First-Year Seminar 2019 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar introduces students to many of the core values of a Westmont education. It provides opportunities to explore ideas and perspectives within a small community of learners. The seminar strives to help students gain confidence in their own inquiries, to develop their own voices, to hone their thinking and writing skills, and to reflect on the purposes of a Christian liberal arts program. Each seminar has its own thematic focus.
Joining the First-Year Seminar is a perfect opportunity to participate in a small, discussion-oriented course where you can develop a relationship with a faculty member and a small group of peers on a topic of interest. A First-Year Seminar is a great addition to a three or four-course load.
These seminars are only offered in the fall semester. They are open to any new student (first-year or transfer).
2019 First-Year Seminar Courses
Transforming Conflict: Engaging the Awkwardness and Pain
Instructor: Dan Taylor
Times: Mondays, 4:00-5:50
How do you respond to tense conversations or arguments? Do you feel hopeless when faced with international violence, divisive politics, repetitive family arguments, or your own personal conflicts? This interactive course will offer specific ways to understand and engage conflict, hands-on practice doing so, and an exploration of the gospel call to be participants in reconciliation. We will learn and grow through discussion, practice, and reading with the primary goal of gaining a balance of confidence and humility that will provide us the foundation for effectively engaging conflict throughout our lives.
Instructor: Sonya Welch
Times: Thursdays, 1:15-3:05
This first year seminar is to assist students to be successful in their academic career at Westmont. Students will have the opportunity to explore topics around effective, practical habits and good use of college resources. Students will not only consider how their definition of success will lead to their academic program, but also to their career and other areas of their life. Some of the topics that will be covered will be identifying college resources, practical methods to improve note-taking skill and personal responsibility with transitioning to college.
Instructor: Angela D’Amour
Times: Thursdays, 3:15-5:05
This first year seminar invites you into a theory-driven conversation about Christian leadership. This
discussion based interdisciplinary course will walk you through leadership development concepts and
build a base of understanding for the skills and frameworks necessary for effective leadership. Students
will consider topics such as self-awareness, privilege, ethics, and emotional intelligence as you seek to
envision how you might lead and serve at Westmont and beyond.
Foundations of American Democracy
Instructor: Tom Knecht
Times: Tuesdays, 1:15-3:05
Is American democracy broken or resilient? This course will look at what works in America, what issues need attention, and why American politics have become increasingly divisive.
Technology Ethics in Science Fiction
Instructor: Don Patterson
Times: Tuesdays, 3:30-5:20
In this course we will read science fiction accounts of technology in order to better see our contemporary experiences of computing. Through written responses and class discussions we will explore the nature of current and future ethical concerns in computing and related technology.
Sports and Culture
Instructors: Robert Ruiz and Mark Sargent
Times: Thursdays: 10:00-11:50
Much more than "only a game," the multi-billion-dollar international sports industry pervades today's society. We will explore the role of college and professional sports in contemporary culture through a range of disciplinary perspectives.
Instructor: Eric Nelson
Times: Mondays/Wednesdays: 2:00-2:50
Anxiety and stress are increasingly commonplace in the overscheduled, high-intensity, consistently connected lifestyles that we lead. This course will explore the rise of anxiety, the impact on young adults, and the implications for academic performance, social connection, and emotion. Coursework will also review the psychology of well-being vs. anxiety and consider pathways toward improved management of stress, closer social connection, and performance less hindered by the anxiety common to this time. Explore ways to thrive in college for both yourself and your peers.
Sustainable Santa Barbara: Engaging Food, Faith & Our Community
Instructors: Shannon Balram and Kenny Chism
Times: Mondays/Wednesdays, 3:15-4:05
Students will learn how a vibrant Christian faith can express itself through sustainable living practices, and how engaging their local community of Santa Barbara is one of the most effective ways towards global change. They will spend time working in a community Garden, trying food at the Farmer’s Market, exploring and engaging Santa Barbara, and reading and reflecting on Creation Care. The class offers an interactive and informative approach to sustainable living, concluding with a celebratory meal prepared by the instructors.
Instructor: Telford Work
This course is only open to students who are attending the Pre-Orientation Adventure trip. Meet at Westmont and travel to Kings Canyon National Park to hike the Rae Lakes Loop. The Rae Lakes Loop contains some of the most stunning and celebrated scenery in the nation. The route consists of three separate but connecting trails that travel through glacially-carved canyons, a high country basin containing a chain of sapphire blue lakes set against towering granitic crags, and an alpine pass that just scrapes 12,000 feet. Engage in discussion on readings and issues relevant to your first year in college.
This course is only open to students who are attending the Pre-Orientation Adventure trip. Includes 7 nights of camping, ropes course with high and low elements, belay clinic at UCSB Adventure Climbing Center, guided hikes and kayak tour, day of outdoor rock climbing, and a round-trip ferry to the Channel Islands National Park with a 3 day stay on Santa Cruz Island.
Instructor: Brad Berky
This course is only open to students who are attending the Pre-Orientation Adventure trip. This urban adventure involves a 7 day immersive experience in the culturally diverse, dynamic city of San Francisco. The trip will feature daily field trips, cultural/arts events, service projects and group discussions all lead by the resident faculty of the Westmont in San Francisco program. Participants will stay at the Clunie House, a beautiful Victorian house owned by Westmont in San Francisco, and will have opportunity to develop strong connections with their peers and share in a living-learning community experience aimed at seeing God, self and neighbor in new, expansive ways as well as taking in the beauty and unique vibe of a world-class American city.