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iConnect 2007-2008

The University of Saint Francis is committed to helping you succeed as a student here and beyond. That’s why the university created a special course called "iConnect,"designed to help you learn how to use the university’s student resources to your best advantage. iConnect combines traditional first-year experience topics, such as orientation to the Library, adding and dropping courses, and study habits and test-taking skills, with intellectual discussion about a academic topic or theme. iConnect will guide new students in forging connections with their peers, the university and the world around them, developing the tools to participate in the university’s intellectual, social and spiritual community.

Each year, students will have the opportunity to explore a different unifying topic. For the 2007-08 school year, the iConnect theme is "Monsters."

Below are some examples of course descriptions that USF faculty developed around the theme "Monsters." These descriptions are a demonstration of how this year’s theme could be applied to different fields of knowledge, and are designed to give you a taste of what you have in store as a student at the University of Saint Francis. Actual courses will vary from these descriptions.

Monsters, Global Village and Character
The chosen themes examine "Globalization: Monster or Friend?" Readings from The World is Flat address the global issues that face society from a business/technology perspective. This text will be presented to illustrate the impact of globalization on all of us as global citizens. Also, a debate format, supplemented with a PBS video series, will be used to discuss the issue "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?" among other societal issues related to globalization. A biography of a CEO or business leader will be studied to initiate a discussion of personal or business choices and actions. This discussion will enables students to discern character issues that leaders often face in this rapidly changing global marketplace.

Monsters, Other and Invention
The theme of monsters will be used as a vehicle for guiding students to reflect on broader social, scientific and artistic issues. The course will explore the idea of the "monster" as a metaphor for the social outcast, the "other." Books such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein will be utilized to discuss these topics as well as provide the opportunity to explore issues such as the relationship between man, nature and science. This course will also relate monsters to the notion of creativity or invention. Leonardo da Vinci describes the artist’s ability to create monsters as the result of merging the close study of nature with the powers of the human imagination.

Monsters, Martyrs and Myself
An interactive, cross-disciplinary and absorbing look at historical and literary examples of human and fictional monsters and martyrs: Horton the Elephant, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Hitler, Jekyll and Hyde, and others. Students and the instructor will identify what humanity interprets as serious threats or mistakes (monsters and nemeses), or as heroic "suffering servants" (martyrs and heroes), and how they help shape our self development (both as individuals and as cultures). Plenary and small group work will characterize most classroom activity. Readings, interviews and experimentation will provide resource information for group discussion and projects. Course materials on the common theme include fiction, analytical readings, film, video, and Internet searches.

"I Write the Monster; The Monster Writes Me."
In this course, students will discuss the author as monster, embracing and resisting notions of literary genre and social conventions. In what way is the act of writing similar to the act of creating a monster? How do poets, novelists and theorists breathe new life into literary genres through the creation of "monster" hybrid texts? By examining works that seek to blur the lines between poetry and fiction, visual art and poetry, text and image, and by trying to create some of our own monsters, students will explore and question the importance of monsters and their relationship to society.

Monsters, Disease and Humanity
The course will introduce students to the study of several human diseases and provide a general discussion on the science behind these diseases. Students will be drawn into a discussion of the horrific consequences of these diseases, discuss public perceptions toward these diseases, and discuss the social and ethical issues that arise when dealing with patients with especially devastating diseases. Students are expected to engage in a discussion that will allow them to explore their own views of human beings who are burdened with disfigurements or especially contagious diseases.