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Freshman Seminars, Fall 2013

For enrollment information, please check the USC Schedule of Classes at http://web-app.usc.edu/soc/20133/fsem.

 

African American / Black Women's Foundations of Self
Jody Armour and Nohelani Lawrence
Tuesday, 5:30 – 7:20; Section 34625

This course examines the complex experience of being a Black/African-American woman within collegiate athletics.  It addresses such topics as identity, Black feminism, Black/White sisterhood, social mobility, activism, sports, and media from a socio-historical perspective.  University and faculty mentors will be paired with freshman student as they explore African-African identity development, culture, academic rebranding, leadership, and redefining femininity.  Classes will include facilitator led lectures as well as guest speaker series with one-hour interactive presentations followed by facilitated discussions.  Special emphasis will be placed on the analysis of culture and its impact on the worldview and development of the student athlete.

Lani Lawrence received her Psy.D in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in sport psychology from the University of Denver.  She currently serves as Clinical Sport Psychologist with the Engemann Student Health Center and the USC Athletic Department.  Dr. Lawrence is a former professional basketball player and also previously coached on the collegiate level. 

 

Anne Frank Was Not Alone: Holland and the Holocaust
Anthony Anderson
Tuesday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34609

In German occupied Western Europe nowhere did the Nazis pursue their genocidal policies against the Jews with more zeal and devastating results than in the Netherlands.  By the end of World War II more than seventy-five  percent of the Jews living in Holland had perished in the Holocaust.  This, in a nation which has been and is one of the world’s most tolerant and least anti-Semitic societies.

This course will explore this enormous tragedy which befell Dutch Jewry.  Particular emphasis will be given to examining the agonizing ethical choices which confronted the Dutch, both Jewish and Gentile, during the German occupation.  The class will follow a lecture/discussion format, with readings and numerous film clips.  There will also be involvement with the survivors of the USC Shoah Foundation: The Institute for Visual History and Education.

Note: students are advised that during this class they will be subjected to images of the Holocaust, which will be at times graphic and may be distinctly unsettling.

Anthony Anderson is the Assistant Director of Doheny Library.  He has previously taught two other Freshman Seminars: “‘Can’t We All Just Get Along?’  Ethnic Conflicts in the World Today and the Media” and “He Said, She Said, They Said: Making Sense of the Opinion Makers and Making Up Your Own Mind.”

 

The Art of the Comic Book
Bill Feuer
Monday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34607

Over the last four decades the comic book has grown up.  Once a favorite target of critics, the graphic narrative now garners serious critical attention from literary scholars around the world.  They have recognized Alison Bechdel, Lynda Barry, Marjane Satrapi, Katsuhiro Otomo, Art Spiegelman, and Frank Miller as just a few of the new masters of the form.

In this seminar, we will explore the work of these artists as well as several other important contributors.  We will trace the evolution of the genre and develop our ability to interpret graphic narratives.  Students will produce a critical reading of a comic of their choice.  Working in small groups, they will also collaborate on a graphic story.

Bill Feuer received his Ph. D. in American Literature from the University of Southern California.  He has been teaching in the Writing Program for two decades and has picked up a couple of teaching awards along the way.  He has been reading comic books since he was thirty.

 

Body Politics
Robin Romans
Thursday, 2-3:50; Section 34621

From politics and education to commerce and art, our culture is ambivalent and uncomfortable when it comes to how we think about, talk about and display our bodies.  Sometimes the body signifies unity and authority (body politic), truth and rationality (bodies of knowledge), wholeness and meaning (body of the text).  Other times it is portrayed as a site of sin, perverse desires, temptations, disease, decay and corruption, and itsappearance is seen as shameful, illicit, forbidden, dangerous, and subversive  In some contexts, the body helps make sense of the universe; in others its appearance is scandalous and threatens social order.

We will discuss the ways we hide the body; what happens to power and authority when the body appears in public; the different ways women and men dress; when sex sells and when it doesn’t; the division between private and public spheres of life, and much more.  We will trace cultural ideas about the body through seminal stories like Genesis, works by Plato and St. Augustine, and modern plays, poetry and various media.  And we will examine the world around us to draw out the body’s double nature as both sacred and profane.

Associate Provost Robin Romans oversees USC’s Arts and Humanities Initiative and the Visions and Voices program.  He also serves as the Provost’s liaison to USC Arts, a collaboration of USC’s six arts schools, and to the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, for which he wrote the original proposal.  Prior to joining the Office of the Provost, he directed USC’s prestigious Thematic Option Program.

 

Body Size and Shape: Fitness and Nutrition
Bob Girandola
Tuesday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34610

This class will look into the continuing national problem of weight control.  Obesity, which is controllable, is considered the second most prevalent disease.  Despite this, it has reached epidemic proportions in the USA as well as many other industrialized nations.  We will discuss the complexities of caloric balance and the appropriate methods for weight loss and gain.  Specific emphasis will be placed on young adults, such as college students who do not have the luxury of eating at home.  Appropriate dietary patterns for weight control as well as health will be analyzed.  Finally, appropriate exercise programs for maintaining body weight and shape will be discussed.

Students who enroll in this class should be prepared to become actively involved in class discussions.  Many of the myths and fallacies of weight control and nutrition will be revealed, so keep an open mind!  Students should have access to the internet in order to download some of the many materials that are advertised for weight control and obesity.

Robert Girandola received his undergraduate degree in physical education from Hunter College (New York) and his Ed.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in Exercise Physiology in 1970.  He has been at USC since 1973.  He teaches classes in Nutrition and Weight Control, Exercise Prescription, and The Science of Human Performance.  His research has centered on Obesity and Weight Control, Ergogenic Aids and Human Performance, Environmental Effects on Human Performance.

 

Conflict in Science and Medicine: from the Ridiculous to the Remarkable
Bill McClure
Tuesday, 12:00 – 1:50; Section 34602

Science courses have traditionally presented a snapshot of a field, supported by glorious textbooks with elegant figures in four colors and fulsome endorsements by hundreds of teachers.  Most of these texts fail to teach that science is a process, constantly changing and endlessly variable.  This failure is most apparent in biology and its sister science, medicine.  Scientists are lionized, portrayed as larger than life figures who work magic with molecules, exploring new viruses, synthesizing newer and better pharmaceuticals, and probing evolution in molecular depths.  All this overshadows the real truth:  scientists are real people, with real emotions.  They argue, often bitterly, over matters that seem trivial to one outside their cabal.  Their arguments are often shallow and petty, but occasionally they rise to a level that stimulates scientists to generate new concepts.

We shall examine a number of controversies in different areas of science and medicine.  Students will be expected to read original source materials and should be familiar with obtaining data from the internet, for there is much of interest there.

Bill McClure was trained at Caltech, the University of Washington, and Rockefeller University, and held faculty appointments at Rockefeller and the University of Illinois before coming to USC in 1975.  He is now semi-retired and enjoying teaching - one of his first loves – and racing sailboats.

 

Foundations of Self
Jody Armour and Broderick Leaks
Monday, 7:00 -8:50; Section 34631

University and faculty mentors will be paired with freshman students as they explore African-American identity development, hip-hop culture, academic rebranding, leadership, and redefining masculinity.  Classes will include facilitator–led lectures as well as a guest speaker series that will focus on collegiate athletics, university life, and career development.  Special emphasis will be placed on the analysis of culture and its impact on the worldview and development of the student athlete.

Broderick Leaks received his Ph.D in Clinical Psychology from Fuller Seminary Graduate School of Psychology.  Dr. Leaks currently serves a Senior Staff Psychologist at the Engemann Student Health Center.

 

The Future of Human Longevity: Does the Past Predict the Future?
Caleb Finch and Jennifer Ailshire
Mondays, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34606

How long have human beings lived?  How long could we?  In this seminar we will discuss how and why the human lifespan has more than doubled since 1800, through improved hygiene, food, and medicine, and ponder how the future may challenge our gains in lifetime with global warming and pollution. The course work is based on readings that will be accessible to all academic backgrounds, discussions in class, and short essays.

Caleb Finch is the ARCO and Kieschnick Professor in Neurogerontology, with faculty appointments in Gerontology and Biological Sciences as well as adjunct appointments in the Anthropology, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Psychology, Physiology, and Neurology.  His major research interest is the neurobiology of aging and human evolution, focusing on the fundamental biology of human aging.

Jennifer Ailshire is a sociologist and social demographer at the USC Davis School of Gerontology/Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center involved in several major studies analyzing human well-being across the lifespan, including the links between sleep and family interaction.

 

Law and Morality
Justice Richard M. Mosk
Thursday, 11:00 – 12:50; Section 34600

The seminar deals with the development of law, its relationship to morality, and its impact upon a variety of areas of life.  The subjects touch upon and augment the lessons of a number of undergraduate fields of study, including athletics.  The materials consist of extracts from prominent works, court cases, news events, and movie clips.  The requirements are attending class, familiarity with the materials, and participation in class discussions.  The seminar is not just for those interested in a law career.

Justice Richard M. Mosk is a justice of the California Court of Appeal.  He is a graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law School. He served as a California Supreme Court law clerk, a member of the staff of the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy (this being the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination, Justice Mosk, one of the surviving members of the Commission, may, if the class is interested, spend a little time discussing the investigation); a member of the Christopher Commission that investigated the Los Angeles Police Department; and a judge on the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, which was established as part of the settlement of the Iranian hostage crisis.  He also was head of parental ratings of motion pictures for the Motion Picture Association of America.  Justice Mosk has practiced law in Los Angeles, tried both civil and criminal cases, and argued cases before the California and United States Supreme Courts.

 

Legal Reasoning and Communication
James Brecher
Tuesday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34611

Lawyers think differently from “normal” people; their professional training enables lawyers to see all the diverse elements which compose a problem.  This type of advanced thinking is not only important for success in the legal profession but essential to success in a true liberal arts education.  This developed skill is the reason so many business and political leaders have legal training even if they never intend to practice law.

This course will look at the way lawyers examine issues and seek results.  We will apply these techniques to a range of problems, especially as their solutions relate to undergraduate problems.  We will accomplish this examination by looking at legal commentaries, stories and essays, and case law and learning the practical thinking of everyday lawyers and how they communicate with differing audiences.

James Brecher, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Teaching Professor in The Writing Program at the University of Southern California and has practiced law, worked in the business world, and taught English and American Studies/Humanities at the University of South Florida.   He was awarded the USC College Outstanding Teaching Award in Advanced Writing and was named one of USC’s “best professors” in the September 2007 issue of Saturday Night Magazine.

 

Medical Controversies and the Law
Fred G. Weissman
Tuesday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34613

If you are opinionated, love to discuss controversial subjects and have strong feelings about such medical issues as abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, medical experimentation on human subjects, stem cell research, legalization of illegal drugs, the use of chemicals in the environment, organ transplants, methods of carrying out the death penalty, confidentiality of certain medical disorders, along with other medical-legal/ethical subjects --this Freshman Seminar is probably designed for you.

At each seminar meeting a different topic will be discussed.  It is important for participants to be aware that much of the law is still unsettled or evolving in the medical areas of controversy.  Each student will be assigned a medical-legal issue to debate with another student in the class. 

Fred G. Weissman is an Associate Dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs at the USC School of Pharmacy where he teaches such subjects as malpractice law, law applicable to the practice of pharmacy, FDA law, and health care law.  He received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from USC and his Law degree from Loyola Law School. In addition, Dr. Ketan Patel (a pharmacist-attorney) will assist Dr. Weissman in the teaching of this seminar.

 

Mind and Body Fitness
Margo Apostolos
Tuesday, 3:00 – 4:50; Section 34626

The human spirit and body in symmetry will be the theme of this Freshman Seminar.  The union of mind and body into a dual component to foster the duality of human thought and action is the goal of this course.  Reading assignments will accompany simple exercises to enhance the mind and body to aid in creative development and stress reduction.

This seminar is designed to promote the union of the physical and mental capabilities with both readings and the practice of simple movement sequences.  The focus of the work is to promote a relaxed and natural state for creative thinking.  Various exercises will include imagery, breath control, and relaxed stretching to coincide with appropriate reading assignments.

Margo K. Apostolos is an Associate Professor of Dance in the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.  She earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University and holds a M.A. in Dance from Northwestern University.  Her research includes the exploration of an aesthetic dimension to robotics movement and the use of robots by the severely disabled in rehabilitative settings.

 

Musical Subcultures of the Sixties
William Biersach
Wednesday, 4:00 – 5:50; Section 34629

During the sixties, due to circumstances within the music industry peculiar to the time, various popular musical styles developed which expressed the social, cultural, religious, political and sexual changes in our society.  While the music of this period survives today and enjoys considerable popularity, much of the meaning behind it has been lost because the context has largely been forgotten.

In this seminar, students will pair off to do research projects involving various aspects of the sixties and how they found musical expression.  Together we will sift through the lyrics, musical styles, facts, tall tales, and contrived myths surrounding various influential people, events, and movements.  We shall read the uncensored thoughts of David Crosby, Timothy Leary, Abbie Hoffman, Bill Wyman, John Lennon, and others.  In so doing we will try to arrive at an understanding of what was really going on in the music business, the drug scene, the pop culture, political and social trends, and the minds of the youth during those turbulent years.

William L. Biersach has been teaching electro-acoustic media and recording technology in the Thornton School of Music since 1975.  His class, The Beatles: Their Music and Their Times was voted one of the top ten courses at USC by Student Affairs.  In 1997 he received the USC Gamma Sigma Alpha Professor of the Year Award.  As a studio musician and synthesizer programmer he composed the score for the Japanese cartoon series, Dan Cougar, and the musical theme for the USC Campaign for Leadership into the 21st Century.  His courses on the Beatles and Classic Rock have attracted the attention of Rolling Stone Magazine, CNN and Prime Time Live.

 

The Myth of Mental Illness?
Janice Schafrik
Monday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34624

This seminar course will explore the notion of mental disorders—do they really exist?—and our current classification system including the DSM-5 diagnostic categories.   This course will extend beyond accepting the facts and will instead question how we know what we know.  Diagnoses explored will include anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, learning disorder, ADHD, and personality disorders. Basic methods of research critique will be introduced as well as techniques for thinking critically.

This course will focus on lecture and discussion of assigned readings to include journal articles and autobiographies written by faculty on campus.  Students will be asked to submit a brief weekly journal entry on the readings, choose and further research a mental disorder of interest, and diagnose as a group their favorite television characters.

Janice Schafrik is Director of the USC Center for Testing and Assessment and Training Director for USC’s psychology postdoctoral fellowship program in College Student Disability Services.  She teaches courses in research design, counseling skills, and psychological theory and is a licensed psychologist in the state of California. 

 

Myths in Science and Medicine: Did Galileo really drop things from the Tower of Pisa?
William McClure
Wednesday, 12:00 – 1:50; Section 34603

Science is richly endowed with stories concerning the development of important ideas.  Newton watched an apple fall and began to consider gravity.  Galileo overturned the convention of his time that said that heavy objects fell faster than light ones.  How much truth is there in these old chestnuts?  We'll consider several of them, from ancient times up to the present.

Students will examine a number of historically interesting stories to decide which are myths  and which are (probably) fact.  You'll use the library, your detective skills, and the internet to find information that bears on your problem.  It is often difficult to separate fact from fancy in this area, and your skills will be strongly tested.   Each student will present his or her story and their resolution of the facts.

Bill McClure was trained at Caltech, the University of Washington, and Rockefeller University and held faculty appointments at Rockefeller and the University of Illinois before coming to USC in 1975.  He is now semi-retired and enjoying teaching - one of his first loves – and racing sailboats.

 

The Politics of Chinese Film
Stan Rosen
Tuesday, 7:00 – 9:30; Section 34627

This class will introduce Chinese cinema to a non-specialized audience.  Some outstanding classic and recent films will be presented, along with some which might, to contemporary audiences, appear to be of less enduring quality.  This is being done, to paraphrase Chairman Mao's famous 1942 dictum – in an article assigned for the class – because the political criterion is as important as the artistic criterion.  All of the films will be shown with English subtitles.

The major requirements of this course are a term paper and the student's participation in class discussions. Bibliographies and other reference works will be available for researching term papers, with the most important ones placed at Leavey Library on two or three hour reserve.  The instructor will provide extensive written handouts to class members prior to each film that is shown.

Stanley Rosen is a professor of political science specializing in Chinese politics and society.  He was the Director of the East Asian Studies Center in USC Dornsife from 2005 to 2011.  He studied Chinese in Taiwan and Hong Kong and has traveled to mainland China over 40 times over the last 30 years.  The author or editor of eight books and many articles, he has escorted eleven delegations to China for the National Committee on US-China Relations (including American university presidents, professional associations, and Fulbright groups), and consulted for the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, the United States Information Agency, the Los Angeles Public Defenders Office, as well as private corporations, film companies, law firms and U.S. government agencies.

 

Puzzles, Patterns, Games and Illusions
Solomon Golomb
Tuesday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34612

This Freshman Seminar will deal with intuitive and recreational aspects of geometry, without the complex calculations or intricate proving of theorems from axioms so typical of mathematics courses.  The seminar is intended for students interested in shapes, designs, and patterns, and no background in mathematics, science, or engineering is assumed or required. Students who enroll will be expected to attend regularly, and participate in course activities.

Solomon W. Golomb spent six and a half years at the Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he conducted and supervised research in Space Communications, before joining the USC faculty full-time in Spring 1963.  He is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, and holds the title of Distinguished University Professor.   He is an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.  At USC, he served as President of the Faculty Senate and as Vice Provost for Research.

In addition to some 200 technical journal articles on mathematics, engineering, and related topics, one of his four books currently in print is Polyominoes, subtitled, Puzzles, Patterns, Problems, and Packings.  He has had a lifelong interest in games and puzzles, and has written regular puzzle columns for a number of newspapers and magazines.  In February 2013, he received the National Medal of Science from President Obama.

 

Reasoning about Faith: the How and Why of Religion
Reuven Firestone
Wednesday, 4:00 – 5:50; Section 34617

How and why do religions argue with one another, even when they share a belief in a single God?  In this course we will consider the similarities, differences, and boundaries between faiths, and why religions as institutions need to be “right.”  Religion is a human construction, so it functions like an institution, with human relationships that include jealousies, power plays, sexual issues, and so on.  But this human institution is not a sports club or a business. It is a religion. Is there a difference?

We will share observations, ideas, and “theories of religion,” read various scriptures and their interpretations, and respond to the issues that are important to the students.

Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., is professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College and founder and co-director of the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement.  He has lived in Israel, Egypt, and Germany and has lectured extensively in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

 

Science, Technology and Society
John Brooks Slaughter
Wednesday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34615

Science and technology are ubiquitous and integral facets of the human experience.  They invariably have the power to affect society, but what the effect may be is often unexpected.  Nuclear reactors provide cleaner energy then fossil fuels, but can cause radiation leaks and untold destruction.  Advances in bio-medicine could have dangerous effects if mishandled.  Public concerns about safety have deferred the use of genetically modified foods and offshore oil drilling.

This Freshman Seminar is designed to explore the inter-dependencies that exist among science, technology and society.  Students will have the opportunity to identify and diagnose the complex relationships that characterize the co-existence and co-dependencies of these three entities and the influences that each has on the others.  We will examine the directions of today’s scientific and technological pursuits and discuss the risks inherent in those research and development efforts.  In the process, students will discover the connections between the scientific activities of a society and its economics, culture, politics, and educational status.  We shall try to understand  how societies support and invest in science and technology.

John Brooks Slaughter is Professor of Education and Engineering with appointments in the Rossier School of Education, Viterbi School of Engineering, and the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.  He has been the Director of the National Science Foundation and president of both the University of Maryland and Occidental College.  His current research and teaching interests include issues of academic leadership, diversity, and the history of technology.

 

Self Expression and the Arts
Eric Trules
Wednesday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34618

Coming to college for the first time is the beginning of a great adventure.  Hopefully the student is here for knowledge – both professional/vocational and personal.  Whereas many students will have a full four years to explore career options and acquire a strong academic education, none should neglect exploring themselves.   Self-expression is the act of taking an internal impulse –    a personal vision – and through self-awareness, putting it into external form.  Writing, acting, painting, dancing, sculpting, filmmaking, singing – and putting these elements together – are the wings upon which artists have flown from time immemorial.  Self-expression and creativity are universal functions of the human experience.  We are all creative, and we all have the need to express ourselves.

 

"Self-Expression and the Arts" will be an opportunity to start this process.  We will look at the wide range of self-expression in the performing, literary, and visual arts, in the classroom, and by attending local events at USC and in Los Angeles when possible.  Through simple weekly homework assignments and journaling, the seminar will attempt to open up the doors of perception in appreciating the arts -- and simultaneously ask the student to have a first-hand experience with his/her own creativity and self-expression.  Homework assignments and exercises will be creative and fun, exploring the process of seeing and experiencing art – as well as the process of expressing oneself – in whatever ways the student can have the courage to discover.

 

Eric Trules is an Associate Professor of Practice at the USC School of Dramatic Arts and a recent Fulbright Senior Specialist in American Studies.  He has been a modern dancer, an Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award winner,   a screenwriter, and a recipient of the USC Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award.  He was co-founder of Mo Ming, the dance-theater in Chicago, and director of  NYC's Resident Clown Troupe.  Trules has produced city-wide arts festivals since 1990, and THE POET AND THE CON, a feature length documentary film.  He believes that college can be more than merely the acquisition of knowledge and preparation for a vocational career, but is also about the discovery of oneself, one's voice, and one's passion. See: www.erictrules.com.

 

Technology and Environment
Najmedin Meshkati
Monday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34605

One of the most serious existential crises facing humanity deals with climate change and global warming.  This crisis will have drastic social, economic, political and technological implications for the world.  Developing and implementing a systematic response is probably the most important challenge facing our generation; as the influential author Thomas L. Friedman has suggested in his seminal recent article, “The Power of Green,”  “Green has to become part of America’s DNA.  We’re getting there.  Green has hit Main Street — it’s now more than a hobby — but it’s still less than a new way of life . . . Living, working, designing, manufacturing and projecting America in a green way can be the basis of a new unifying political movement for the 21st century.”

It has been said that a paradox of our time is “the mixed blessing of almost every technological development.”  The relationships between technology and the environment are also paradoxical, complex and multifaceted.  Technology could be regarded as the source of many environmental problems, but at the same time, it is only through further technological development that solutions to these problems can be found.  Cases in point are: preventing global warming and cleaning up hazardous (nuclear and chemical) waste sites.  Furthermore, technology is a major building block of the two pillars of environmental conservation and restoration: pollution prevention and waste management.

In addition to the above topics, we will also discuss the role and activities of major national and international entities in the technology and environment arena such as the United Nations, its specialized agencies (e.g., UNEP) and the World Bank.

Najmedin Meshkati is a recipient of the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation.  He is also Principal Investigator of a research grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

 

What Are Earthquakes and Tsunamis All About?
Henry Koffman
Monday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34608

The University of Southern California is one of the world's leading earthquake and tsunami research centers.  Virtually every region of the planet experiences earthquakes at one time or another, but California experiences them frequently.  When earthquakes occur in major metropolitan areas, the effects can be dramatic.  San Francisco is still recovering from the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, and Los Angeles will be responding to the effects of the January 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake for years to come.  Earthquakes have become an everyday occurrence throughout the world.

Our class will trace the history of earthquakes, examine the mechanics of geological faults, and try to understand the emergency and public safety measures taken to cope with earthquakes both before and after the fact.  We will study the nature of the forces released, how these forces impact the environment, how these forces are measured, and how structural and foundation designs are intended to respond to earthquake forces.  We will summarize the current state of earthquake research.  The class will take field trips to local facilities and affected sites.  We will also research historical and recent tsunamis.

Professor Henry M. Koffman, P.E., is the Director of the Construction Engineering and Management Program in the Viterbi School of Engineering's Civil Engineering Department.  He is a real estate land developer, licensed building contractor, and a registered Professional Engineer in the State of California.

 

(W)rites of Passage
Susan Harris
Thursday, 4:00 – 5:50; Section 34630

This Freshman Seminar will explore the rites of passage that mark the transition from high school to college.  The course will offer a space for students to reflect on who they are, where they come from, and where they are headed—and the role of higher education in shaping this dynamic process.  Completing a service-learning assignment through the Joint Educational Project (JEP) has become a kind of rite of passage for thousands of USC students.  All students in the course will become JEP mentors for college-bound high school students from the Los Angeles Unified School District who participate in USC’s Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI).

As suggested by the course title, writing will play a primary role in the course.  We will work together with NAI teachers and administrators to guide high school seniors as they draft their college application essays.  In addition, the FSEM students will write reflective essays that investigate the roots of the self, critically examining how race, class, gender, education, and other social forces create and constrain individual opportunities.  The USC freshmen will help to orient the high school seniors to college life, sharing their own experiences as new college students.

Susan Harris is the Associate Director for Research and Academic Affairs at JEP.  She designs and implements service-learning projects that are mutually beneficial for the campus and the community.  A sociologist by training, Susan enjoys working with students from a wide range of academic disciplines.

 

Writing to be Read
Richard Fliegel
Thursday, 2:00 – 3:50; Section 34619

"No one but a blockhead ever wrote except for money," said Samuel Johnson, but that's not the end of the story.  There is after all a reader or an audience, expecting something.  This is a seminar for writers or for people who are trying to be.  We will focus on the question, "How does it change what I write when I'm determined to affect my readers?"  Writing to express yourself accurately is hard, but it's like falling off a log compared to writing things that succeed in stirring other people's emotions.

Students will be expected to read other writers' work in several genres and to share with the class what they themselves have written, sometimes on the spot.  We promise not to laugh unless it's funny -- and if that isn't scary, the devil knows what is.

Richard Fliegel is the Director of the Freshman Seminar program and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in USC Dornsife College.  He has published detective novels and tried his hand at some other forms, from poetry to episodic television.