Towson Seminar

Focusing on exploration and discovery, TSEM 102 introduces students to the academic expectations for college-level work and to the intellectual, communication and collaborative skills needed for academic success. Seminar format emphasizes active learning, with variable content in different Towson-Seminar courses. Introduces multiple perspectives and may draw from more than one discipline. Must be taken during either of your first two semesters. Must earn a 2.0 grade or higher. 

Towson Seminar Topics Spring 2020

TSEM 102.001 - Mozart: the Man, the Myth, and the Music

Consideration of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the greatest prodigy of western music and his growth as a maturing genius who helped to establish the Viennese classical style during his brief career. Seeks to separate the myths that have developed about this remarkable figure from the actual historical facts and place him in context of his peers and his role in the style of his time.

TSEM 102.002 - Women Composers of the Romantic Era

 Immersive study of composers / performers / improvisers, their creative output, their historical and cultural context, and their continuing relevance in today’s music cultures.

TSEM 102.003, 006, 009 - America in the 1960s: Decade of Conflict and Change

An introduction to the cultural, political, social conflicts of the 1960s in America, with emphasis on development of research and critical thinking skills. Through their study of major figures, movements and events of this period, as well as through guided study of research methodology, students will become acquainted with historical ways of thinking and writing.

TSEM 102.004, 005 -  Social Media versus Dictators in the Middle East: The Arab Uprisings in Historical Perspective

 Explores the Arab Uprisings, or the "Arab Spring," that erupted across the Arab world, including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, in early 2011. Also examines the historical background of these states since World War II period to provide context for understanding why citizens stood in the public squares and rebelled against entrenched dictators some receiving political and financial support from the United States. Course is informed by the disciplines of history, Middle East studies, and media studies.

TSEM 102.007, 008  - America’s War on Drugs

Exploration of American drug policies. Emphasis on treatment and prevention options, debates regarding decriminalization and legalization, and the domestic and international drug trade. Attention to popular perceptions of addicts, the flaws in those perceptions, and how perceptions shape policies. The historical context of current drug policy.

TSEM 102.010, 011 - Innovation Through the Ages

An integrated / multi-disciplinary perspective of institutional structure, innovation, and the process of economic change intended to provide insight into basic principles of economic reasoning applied on a comprehensive span of human history. Incorporates theories and examples from a number of social sciences and will demonstrate the advantages of liberal arts based education.

TSEM 102.012, 013 - Living a Meaningful Life: Well-Being and Occupation

Introduces students to skills needed to function successfully at college, in the context of an exploration of the relationship of occupational engagement to well-being. Students will gain an understanding of the concept of occupation, and investigate the influence of various occupations on health, happiness, and well-being.

TSEM 102.014, 015 - Current Issues in Education: Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

Explores current issues in education related to how students learn and the need for a customized learning approach to maximize each student’s ability to learn.  Technology’s role, in the process of individualizing learning for students will be explored. Students will examine reasons why technology has not been the panacea to improve academic achievement it was first touted to be by applying the theory of disruptive innovation to technology implementation in schools. Students will be introduced to effective strategies for gathering, evaluating and communicating information. Students will use critical thinking, team collaboration and problem solving to examine the most current scholarship surrounding their topics.

TSEM 102.016, 018, 020, 022 - Current Issues in Education: Excitement and Challenge of Extreme Teaching

Explores teaching - a most exciting and challenging profession – through inspiring examples of excellent teaching practices in order to incorporate these best practices into every challenging teaching situation. Introduction to effective strategies for gathering, evaluating and communicating information. Students will use critical thinking, team collaboration and problem solving to examine the most current scholarship surrounding these topics.

TSEM 102.017, 019, 021, 023, 024, 025 -  Current Issues in Education: Living and Learning in a Digital Society

Current issues in education related to living and learning in a digital society. This course emphasizes that critical, self-reflective understanding of the contexts of our technology use is central to becoming digital practitioners and effective teachers in a participatory culture. Students will be introduced to effective strategies for gathering, evaluating and communicating information.

TSEM 102.026, 027- Understanding Globalization

Introduction to globalization and its interrelated dimensions; the effect of globalization on how people live and think; the creation of a new global world society; world-wide debates and controversies over globalization, its social processes, and its consequences.

TSEM 102.028 - Vampires: Blood, Lust and the American Dream

Emphasizes active learning with content focusing on representations of vampires in popular media from literary origins in the late 19th century through to recent incarnations on screen.

TSEM 102.029 - Body Image Through History
A survey of attitudes toward the human body in different fields, eras, and cultures.
TSEM 102.030 - Risky Business

Focuses on the ways in which families experience risk. Places emphasis on the diversity of risk both within the family unit as well as how risk is perceived by social forces outside the family. Introduces multiple perspectives on risk and resiliency using a multidisciplinary approach. Special attention will be paid to how individual differences have the potential to increase risk for individuals, families and communities.

TSEM 102.031 - American Murals

Murals are paintings placed on culturally meaningful walls. “American Murals” will examine the creation and use of murals across many American ethnic and racial groups from pre-Colonial Native Americans, through the Colonial period, to the 21st Century including the 1930s Mexican Mural Movement, Works Progress Administration and mid-20th-century Civil Rights Movements.

TSEM 102.032 - Writing Baltimore

Baltimore is a city of connections and contradictions. This class looks closely at texts written about the city from diverse perspectives: historical, sociological, environmental, journalistic, and literary. Approaches the city itself as a text to be explored; students will generate their own texts in response to their encounters with the city. Various themes will include the Chesapeake Bay, the sights and sounds of Baltimore, and urban history.

TSEM 102.033 - The Senses

Asks students to think critically about the sense experiences – their cultural significance, political consequences, and representations in written texts and visual media. Students will observe how representations of sense experiences shift through stylistic choices in the descriptive writing of marketers, artists, filmmakers, and social critics.

TSEM 102.034 - War in Literature

By studying evocative poems, plays, short stories, and novels, the seminar will examine the seeming paradox of war and literature, of violence and art, by understanding how battle is depicted in literature and how literature is often an aesthetic battleground of conflicting personal and national ideals.

This class contains an experiential education opportunity in which students connect concepts learned within the classroom to practical situations within the surrounding communities. Service-learning courses require a minimum of 10 hours of service (up to 35 hours of service), outside of scheduled class sessions, dispersed throughout the semester. Please contact the instructor for additional information.

TSEM 102.035 - The Harlem Renaissance: A Modernist Collection of Literature, Art, Music, Film and Dance

 An inter-disciplinary exploration of the Harlem Renaissance, a literary, artistic, cultural, and intellectual movement of the early 20th century.

TSEM 102.036 - Physics and Metaphysics

Seminar format emphasizing active learning, with content drawn from primarily from physics and astrophysics, along with current scientific controversies.  Introduces multiple perspectives (e.g. Aristotelian vs. Newtonian). Does not count toward a major in physics or astrophysics.

TSEM 102.037 - Body Image Through History

A survey of attitudes toward the human body in different fields, eras, and cultures.

TSEM 102.038, 039 - Getting Down to Business

Provides an integrated view of business organizations and prepares students to critically analyze business problems and develop effective solutions. Includes study of the structure and organization of businesses, common business processes, and the interrelationships among business functions.

TSEM 102.040 - Islam and the West

Exploration of differing perspectives on the relationship between the modern Muslim world and the West.

TSEM 102.041 - Green Eating on a Blue Planet

An examination of food: what we eat, where we eat, how we eat, and what are the industrial, economic, technological, social and political factors that shape the production of food, and what these mean for the planet. An introduction to student research and writing at the university level. Through readings, discussions, and assignments students will learn about food production and distribution in order to feed nearly seven billion people and about the nature of scholarship.

TSEM 102.042 - Earth’s Changing Climate – Past, Present, and Future 

Understand the critical and often contentious issue of climate change, and to introduce students to scholarship. Scientific evidence and analysis, and an interdisciplinary perspective are needed to deal with the pressing issue of global climate change. This course will provide students with the critical thinking and analytical skills needed to weigh the evidence supporting or refuting claims of climate change or its consequences and to help students develop the research and writing skills required of college graduates.

TSEM 102.043  - Notable Music-Makers - Rock and Rap in Latin America

Immersive study of composers / performers / improvisers, their creative output, their historical and cultural context, and their continuing relevance in today’s music cultures.

TSEM 102.044, 045, 046, 047, 048, 049, 050, 051 - The Limits of Reason

The role of reason throughout the history of Western philosophy, beginning with the Platonic formalism of the ancient era, continuing into the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment with Rene Descartes’ rationalism, David Hume’s empiricism, and Immanuel Kant’s transcendentalism, and culminating in the contemporary perspectives of Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, and Alphonso Lingis on the limits of reason.

TSEM 102.052, 053 - Maryland Plantations: Then and Now

Focuses on the plantations of Maryland and the larger Chesapeake from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. It investigates complexes of planters’ houses and slave quarters to uncover the material reality of plantation life, for both men and women in the elite planter class as well as those who were enslaved. Its primary approach is historical, but it also employs perspectives and approaches drawn from the disciplines of material culture, art history, architectural history, gender studies, anthropology, and museum studies. A primary component of the course will be analysis of museums’ interpretation of plantations to the general public. A trip to Hampton Plantation will allow students to consider museums’ decisions about what to preserve and how to interpret the lives of masters, mistresses, and slaves. Students will be expected to read critically, participate in class discussions of readings, films, and historic sites, and be willing to work interactively and collaboratively. Topics covered include slavery, southern architecture, women’s history, rising levels of consumption, the making of historical memory, and public history.