ABSTRACT:Why do you repeatedly groom yourself to look more aesthetically pleasing? Why has MTV stopped playing videos? How come you know more about Kim Kardashian than about Sylvia Plath? Comprehensive sex education is effective at educating individuals about the spectrum of influences involved in one’s sexuality. This course aims to help learners become knowledgeable and informed consumers of sexual content within their environment. Concepts discussed in the course include: sexuality research, body image, sexual consumerism, sexual ethics, morality, and the law, and more. You’re cordially invited to come and openly discuss what everyone’s NOT talking about.


    • PROFESSOR: Deborah Scaggs, Ph.D.

    • Seminar Instructor: Paty Cantu, 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

    • PROFESSOR: John Kilburn, Ph.D.

    • Seminar Instructor: Hayley Kazen, Ph.D.

    • ABSTRACT: Each of us has our own definition of what is socially just in society. Various types of people appear to be competing for finite resources. In most cases, this competition manifests itself through a form of individuals looking out for their own self-interest and offering less regard to the interests of others. This course examines how basic needs are regulated in terms of opportunities for employment, educational attainment, access to health care, and governmental benefits. Public perception of unfairness leads to significant discord that ranges from petty interpersonal incivilities to  violence and war.

    • DISCIPLINES EMBEDDED:Sociology, Business & Economics, Political Science, Philosophy, Public Health, Criminology

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