Chapman students on Bert Williams Mall in front of Memorial Hall.

General Education Program

» First-year Foundations Courses

The First-year Foundations Course (FFC) is a key element of Chapman University's General Education program. All first-year students enroll in an FFC section during their first year at Chapman. Transfer students who have not earned 24 credits at a college or university prior to starting Chapman are also required to enroll in an FFC section.  

FFC courses focus on critical engagement, exploration and communication related to complex issues rather than on mastering a body of material. The goal is to enhance your critical thinking skills-skills that are essential to your success in your Chapman education, your future career and your life.

Most students will select a topic according to their academic and personal interests. Some students are required to take specific FFC courses, and you will be informed if this applies to your major. All of the sections offer students intellectually enriching opportunities to explore ideas, values, and disciplinary knowledge and methods. Students will work independently and collaboratively to frame issues and questions that have engaged the intellectual interests of historians, philosophers, fine arts, and media critics, scientists, economists and political theorists over the centuries.

FFC is taught by faculty who are committed to supporting students in their transition to university-level critical inquiry. Field trips, guest speakers, collaborative research, multimedia projects and active engagement in class activities are an important part of each course.

Approximately 50 sections of FFC courses are offered in the Fall on varying topics and students and encouraged to take advantage of Fall opportunities, which provide the most topics and options to choose from. Limited offerings of FFC are available during Interterm and Spring semesters for students unable to register in Fall. 

Detailed course descriptions are provided below. For meeting days, times and locations, please view the schedule through the Student Center on My Chapman.

Interterm 2018

+ - Earth's Spheres and the Changing Climate

Hesham El-Askary, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Earth Systems Science and Remote Sensing

Hesham El-Askary, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Earth Systems Science and Remote Sensing
Email: Hesham El-Askary

FFC 100-03 (M,T,W,Th, 9–11:50 a.m.)
There is no point in denying climate change because we are living in a dynamic interactive system that is made up by a series of spheres: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, and the biosphere. Global warming, rising temperature and CO2 emissions have been the only focus of media, main stream people and politicians. What about the domino effect in our fragile Earth system? In this class we will discuss different aspects of these effects associated with the above-mentioned spheres of the Earth system, how they interact to shape the environment in which we live, and how they are affected by our changing climate.

+ - Expeditions: Leadership Lessons from Shakleton and the Polar Explorers

Cristina Giannantonio, Ph.D.-Associate Professor of Human Resource Management

Cristina Giannantonio, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Human Resource Management
Email: Cristina Giannantonio

FFC 100-02 (T,W,Th, 12-3:50 p.m.)
The era of polar exploration offers students an exciting lens through which to explore the factors necessary for being both a successful leader and an effective follower. The expeditions of polar explorers such as Ernest Shackleton, Robert Falcon Scott, and Roald Amundsen offer students historical case studies from which they can construct the principles of being both a leader who is successful and a follower who is effective in contributing to a team effort. This class will encourage students to both envision and ultimately embark on their own expeditions and to develop their own definitions and operationalizations of success.

+ - Social Justice on Big Screen

Judy Kriger, M.F.A.-Assistant Professor of Film and Media Arts

Judy Kriger, M.F.A. – Assistant Professor of Film and Media Arts
Email: Judy Kriger

FFC 100-01 (T, Th, 2-7:40 p.m.)
How do political cartoons, graphic novels and animated documentaries inspire us to repair the world? Cartoons and animation aren’t only for the entertainment industry; the power of the hand-drawn or computer generated line can encourage, motivate and awaken us to make a difference. In Social Justice on the Big Screen students will watch animated documentaries, explore graphic novels and make short creative presentations to the class. In addition to watching animated documentaries and reading graphic novels, students will shoot photographs, produce original graphics, and publish to the web.

Spring 2018

+ - Earth's Spheres and the Changing Climate

Hesham El-Askary, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Earth Systems Science and Remote Sensing

Hesham El-Askary, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Earth Systems Science and Remote Sensing
Email: Hesham El-Askary

FFC 100-06 (T,Th, 10-11:15 a.m.)
There is no point in denying climate change because we are living in a dynamic interactive system that is made up by a series of spheres: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, and the biosphere. Global warming, rising temperature and CO2 emissions have been the only focus of media, main stream people and politicians. What about the domino effect in our fragile Earth system? In this class we will discuss different aspects of these effects associated with the above-mentioned spheres of the Earth system, how they interact to shape the environment in which we live, and how they are affected by our changing climate.

+ - Histories of Consciousness: Reading the Word, Reading the World, Re-Writing Our Histories

Miguel Zavala, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Education

Miguel Zavala, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Education
Email: Miguel Zavala

FFC 100-16 (M, W, 1-2:15 p.m.)
We live in a complex reality, where technology, media, and education as major institutions have come to shape how we see the world and ourselves. We are, in many ways, alienated from each other and the world around us, as evidenced by the increasing violence in our society that is perpetuated by class, race, gender, and other systems of domination. Yet people also resist and strive for meaning and community as they socially dream a renewed world. This course is an exploration in consciousness, how it is mediated and shaped historically. But it’s also a course on how consciousness becomes generative and can lead to social transformation. How do social and historical conditions shape our consciousness? How can our consciousness in turn shape the self and society? What role does education and learning play in the formation of a critical consciousness?  In this course students will analyze how the question of consciousness and its formation has been approached by different scholarly traditions and will engage in authentic action-research experiences that enable them to experience first-hand the process of coming to critically know and transform the world.

Requirement:
Participation in the Education & Ethnic Studies Summit, Saturday April 28, 2018 at Chapman University (9am – 5pm)

+ - If the Buddha Walked Mindfully on Stage: Viewing Character through a Zen Lens

Julie Artman, M.F.A.-Chair of the Collection Management Division Librarian and Instructor of Theatre

Julie Artman, M.F.A. – Chair of the Collection Management Division
Librarian and Instructor, Department of Theatre
Email: Julie Artman

FFC 100-05 (T, Th, 4-5:15 p.m.)
Buddha-nature and mindfulness have become the de rigueur everywhere you look: in the workplace, in relationships, and in education. What does the story of the Buddha have to tell us about the interactions and behaviors of characters from dramatic literature? In this course students will explore Buddha-nature and mindfulness to see how its teachings and practices can be used to examine, discuss, and analyze character struggles and triumphs from dramatic literature. Reviewing theatrical performances will provide students with direct observational opportunities, and students will engage in both analytic and creative projects, individually and collaboratively.

+ - Intelligence, Race, Music, and Sports

Keith Howard, Ph.D.-Associate Professor, Director, Donna Ford Attallah Academy for Teaching and Learning

Keith Howard, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Education, Director of the Donna Ford Attallah Academy for Teaching and Learning
Email: Keith Howard

FFC 100-14 (T, 7-9:50 p.m.)
Course Description: Perceptions and perspectives on race and intelligence are reflected in, and influenced by, various forms of media. This course will examine common themes in popular song lyrics and sports commentary, contrasting them with common beliefs about race and intelligence. Students will examine their own musical and societal influences and think critically about how those influences might shape their own views on the academic prowess, general aptitude, and professional success of different groups. By examining lyrics and transcripts of their favorite songs and sporting events, students will critically discuss and dissect the possible impacts of commonly used terms, phrases, and idioms in popular media.

+ - Lies You Learned in School

Jim Brown, Ph.D.-Professor of Scholarly Practice in Education

Jim Brown, Ph.D. - Professor of Scholarly Practice in Education
Email: Jim Brown

FFC 100-10 (T, Th, 1-2:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-11 (T, Th, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)
What histories did you learn in school? Should history only be the story of the dominant culture, or should it include narratives that contradict the "American Celebrationist" perspective? This course provides a critical analysis of important social themes (e.g., identity, conformity, and bystander vs. upstander) linked to key histories (e.g., the Holocaust and other genocides, America in Vietnam). The course is based on the assumption that if citizens in a democracy are to value their rights and take responsibility for their actions, they must know not only the triumphs of history but also the failures and tragedies. As students study the historical development and the lessons of "difficult" histories, they learn to make the essential connections between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives.

+ - Literature and Film

Walter Tschacher, Ph.D.-Professor of Languages

Walter Tschacher, Ph.D. - Professor of Languages
Email: Walter Tschacher

FFC 100-03 (T,Th, 8:30-9:45 a.m.)
In this course students will critically examine films in relation to their source material (both English and in translation) and the social, historical, and cultural contexts of both. Possible texts/films include Death in Venice (Thomas Mann/Visconti) and Room with a View (E. M. Forster/J. Ivory). We will consider not only the adaptation of literary works but also the inverse process, called novelization (i.e., the film serves as the basis for literature; for instance, some James Bond and Star War films underwent novelization). The course will take up such questions as: How does the change in medium produce a new text/meaning? When comparing and contrasting literature and film, what are their relative strengths and weaknesses? How is literary and visual art affected by commerce, and vice-versa—how, for example, is "popular" art coded as more or less authentic than "high" art?

+ - Los Angeles in Film and Fiction

Atalia Lopez, M.A.-Lecturer, Department of English

Atalia Lopez, M.A. - Lecturer, Department of English
Email: Atalia Lopez

FFC 100-09 (T, Th, 5:30-6:45 p.m.)
When Joyce Carol Oates asks, “If the City is a text, how shall we read it?” she presents a question that connects a dynamic and physical space to something more abstract. If a city is a text, as she proposes, how will we engage with it as “readers” and come to some level of greater understanding? In this course students will explore representations of the city of Los Angeles, with particular emphasis on its portrayal in films and literary texts. Throughout the semester we will read and view texts that prominently feature the urban space of Los Angeles. Through study, discussion, and research we will examine how the city functions within these imagined worlds and tackle some central questions and many others: how is Los Angeles different from other major American cities? What is the function of Los Angeles as an urban environment? What are some central themes that we can see developing across the texts we read/view? Does its representation differ at all between the mediums of film and literature? Texts may include films such as Sunset Blvd., Chinatown, Blade Runner, L.A. Confidential, Drive, and novels such as Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust, Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays, Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, Charles Bukowski's Post Office, and T.C. Boyle's The Tortilla Curtain.

+ - Memories of World War II in French Film

Allan MacVicar, Ph.D.-Assistant Professor, Instructional Faculy in the Department of World Languages and Cultures

Allan MacVicar, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Instructional Faculty in the Department of World Languages and Cultures
Email: Allan MacVicar

FFC 100-04 (T, Th, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.)
How does France remember the Second World War and how do filmmakers represent these memories in film? In this course, we will examine the debates and changing attitudes towards the war through the prism of film. As France came to terms with its participation in the war, and particularly with Germany’s occupation of France, different versions of the past gradually emerged. The myth that the majority of French citizens resisted the occupying force confronted the realities that many had been active collaborators or simply stood by, indifferent to the plight of their fellow citizens. We will explore how certain films produced in the last sixty years overemphasized some events of the war while obscuring others, and we will consider the ways in which these representations helped shape the image the French had of themselves. We will focus especially on the way in which these filmic memories shift and call into question earlier presuppositions. Films to be screened include works by Clément, Melville, Resnais, and Malle. Supplementary readings will provide context for the various periods discussed.

+ - Reading the Rhetoric and Pop Culture

Geraldine McNenny, Ph.D.-Associate Professor of Education

Geraldine McNenny, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Education
Email: Geraldine McNenny

FFC 100-12 (T, 4-6:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-13 (Th, 4-6:45 p.m.)
Popular culture, whether manifested in music, film, television, or the Internet, constitutes a carnival of persuasive appeals, continually sending out messages about how to be a part of the in-crowd, what counts as valuable, and how to conduct ourselves in our lives. How can we make sense of the onslaught of messages, arguments, and media overload we experience every day? In this course, we’ll explore the power of applying the many lenses of rhetorical analysis in understanding, unmasking, decoding, and disrupting the ideologies inherent in popular culture texts.

+ - Story

No photo available

Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Faculty
Email: Samantha Peale
Email: Liz Stephens

Samantha Peale FFC 100-01 (T, 7-9:45 p.m.)
Liz Stephens FFC 100-02 (M, 1-3:45 p.m.)

(required for film production and screenwriting majors, spaces also open for other majors)

This First-year Foundations course aims to engage students in university-level critical inquiry and reflection. The focus is on critical engagement, exploration and communication related to analyzing story in its myriad of forms. The class will give students a strong foundation in one of the key goals of entertainment, media and cinema: to communicate a story for the multi-faceted purposes of informing, persuading, entertaining and transforming individuals, society, culture, and humanity. All of the arts will be used as inspiration for understanding the contemporary tools required for creating media and movies in today’s society. The study of “form” in other arts, such as poetry and music, will be applied to movie structure; the study of classic heroes and heroines from opera and literature will be applied to character development in modern media. Additionally, innovative storytelling models, such as non-linear storytelling, will also be explored.

+ - Thomas Paine, Edmund Burke and Modern Political Argument

Kevin O'Leary, Ph.D.-Lecturer, Department of Political Science

Kevin O'Leary, Ph.D. - Lecturer, Department of Political Science
Email: Kevin O'Leary

FFC 100-08 (Th, 7-9:50 p.m.)
This course explores how the French Revolution gave birth to modern political argument and the left-right divide. British statesman Edmund Burke penned the conservative response to the bloodshed in Paris in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. Thomas Paine, who earlier sparked the American Revolution with Common Sense, responded with The Rights of Man. Burke remains a touchstone for conservative thought while Paine championed universal human rights. Students will examine how political arguments are constructed, consider the importance of conviction and passion to great writing, trace the legacy of Burke and Paine to contemporary debates and ponder the roots of political ideologies.