First-Year Seminar


All first-year students as well as transfer students with fewer than 24 hours of college work are enrolled in BCC 100, First-Year Seminar. Students entering Berry in the fall of 2014 have two options to choose from:

  • BCC 100, First-Year Seminar This ten-week, one credit course is designed to help you make a successful transition to Berry. In this course you’ll examine some of the challenges that new students typically face, explore opportunities for engagement through work, study and extracurricular activities at Berry and reflect on your own strengths and goals as you plan to make the most of your time here. Best of all, BCC 100 will provide you with a network of peers who will accompany and support you on this journey. Each BCC 100 class is led by a faculty or staff instructor will also serve as your academic advisor and a First-Year Mentor, an experienced Berry student who will help you to navigate your first weeks on campus. Learn more

  • SPT 100 First-Year Colloquium  This 4 credit, full-semester course meets the requirement for both BCC 100 and 1 General Education course. Centered on a specific theme, the course introduces students to modes of inquiry and exploration within the instructor’s area of expertise. These courses include a variety of engaging and challenging reading, discussion and writing assignments to strengthen students’ reasoning and communication skills. The course instructor will serve as your academic advisor. Each instructor will be assisted by a First-Year Mentor, an experienced Berry student who will help you to navigate your first weeks on campus. 4 sections of SPT 100 are offered; enrollment is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

SPT 100 Course Descriptions

Phantom Limbs and Plastic Brains
Instructor: 
Dr. Alan Hughes, Professor, Psychology

An examination of how neural plasticity underlies brain-behavior relationships, with a special emphasis on using knowledge from modern neuroscience to critically evaluate the merits of biological and environmental (social) determinism. An honest discussion about the merits of biological or social determinism can only happen if students are made aware of recent advances in neuroscience. What are circumstances in which biological determinism is supported by what we know to be correct about the brain and its innate capacities? What are circumstances in which social determinism is supported by our knowledge of how the brain is altered by particular environmental situations?

Meets General Education requirement in PSY 101

The Chemistry of Food
Instructor:
Dr. Alice Suroviec, Associate Professor, Chemistry

We all need to eat, but we are constantly inundated with mixed messages about what to eat and what not to eat. It is impossible to make an informed decision about what is “good” to eat if we don’t really know what we are eating.  As a food consumer we need to be able to answer questions such as: what makes some food better than others, what chemical changes take place when we heat food, why do some flavors combine well and others do not, and are GMOs a concern? This course will examine the chemistry of preparing food, the science of flavor and some ethical questions surrounding food and food production.

Meets General Education requirement in CHM 102

Introduction to Engineering Design

Instructor: Dr. Shawn Hilbert, Assistant Professor of Physics

This course will introduce students to design and problem solving processes used in the field of engineering. Students will study design triumphs and failures from case histories, apply design processes to solve problems, and explicitly use design through a series of competitions using autonomous robots via Lego Mindstorms® sets.  The components of the design process will be discussed and practiced. This course will also examine the field of engineering and the skills of an engineer, focusing on problem solving, teamwork, and communication.

Meets General Education requirement in Science

Springsteen’s America: Contemporary Rhetoric and Public Address

Instructors:  Dr. Tom Hart, Director of Athletics and Dr. Randy Richardson, Lecturer, Communication

Who are we, and where are we going? For over 45 years, Grammy Award winner Bruce Springsteen has been asking that question, not only of himself, but also of our country. One of America’s greatest storytellers, Springsteen has attempted to answer these questions by presenting everyday people in his lyrics and putting these characters in situations which provide an opportunity to think and feel.  Outside of his writing, Springsteen has defined himself with three-hour concerts, public self-analysis and a heart for social justice/human rights. All of this has been accomplished while keeping one eye on the roots of rock and roll, and the other suspiciously cocked toward the machine of pop stardom.

In this seminar, we will explore our individual lives and collective experiences as Americans and how they relate to Springsteen and the real and fictional characters he writes about.  The class will also present historical and social circumstances that have been used as a backdrop in much of Springsteen’s work.  This includes immigration, the treatment of veterans of war, timely topics such as government response to crisis and concerns about social media and file sharing.

Meets General Education requirement in COM 203