Inquiry Courses

All journeys begin here

Things in the real world don’t often fit inside the neat boxes of academic subjects. Why should all of your classes?

Inquiry courses explore compelling questions from fresh angles, bringing together different disciplines, perspectives, and types of evidence. Designed for first-year students, they also help you navigate the ins and outs of college. Incoming students may take them in place of the Student Success Seminar in the 2019-2020 academic year. Beginning in fall 2020, they will be required for all new students entering degree programs. 

INT 1555 Inquire: course offerings

21st-Century Cities (online)

For the first time in human history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. This process of urbanization has accelerated over the past decade or so, providing new and critical challenges for providing sustainable living conditions for cities around the world. Using the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, we'll look at both the challenges and solutions for meeting these goals in cities locally, nationally, and globally.

Beyond the Binary: LGBTQIA+ Expression and Identity (Jamestown)

The 21st century has seen an explosion of identities and manners of expression beyond the traditional male or female, gay or straight. Increasingly students and others identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning, inter-sex, asexual, pan-sexual, resulting in confusion for the populations who identify as such and their friends, family, and society at large. This course is designed to help students understand who they are and how they fit into the world around them and how society could and should respond to the plethora of "new" identities based on the understanding of gender fluidity and related concepts. The course will take advantage of the instructor’s 30+ years as a gay activist and include potential guest speakers from around the country. Students will use LGBTQIA+ resources in our library as well as readings from various sources, including but not limited to books. The course will also consider the historical changes in expression and identity starting in the late 19th century through the present day.

Contagion! (Olean)

Students will learn how diseases have evolved over human history and the biological and social impacts of disease on human populations. Students will analyze the relationship between human behavior and diseases by focusing on contemporary public health problems related to antibiotic use and vaccination rates. Based on their research and analysis, students will make public policy suggestions about disease prevention globally and in the United States.

Designer Babies (Jamestown)

Curing diseases and improving the lives of people is a lofty goal, but does the end justify the means? Students will critically research the raw power and potential limitations of modern DNA technology that will be used by humanity to potentially improve or even save millions of lives. They will critically analyze the history of Social Darwinism and eugenics and how it influences how we think today in the context of this DNA revolution, as well as the ethical implications of the use of such technology.

Digital Citizenship (online)

If an employer were to conduct an online search, what would your digital profile reveal? Can ethics and civility be demonstrated in the online environment? How can you protect yourself and your digital identity? This course will explore these questions as students take a deeper look into the role technology plays in their lives and what it means to be a digital citizen. In this course, students will explore their social media use and examine the potential effects as aspiring professionals. In addition, students will create an electronic portfolio they will use to collect and curate their digital archives from their academic lives as they transition to the professional workplace.

Earth Song for the Universe (Olean)

Students will apply information they research from across several disciplines in deciding upon a song in English to be sent into the galaxy. In 1977 NASA launched Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, both of which have now left this solar system and are traveling in interstellar space. On each is a golden record containing in analog form photographs, speeches, and songs. Students will work together as a class to determine criteria NASA scientists might have had for selecting songs to include, and then students will work in small groups to create a video where they nominate a song for inclusion in such a launch, if it were to be done today.

Feeling Smart? The Secrets of Emotional Intelligence (Jamestown and Dunkirk)

Students will study theories related to emotional intelligence including the relationship of emotional intelligence to academic achievement and workplace success. Students will explore the physiological processes and behavioral tactics that involve emotional intelligence. Students will investigate how emotional intelligence develops throughout the lifespan. A review of different cultures’ expectations regarding emotional intelligence will be explored. Students will apply what they’ve learned by completing self-assessments to measure self-awareness, self-confidence, self-control, commitment and integrity, communication skills, and initiating and accepting change. A final project will incorporate theory and the result of the surveys to create an individual plan to improve a specific component of emotional intelligence.

Irish Arts and Cultures (Olean)

In this course, students will examine how the issues and events pivotal to Ireland and Irish cultures are both represented and shaped by texts. The notion of "text" will be taken broadly to include literary and non-literary print text, visual arts, music, theatre, cinema, television, architecture, folk arts, and other expressions of self. The cultural, national, and historical contexts to be examined in light of these texts will include: Celtic and Gaelic origins, emigration, borderlands, the Irish language, religion, landscape, agriculture, postcolonialism, and globalization. Particular attention will be given to the cyclical relationships between contexts and texts (or life and art).

Local Legends: In Search of History (Jamestown)

Some of history's most interesting stories are found close to home in the bits and pieces of local legends. But are the stories true? And why do some stories survive while others are forgotten? From ancient earthworks to Underground Railroad hideaways, religious radicalism to sensational murders, this course will uncover the facts and falsehoods behind some of our area’s most intriguing legends. We'll also consider what the stories can teach us about the people who chose to pass them along or to ignore or discredit them. We will go on at least one off-site field trip and sleuth out a variety of first-hand sources to produce an online class exhibit.

The Quest for Ancestors (Jamestown)

Once a genteel pastime of the wealthy, genealogy has become a multi-million-dollar industry in the United States, with sites like boasting more than two million subscribers. Why are Americans so fascinated with their family history? What can our quest for ancestors tell us about ourselves and our society at large? In addition to examining the modern "genealogy boom," this course will consider the complicated role of family lineage in a democratic society and how genealogy has been used throughout American history to find belonging, as well as exclude "others." While pursuing answers to these big questions, students will engage in hands-on research to uncover the stories of the people and places who shape their own ancestral selves.

Urban Legends: Truths Behind the Stories We Tell (Jamestown)

All of us have heard stories that have been passed down from our friends. Sometimes, these are ghost stories, such as the vanishing hitchhiker story about a young woman who finds a ride with a sympathetic driver only to disappear. Sometimes, these stories involve alligators in city sewers or dangers in college dorms. Called urban legends, these stories are set in contemporary cultures and often reflect concerns and imagined dangers of specific time periods. In this course, students will examine various urban legends to determine their overall significances, meanings and perceived moral lessons.

What Would Florence Nightingale Say? (Olean)

Florence Nightingale has always been acclaimed as the founder of modern nursing. This journey in time will start at the beginning, researching the common medical practices of Florence's time. From there we will travel forward through history, identifying advances that have changed medical practices as Florence once knew. We will debate those changes and the positive and/or negative outcomes that have resulted. Our journey will end with a glimpse into the future and with what we propose medical practices might be. Along the way we will pause often to ask ourselves: What would Florence Nightingale say?

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