Discovery Seminars

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

Enroll today

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:

Explore the seminars

Session C courses, 15 weeks

Poetry as Protest

Jennifer Merritt, Instructor – Department of English

“When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” versed poet Amanda Gorman at the presidential inauguration. Through wars and social movements, poetry has long been a language of resistance and empowerment. In this seminar, we will read and discuss poetry in conversation with U.S. histories, identi - ties, politics, and pop culture.

T 3 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. PVW163 – (92603)

Sociology of Summer Camp

Paul LePore, Associate Dean – The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Each year, more than 11 million kids and adults attend one of the 12,000 summer camps operating in the United States. Camps are a big business, grossing more than $2.8 billion annually and employing more than 1.5 million staffers. For many, summer camp provides some of the most poignant memories from childhood and adolescence. So why do camps work and how might we look at what happens at camp to under - stand and enhance how other complex organizations operate? Using a sociological lens, we will explore the history of camps in the U.S., watch some classic camp movies, learn key social science research skills (so we can interview people about their own camp experiences) and culmi - nate our course with a weekend trip to a camp in the valley.

T 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. ARM147 - (95372)

Speaking OUT: LGBTQ+ Youth and their Allies

David Boyles, Instructor – Department of English

Until recently, the experiences of LGBTQ youth have largely been ab - sent in political conversations and pop culture representations. But that has changed dramatically in the past decade. This course will examine the increasing visibility of LGBTQ youth in pop culture from comics and TV to YouTube and events. In addition, we will examine political organizations that center LGBTQ youth in political discussions around issues such as conversion therapy, transgender participation in school sports and the teaching of LGBTQ history. Drawing on the disciplines of rhetoric, political science, cultural studies and queer studies, we will discuss how this increasing visibility of LGBTQ youth has changed our cultural conversations

TH 3 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. PVW159 – (92606)

Time to Launch your Leadership Journey

Katherine Vawter, Director – University College

Great leadership starts with introspection and self-awareness. In this course, we’ll dive into who you truly are and make a plan on how to progress toward the life you’ve always wanted.

W 3:35 p.m. – 4:25 p.m. PABLO105 – (82244)

Urban Dynamics: Ecosystems and Environments

Soe Myint, Professor – School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

This course introduces students to topics in geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and spatial analysis to answer sci - ence questions, solve problems, create better management plans and formulate policies for urban sustainability. Students will get exposure to several concepts that are crucial for scientific vision, geospatial approaches, data collection, statistics and literature review.

W 2:30 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. PVW159 – (82243)

Wildlife in the City

Kevin McGraw, Professor – School of Life Sciences

What animals live around us? What equips them to tolerate or thrive in human-dominated environments? Where are they likely to be found? We will review the scientific aspects of and community implications for coexisting with wild animals.

M 2:30 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. PVW159 – (82242)

The World of King Arthur

Ryan Naughton, Instructor – Department of English

When he pulled the sword from the stone, King Arthur became a legend. For nearly one thousand years, that legend has been told and retold in numerous stories, films, TV shows and video games. In this course, we will investigate these and other sources as we seek to find out where the legend comes from and why it continues to be popular.

T 3 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. PVW159 – (92605)

Civil War Racism and Political Violence

Adam Seagrave, Associate Professor/Associate Director – School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Both Abraham Lincoln and John Brown were opposed to slavery. Both ultimately used violence to achieve abolition. John Brown worked outside the Constitution and the laws. Abraham Lincoln worked within them. This course will explore the significance of these similarities and differences between the two men.

TH 3 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. PVW163 – (92604)

Drugs, Needles and People

Philip Scharf, Assistant Vice President – Educational Outreach and Student Services

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 upper-level students 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 p.m. – 4:25 p.m. PABLO101 – (82245)

Insiders and Outsiders in the Ancient World

Sarah Bolmarcich, Senior Lecturer – School of International Letters and Cultures

How can we better understand our modern world concerns, such as inequity based on gender and race, through the lens of the ancient world? Greco-Roman culture formed the basis of Western civilization. But that culture was created and dominated by insiders, usually higher-status adult males. Yet there were plenty of outsiders — women, slaves, non-Greeks, lower-class citizens and the disability community. What role did these groups, underrepresented in our sources, play in the formation of Greco-Roman culture? How does that formation still inform modern culture and parallel how outsiders let their voices be heard today?

W 4:40 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. PABLO105 – (82250)

Session A & B courses, 7 1/2 weeks

DiscSem: LiveWell@ASU: Introduction to Wellness
Alyssa Sanonu, - Sun Devil Fitness and Wellness

Learn about Living Well at ASU and how healthy habits can help you reach your personal and professional goals while avoiding burnout. Discuss ways to "Build Your Best You" by understanding challenges, opportunities and skillsets that can assist you on your path to success.

Session A
F 2:00-3:50PM, PVW159
Class #: 84266

DiscSem: Making a Career with a Humanities Degree
Jeffrey CohenDean of HumanitiesThe College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

This seminar is for anyone who is majoring or thinking about majoring in any Humanities subject: English, History, Philosophy, any language, anything else. We'll explore how to lay the groundwork for career success from Day One at ASU.

Session A
M 4:10-6:00 PM, PVW159
Class #: 84270

DiscSem: Math will save the world:medicine, AI etc
Iuliia InozemtsevaLecturerSchool of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Discover the beauty of mathematics in nature, biology, medicine, AI, computer science, engineering and epidemics spread. No matter which subject is your favorite, we will show you how math is changing it in 21st century: from music, medicine to machine learning. Come and blow your mind away during each class.

Session A
W 2:00-3:50PM, PVW159
Class #: 84265

DiscSem: Science & the Future:Science Behind SciFi
Kenro KusumiProfessor, Associate Dean and DirectorSchool of Life Sciences

Science fiction has played a key role in stimulating public imagination, presenting both utopian and dystopian future worlds. In this class, we will review science fiction through a scientific lens, critically examining what is supported by current scientific theory versus what verges into the realm of fantasy.

Session A
M 4:10-6:00PM, LSE232
Class #: 87862

DiscSem: The Neurobiology of Emotion
Miles OrchinikAssociate ProfessorSchool of Life Sciences

In this discussion-based seminar, you will learn neurobiology in a context that resonates for many first-year students. We'll study mechanisms through which neurons and hormones interact to link stress, depression, and affiliation (love, friendship, bonding).  How does uncontrollable stress lead to depression? How does affiliation prevent some deleterious effects of stress? Grades will be based the two discussion questions you submit before class, class participation and engagement, and short weekly reflections on what you've learned. No exams, no papers.

Session A
W 4:10-6:00PM, PVW159
Class #: 84271

DiscSem: What does it mean to be American?
Angela Gonzales & Michelle McGibbney VlahoulisAngela Gonzales, Associate Professor and Associate Director. Michelle McGibbney Vlahoulis, Faculty Lead and Senior LecturerSchool of Social Transformation

As our nation becomes increasingly more diverse (race, ethnicity, sexuality, legal status, etc.), what does it mean to be American? In this seminar, we consider this question and how nativist discourses, immigration policies and the escalation of racial violence affect our sense of identity and belonging as Americans. 

Session A
M 2:00-3:50PM, PVW159
Class #: 84264

DiscSem: Discovering Middle East
Miral MahgoubAssociate ProfessorSchool of International Letters and Cultures

Using an interdisciplinary thematic approach in this seminar, students will explore Middle East cultural differences, misunderstandings, stereotypes, and be able to explain how they contribute to Islamophobia and other misconceptions about Middle East culture. Thematic areas of emphasis will include the Arab Family, Fine Art/Music, Food, Gender identities, Religious life, Political Conflict and War, Islamic tradition and other elements.    

Session B
F 4:10-6:00PM, PSH552
Class #: 87866

DiscSem: Exploring the global learning crisis
Carlos ValienteProfessorT. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics

Join me as we use human development and sociological perspectives to explore the educational journeys of children from low- and middle-income countries. We will discuss challenges and opportunities associated with global efforts to improve children's functioning. There will be a focus on the family, education systems, and government.

Session B
W 2:00-3:50PM, PVW159
Class #: 84268

DiscSem: Risk, as seen through the eyes of Math!
Petar JevticAssistant ProfessorSchool of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

From ancient times to modern days, the idea of risk in its many forms, such as maritime, home, auto, life, medical, cyber risk, etc. has captured imaginations of many mathematicians. The future brings new landscapes of risk such as political, geopolitical, terrorism, supply chain, environmental, ecological, and pandemic risks. Mathematics is merely a language that aids systematic thinking about risk and helps predict its consequences. In this class, in an approachable manner, we will embark on a tour across amazing domains or risk landscape. We will discuss some issues of modeling risk and jointly discover new risk terrains. 

Session B
F 4:10-6:00PM, PVW159
Class #: 84274

Session A: August 20, 2020 – October 9, 2020
Session B: October 12, 2020 – December 4, 2020

Session C: August 20, 2020 – December 4, 2020