Discovery Seminars

Small, engaging, 1-credit classes for first-year students in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. 

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Are you ready to start your journey?

College is a time for exploration, self-discovery and personal reflection. Start your Sun Devil journey with a Discovery Seminar - a small, engaging, 1-credit course designed exclusively for first-year students. These courses offer an array of benefits for students, including:

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Session C courses, 15 weeks

Session C – January 10 to April 29

Politics & James Bond

Jared Klemp, Instructor – English Writing Programs

This seminar will explore the world’s most famous spy, James Bond, from his first appearance in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale to the newest, post-Brexit film, No Time to Die. We’ll attempt to understand why and how this character has captivated millions through radically changing political, social, and commercial worlds.
M 4:40-5:30 p.m., PVW159 - (33011)

Drugs, Needles, and People

Phillip Scharf, Assistant Vice President – EOSS

So you want to be a doctor? Have you ever thought about going into healthcare? Are you curious what medical school and careers in healthcare might look like? Come find out firsthand what you need to do as undergraduate to be prepared for a successful career in medicine and other healthcare professions. We will tour medical school facilities, interact with current healthcare professionals, acquire skills to be prepared for the MCAT (the medical school entrance exam), and learn from current ASU upperclassmen who are on the journey to medical school. Gain the insights you need to become a successful candidate for a career in medicine.
M 3:35-4:25 p.m., PVW159 - (33001)

The Real Judge Judy

Gregory Broberg, Lecturer – Justice & Social Inquiry

Everyone loves reality TV! This course takes things one step further. Together, we will explore the law through the eyes of our local Tempe court. In-person court/jail visits and judge “chats” will show first-hand how justice is delivered in real-time. We will also throw in some law school preparation tips.
W 4:40-5:30 p.m., PVW159 - (33012)

Hopeful Mindset

Crystal Bryce, Assistant Clinical Professor – School of Social and Family Dynamics

Hope is a scientific construct that focuses on goal setting, and has been shown to support college-students’ academic and social success, and overall well-being. Students will reflect on their experiences surrounding hope and learn strategies and skills to support their own and others’ hope.
W 3:35-4:25 p.m., PVW159 - (33002)

What’s a Species?

Matthew Chew, Instructor – SOLS

The idea of a species is fundamental to biology, ecology, conservation, gardening, and even medicine. But does everyone who uses the term understand it the same way? Explore the history, philosophy, and practical applications of species through reading, discussion, and a long walk or two.
W 2:30-3:20 p.m., PVW159 - (33005)

Robin Hood

Ryan Naughton, Instructor – English

The Robin Hood legend has captured the imagination for over 700 years. He and his Merry Men have appeared in stories, movies, and video games. But Robin and his followers aren’t the only famous outlaws of medieval England. Join me as we read and discuss stories and plays and watch and analyze movies and video clips about Robin and his fellow outlaws.
T 4:30-5:20 p.m., PVW163 - (33007)

Genocide Awareness

Volker Benkert, Asst. Prof. – SHPRS
Tim Langille, Senior Lecturer – SHPRS
John Liffiton, Visiting Scholar – SHPRS

Several studies indicate that awareness of the Holocaust and to an even larger extent other genocides is declining in the US. As a result, lawmakers around the county and in our state have mandated that the Holocaust and other genocides be taught in schools. This seminar will explore how we can study different genocides without creating hierarchies of suffering and how we can create awareness for genocide in schools and universities to address the recent mandate. The seminar will coincide with Genocide Awareness Week, the nation’s largest public-facing conference, held at ASU in April 2022. Students will have the ability to meet with activists, politicians and scholars at the conference and explore small independent projects around Genocide Awareness.
T 3:00-3:50 p.m., PVW163 - (33009)

The U.S.-Mexico Border

Irasema Coronado, Director – School of Transborder Studies

This course provides an interdisciplinary overview of the complex issues of the US-Mexico transborder region and a survey of Latina/o/x populations across the US. The course will pay particular attention to several transborder issues, including history of the region, culture, media, health and applied social policy; education and the US and Mexican regional immigration policy and economy.
TH 3:00-3:50 p.m., PVW163 - (33010)

Transformative Leadership

Cassandra Aska, Deputy Vice President & Dean of Students – EOSS
Sylvia Symonds, Deputy Vice President – EOSS

Becoming a better leader is a continuous challenge. While you may have already taken on leadership opportunities, you might wonder how you can become a more effective leader. Join this seminar to learn what it means to be a transformational leader and gain a greater understanding of how to balance the needs of the individual and the team. This seminar will use a case study approach by identifying a relevant problem, problem-solving, and working through potential solutions.
M 2:30-3:20 p.m., PVW159 - (33004)

Session A & B courses, 7 1/2 weeks

Session A – January 10 to March 1

The Meaning of Life

Roumen Bezergianov, Counselor – ASU Counseling Services

Freedom is the most important aspect of adult life. How you express your freedom through the responsibilities you choose to take on will determine how you build your life, what you take from the world, and what you give to the world. In this course we will explore the different ways to express your freedom according to psychologist Viktor Frankl. You will gain knowledge through the required readings for the course, participate in class discussions on these topics, and write a personal reflection paper, synthesizing and examining how these ideas apply to you.
M 4:10-6:00 p.m. PVW163 - (32988)


Zachary Shaffer, Instructor – School of Life Sciences

In this seminar, you will explore the ways in which evolution has shaped complex life and complex behavioral and structural adaptations in the natural world: from eyes to ants and beyond! Class sessions will include elements of lecture, active learning classroom activities, computer simulations, and biology lab activities.
W 2:00-3:50 p.m., PVW163 - (33217)

Growth Minded Leader

Kendra Hunter, Deputy Vice President/Dean of Students – Student Services

People often think that they can’t be a leader if they are not in charge. However, if one changes their mindset to believe that leadership can grow with experience and a new frame of thought, anyone can learn to be a leader. Leadership is about the ability to influence others, learn from one’s experiences, and impact change. This seminar is designed for first year students who have an interest in leadership on campus or in their future careers. In this peer to peer discussion based course, you will reflect on your experiences and learn how they can be used to develop effective leadership skills.
M 2:00-3:50 p.m., PVW163 - (33216)

Session B – March 14 to April 29

Humanitarian Mapping

Patricia Solis, Associate Research Professor – School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

More than one billion people live in places not marked on a map. They are often among the most vulnerable to disasters. We will learn about problems that mapping technologies can help solve through crowdsourced campaigns to generate fundamental data. We will get to know the ecosystem of public, private, and nonprofit organizations and meet student peers from around the world that work with spatial data to reveal hidden vulnerabilities and create solutions in ethically responsible ways. You will contribute to this real data for real projects, while you gain some new tech skills that you can use in any field of study, including how to interpret features on satellite imagery, how to digitize buildings and roads using AI-assisted tools, and how to add attributes to enrich knowledge about people and places experiencing humanitarian needs.
M 2:00-3:50 p.m., PVW163 - (33219)

Food and Identities

Sara Marsteller, Lecturer – School of Human Evolution and Social Change

Explore the diverse flavors and cultures of South America without leaving campus! In this course, we’ll investigate diverse case studies from cultures across the Andes, Amazon, and coasts of South America to examine links among diet, health, concepts of body/self, and humans’ relationships with one another and our environment.
W 4:10-6:00 p.m., PVW159 - (32996)