Gateway Courses

Gateway Descriptions - Academic Year 2020 - 2021

   

Section 1-8 not available. Special FYE sections

Gateway 100-09   Issues in Public Health

 

In an ever-changing global society, there are many issues that impact the health and well-being of its citizens. From global pandemics to food and water quality, we will explore issues of public health with the help of academic readings, popular media coverage, and guest speakers from the Bloomington-Normal community.

 

Gateway 100-10   Peace and War in Modern World 

 

Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote: "Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.”

Despite efforts by countless individuals, institutions, and governments for peace and stability, terrible wars have been fought and atrocities have been committed in the name of both ideologies and religions. Within these belief systems, attempts are made to justify such violence as morally defensible while the same acts are interpreted by those outside that belief system as evil, unjust and unjustifiable, and therefore the legitimate reason for counter-wars in order to restore the peace and order. Either way, the result of such wars is often a cycle of violence and instability rather than a stable and enduring peace.

This course concentrates on peace and war and their complex interrelations. Students will spend their time in critical thinking and argumentative writing through an exploration of peace and (just and unjust) war. They will study the religious texts and other writings and analyze different arguments made in support of war and peace. They will also read the works of peace activists and Nobel Peace Laureates such as the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Elie Wiesel, Thich Nhat Hanh and John Lennon. In studying peace and war, they will develop the required skills for critical thinking, analytical writing, and effective presentation.

 

Gateway 100-11   Did you Freely Choose this Class 

 

Are your choices determined before you make them, perhaps by some combination of your genes and your social environment or perhaps by neural activity that you can’t consciously control? If your choices were pre-determined, would that mean that you aren’t responsible for what you do? Would it mean that your future choices have, in a sense, already been made? Would it mean that they aren’t really yours? Or aren’t really choices? The problem of free will is one of the most vexing, enduring, and fascinating puzzles about the human condition. In this course, we will study a variety of experiments from neuroscience and social psychology that have been said to pose serious challenges to the claim that we have free will. We will ask, what exactly do these experiments show about the precursors to our choices? Do they show that we don’t have free will, or have their results been misinterpreted?

 

Gateway 100-12   What’s Your Story? 

 

What stories intrigue you?  Are you engrossed by fantasy fiction?  Intrigued by the autobiographies of civil rights activists?  A super fan of the latest true crime series?  From Harry Potter to Cynthia Brown, we will explore stories which are true, imagined, and above all fascinating.  Using themes from intriguing stories, we will consider our own stories--where we have been and where we are headed.  And we will tell our own stories using a variety of popular forms of expression, including podcasts, videos, social media apps, and the written word.

 

Gateway 100-13   Work and Life in American Films:  Can’t Get No Satisfaction? 

 

In this course we analyze cultural representations of men and women in select American films produced since the 1940s, paying particular attention to the characters' satisfaction or lack of satisfaction with work and with American society and culture generally. We read about and discuss the changing social and economic realities that shaped Americans’ lives in these years and analyze representations of them in various movies. In addition to this course content and learning how to read films critically, we spend a significant amount of time discussing and developing college-level writing strategies and prose. Grades are based primarily on students’ written work as it is represented in a variety of essays. 

 

Gateway 100-14   Mathematics of Computer Security 

 

An increasing proportion of communication and commerce is performed online.  In this course we will learn the basics of mathematical methods for protecting communication from unwanted hacking.  High school algebra is sufficient mathematical preparation, and while there will be some mathematical assignments, the bulk of the assessment will be writing assignments related to tradeoffs between privacy and security.

 

Gateway 100-15   Visual Literacy 

 

Images are central to our life, but do we know how to critically read them? This colloquium explores the cognitive, affective, and perceptual modes of visual literacy. Students will gain skills in ascertaining how the visual serves aesthetic and ideological purposes, through writing about images and discussion on visual culture.

 

Gateway 100-16   Democracy of Gods in East Asia

 

A writing course, while so named, is by its nature a thinking course, a course that trains students in the organization, formulation and effective delivery of thoughts and ideas. As the platform of such training, this course focuses on the East Asian conception of what is in Judeo-Christian context called “God” – the word “democracy” refers to the fact that this concept, in its East Asian milieu, exists in various names, forms and aspects, and serves various purposes.

 

Gateway 100-17   The Fairy Tale 

 

This Gateway examines fairy tales from a variety of perspectives. You will learn some history, a little child psychology, a bit of literary criticism, and a touch of cultural anthropology as we examine the deceptively simple narrative form known as the fairy tale. (And, yes, you are right; the genre is badly named—very few of the tales actually involve fairies.)

Fairy tales are truths wrapped in fantasy; they help us analyze our own experience in unique ways because their creators take common fears and hopes and then order and shape them to communicate their distinctive viewpoints. We will follow the fairy tale trail from its divergence from fable to what I call the "Disney Effect"—and beyond.

Make no mistake, however, about the main focus of this course. It will ask you to formulate and express your own critical insights in writing.  The necessity of articulating and defending your thoughts in an organized, logical, concise format, and supporting your ideas with detailed evidence, will sharpen your critical-thinking ability. The primary objectives are to increase your ability to think critically and to prepare you to write the types of papers that will be expected of you during your academic career.

 

Gateway 100-18   US Supreme Court Cases 

 

The course will examine significant United States Supreme Court decisions in the context of US history and culture.

 

Gateway 100-19   Voices in Exile 

 

This class will study the voices of French-speaking writers and film-makes from Vietnam, Algeria, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean, who portray the struggle of those forced into exile to reconcile two cultures, two languages, and two worlds, in neither of which do they feel entirely accepted. A variety of writing modes – portrait, analytic, argumentative, will bring students to reflect on and understand the world as it currently is for vast numbers of people. All texts are in English and films subtitled. 

 

Gateway 100-20   The Sixth Extinction—Biodiversity in Crisis 

 

We live in the Anthropocene, the Earth’s most recent geological time period in which humans overwhelmingly influence and alter the earth system processes. We will read the book “The Sixth Extinction” by Kolbert and analyze/discuss texts that describe how humans have left a footprint on the natural world.

 

Gateway 100-21   How We Think:  Critical Thinking for Your Learning and Your Life

 

After 12 years of memorization training in primary and secondary education, unrealistically, professors expect students to transition immediately into critical thinking.  While university success is based almost exclusively on achieving and refining the ability to think critically, not surprisingly students struggle with this transition. 

This seminar approaches critical thinking from the perspectives of the broader humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and fine arts.  We will consider multiple ways of knowing and understanding by challenging language, analogy, logic, context, and even one’s own heart-felt personal assumptions.  Most important, we will learn that academic study and success each require much more than retention of facts.  Rather than simply distilling down facts into memorized single-use algorithms, we will learn to connect and conceptualize facts to create a new and richer understanding of a given knowledge base, and subsequently, apply that understanding to the challenges of career and life pursuits.  

To paraphrase Mortimer Adler, “Thinking is hard; in fact, it’s downright painful.”  In this seminar, we will seek to ease that pain, make critical thinking a routine part of college academic life, and make a 4.0 GPA a much more readily achievable goal."

 

Gateway 100-22   How We Think:  Critical Thinking for Your Learning and Your Life 

 

After 12 years of memorization training in primary and secondary education, unrealistically, professors expect students to transition immediately into critical thinking.  While university success is based almost exclusively on achieving and refining the ability to think critically, not surprisingly students struggle with this transition. 

This seminar approaches critical thinking from the perspectives of the broader humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and fine arts.  We will consider multiple ways of knowing and understanding by challenging language, analogy, logic, context, and even one’s own heart-felt personal assumptions.  Most important, we will learn that academic study and success each require much more than retention of facts.  Rather than simply distilling down facts into memorized single-use algorithms, we will learn to connect and conceptualize facts to create a new and richer understanding of a given knowledge base, and subsequently, apply that understanding to the challenges of career and life pursuits.  

To paraphrase Mortimer Adler, “Thinking is hard; in fact, it’s downright painful.”  In this seminar, we will seek to ease that pain, make critical thinking a routine part of college academic life, and make a 4.0 GPA a much more readily achievable goal."

 

Gateway 100-23   WHO Wants to Know: Writing about World Health from a Global Perspective 

 

This Gateway course will use excerpts from the eBook Writing Around the World: A Guide To Writing Across Cultures (available through the Ames library) to read and write texts published by a variety of authors from around the globe including Chinua Achebe, Ha Jin, and Mona Hanna-Attisha. Each story is chosen to relate to the overall theme of World Health in the age of the epidemic disease. Among other composition topics, students will learn the basics of crafting an argument, persuading readers, completing research, and using on-campus resources to start their collegiate writing career off strongly. 

 

Gateway 100-24   The Older Adult in Today’s Society 

 

In this class we will examine gender roles, norms, and stereotypes of the older adult as represented in literature and film. We will examine how scholarly research as well as fiction and creative non-fiction genres reflect and impact the positioning of the older adult as an “other” in society today. The focus will be on honing analytical and written communication skills through personal reflection and scholarly writing exercises as preparation for your role as a student in higher education.

 

Gateway 100-25   The Older Adult in Today’s Society 

 

In this class we will examine gender roles, norms, and stereotypes of the older adult as represented in literature and film. We will examine how scholarly research as well as fiction and creative non-fiction genres reflect and impact the positioning of the older adult as an “other” in society today. The focus will be on honing analytical and written communication skills through personal reflection and scholarly writing exercises as preparation for your role as a student in higher education.

 

Gateway 100-26   And <Environmental> Justice for All? 

 

Social justice and racial equity are issues that are dominating our thoughts and our airways right now. A related concern, but one that garners much less attention, both historically and currently, is environmental justice. Through examination of case studies and critical reading, writing, and discussion, we will explore the intersectionality of race/ethnicity, socioeconomics, and the environment.

 

Gateway 100-27   Can I Cite TikTok?

 

This course will explore the technological, rhetorical, and ethical issues of digital scholarship. Students will learn how to use both traditional and non-traditional academic technology in their reading, writing, and research practices while engaging in critical evaluation of its use. Although this course will be computer-based, there are no technological prerequisites.

 

Gateway 100-28S   Controversies in Women’s & Men’s Health

 

An exploration of various health issues that are either unique to women or of specific significance to woman across their lifespan will be examined using current research findings, literature and media. Documentaries and films will be used to examine debates related to birthing, sexuality, and transcultural health issues. Health disparities related to gender, culture, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status will be explored locally, nationally, and globally.

 

Gateway 100-29S   Native American Spirituality 

 

In this course, we will examine the distinctive religious traditions and spiritual paths developed by Native North American communities, with specific emphasis on the Lenap (Delaware), Lakota (Sioux) and Navajo nations.  Our challenge will be balancing the “outsider” perspectives of the academic study of religions with the “insider” understanding of religions within their own social, historical, and personal contexts. 

Like other Gateways, this is primarily a writing course, so we will spend a good deal of time, both inside and outside of class, thinking and talking about good writing practices and approaches to information.  The issues of Native American religious life from the past and the present will serve as the topics for readings, research, discussion, and writing.

 

Gateway 100-30S   Something Dangerous:  On Creativity 

 

What is creativity?  A gift?  A process?  Must it be inspired?  Can one work to develop it?  In this Gateway, we will address such questions, exploring and engaging creativity as it exits in a variety of disciplines, trying to capture its elusive essence.

 

Gateway 100-31S   American Inequality 

 

Capitalism produces a lot of wealth, and a lot of poverty. Depending on how it’s practiced, it also tends to produce high concentrations of wealth held in relatively few hands. In the U.S., this means that just over one-third of net wealth is held by the top 1% of the population, and that the top 20% of the population owns about 89% of all privately held net wealth. Curiously, most Americans have, for a very long time, tolerated (or ignored, or even embraced) high levels of economic and social inequality, often attributing these differences either to a lack of personal effort or to market failure, depending on one’s point of view. To the great extent conservatives and liberals disagree on these explanations, the two sides talk past each other. In this Gateway colloquium we will explore these debates, both historically and in contemporary times, as well as how radical economic inequality translates to political and social inequality. Why Americans tolerate so much inequality offers a window on our nation’s soul, and potentially on yours.

 

Gateway 100-32S   How We Think:  Critical Thinking for Your Learning and Your Life 

 

After 12 years of memorization training in primary and secondary education, unrealistically, professors expect students to transition immediately into critical thinking.  While university success is based almost exclusively on achieving and refining the ability to think critically, not surprisingly students struggle with this transition. 

This seminar approaches critical thinking from the perspectives of the broader humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and fine arts.  We will consider multiple ways of knowing and understanding by challenging language, analogy, logic, context, and even one’s own heart-felt personal assumptions.  Most important, we will learn that academic study and success each require much more than retention of facts.  Rather than simply distilling down facts into memorized single-use algorithms, we will learn to connect and conceptualize facts to create a new and richer understanding of a given knowledge base, and subsequently, apply that understanding to the challenges of career and life pursuits.  

To paraphrase Mortimer Adler, “Thinking is hard; in fact, it’s downright painful.”  In this seminar, we will seek to ease that pain, make critical thinking a routine part of college academic life, and make a 4.0 GPA a much more readily achievable goal."