Discovery Seminars

Small, one-credit courses exploring an engaging topic

Are you ready to start your journey?

College is a time for exploration, self-discovery and personal reflection. Start your Sun Devil journey with a Discovery Seminar – a small, engaging, one-credit course designed exclusively for first-year students. These courses offer an array of benefits for students, including:

Explore the seminars

C term courses - January 9 to April 28

March Madness: College Basketball and American History 
Victoria Jackson, Lecturer - School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies

For two weeks in late March each year, Americans at home, work, and school, in airports, subways, and restaurants – nearly everywhere imaginable – tune in to watch the NCAA basketball tournaments. Most of them have filled out “March Madness” brackets and are competing with family, friends, classmates, and co-workers to determine whose “picks” are most successful.  In recent years, even the president makes his selections on a whiteboard in the Oval Office for official “Presidential Brackets.” How did these championship tournaments become an entrenched part of the American experience in the spring time, and how has March Madness changed over time? In this seminar we will begin to answer these questions as we explore topics including fandom, identity and community; technology and media; and the history of NCAA basketball. It just so happens that Arizona State University is the institutional host of the 2017 Men’s Final Four!

M 2:00-2:50 p.m., Pablo 101, SLN 31170

Time Capsule 2017 – Making History at ASU 
Catherine O’Donnell, Associate Professor - School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies

If in one hundred years, someone were to open a box and from its contents understand Arizona State University in the year 2017, what should the box contain? Participants in this seminar will get to decide that question, creating a time capsule of physical and digital objects to be opened only after generations have passed. In order to do so, we’ll think about the nature of ASU’s community and connections to the wider world; about the way historical sources from podcasts to protest signs capture and fail to capture an historical moment, and about the challenges that changes in culture and technology will pose to future Sun Devils’ ability to understand what mattered to us and why. Individuals from the College and community will offer suggestions, answer our questions, and provide guidance about how to preserve materials. At the end of the semester, we will assemble our selected items and seal the capsule. Join our seminar and find out how we learn about the past while you explore the present and send a message to the future.

W 2:00-2:50 p.m., Pablo 101, SLN 31172

Brains, Hormones and Behavior
Miles Orchinik, Associate Professor - School of Life Sciences

Explore the complex world of brain function. How do hormones influence your behavior? Are there significant sex differences between male and female brains? How does stress alter your brain, endocrine system and behavior? What are the links between stress and mood disorders, like depression and anxiety? How does childhood experience lead to lasting effects on behavior? How does one become a neuroscientist? These are some of the questions that we may discuss during the semester, depending upon the interests of the students. The seminar will be discussion-based, so you will be expected to complete an easily managed reading assignment, participate in discussion, and write a one paragraph reflection each week. There will be no exams or papers.

W 3:05-3:55 p.m., Pablo 101, SLN 31174

Drugs, Needles and People: Your future in healthcare 
Phillip Scharf, Senior Director - CLAS Pre-Professional Advising Office

Ever thought about going into healthcare? Curious what that really would look like? Come find out first-hand what you need to get there and what there looks like. This class will tour medical school facilities, interact with current medical professionals and give insight to the process of becoming a successful candidate for a career in healthcare.

W 3:05-3:55 p.m., Pablo 105, SLN 31175

B term courses - March 13 to April 28

Bring It On: Cheer & Pop Culture 
Michelle McGibbney, Lecturer - School of Social Transformation

Looking at films, TV shows and other popular representations, we will examine the popular construction of the cheerleader and how/if it has changed over time and explore how the image of the cheerleader has been depicted in American popular culture throughout the decades. We will utilize themes and images from various formats, including movies, television, and other popular representations. We will consider questions such as: Have popular images changed over time? How do issues of race, class, ethnicity or age affect these depictions?

F 12:00-1:50 p.m., Pablo 105, SLN 31169