Venture Studies - First Year Seminars

Want to get off to a great start?  Want to join a program designed to help lighten your load?  

Sign up early: these courses will close quickly!  These courses are only available for students who begin at UNF Fall term.   



 Course Search   Venture Studies courses can be found easily in the catalog by searching on the "Venture Studies" attribute. 




Living and Learning Communities

Live in the Crossings with fellow students enrolled in one of four Venture Studies First Year Seminars (SLS 1990). This offers opportunities for combining classroom activities, informal learning, and personal development.

  • Small classes held in your residence hall: active learning not lecture courses
  • Taught by some of UNF's most talented and experienced professors
  • Fulfill University requirements while taking a fascinating and fun course that helps you navigate the challenges, both academic and personal, of college life
  • Get to know your professor as a member of your campus community
  • Expand your "classroom" into the Jacksonville community
  • The Department of Housing and Residence Life will partner with your professor to provide additional enrichment opportunities outside the classroom.

Personal Nutrition and Behavior Change
Earn 3 hours of required Science credit with a course that helps you live a healthier life. Central questions: What are the barriers to changing nutrition behavior? How can those barriers be overcome in various settings and for different ethnic and socio-economic groups? This seminar should interest students who care about personal wellness as well as those who will major in Nursing, Community Health, Nutrition, Exercise Science, psychology, or sociology.


Staying Connected Beyond Facebook
Want to make new friends? Want to keep good relationships with family and friends who you don't see on a daily basis? This class will help you understand how to balance your needs with those of others as you develop and maintain relationships. Central questions: How do our relationships evolve as we grow and change? How is technology changing our relationships? How do I strike a balance between being alone and connected? Receive Lower Division Elective credit.  


Inventing Death, or Dying for a Living
This course lets you in to a secret very few people know. It will teach you to recognize, analyze, and understand the way that fear operates in our world. Central questions: Are you afraid of dying? Would you know if you were? What are the effects of that fear in your life, in our culture? What are the assumptions that structure this fear? This seminar should be of interest to anyone with a pulse; it is recommended for anyone who is mortal. Satisfies a University writing requirements: LIT 2932  


Creativity: Inquires into the Habit of Inspiration What does it mean to be creative? What does it mean to live creatively in this community? Earn Humanities credit taking this seminar, which explores the nature and value of creativity. What motivates people to be creative? What is meant by imagination, discipline, and playfulness? What are the characteristics of creative individuals? What is it like when your brain laughs? This seminar should be of special interest to those who think of themselves as creative as well as those who don't.

Venture Studies First Year Seminar Courses without a residential component.  

The following courses offer all the advantages of the Living and Learning Communities, but do not require students to live in the Venture Studies Residence Hall. These small courses also rely on active learning, fulfill University requirements while focusing on your successful transitions, both academic and social, of college life. Your Venture Studies professor is committed to helping you make connections and see the possibilities between your courses this fall, your prospective major, and your hopes for the future.

Satisfies General Education: English (LIT 2932)  

Constructing Reality This seminar is for anyone who wants to know how today's media messages manipulate our view of who we are and where we stand in the world. Central questions: How does the media shape our perceptions of truth? How are these institutions used to construct our world, in particular, our perception of life, death and relationships? How does this construction direct the decisions we make about our lives? Selected texts include Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and the film Wag the Dog.  


What If You Can't Be Fixed?
This seminar explores how and why the media, arts, and literature represent human bodies -- both typical and ones deviating from the norm -- in the ways that they do. Central questions: H ow much does the ancient prejudice linger that disability is stigma signifying divine or cosmic disfavor? To what extent do stereotypes about disability drive public policy and cultural representation? On what occasions has the disability been used to challenge conventional notions of beauty, the body, and normality? Selected texts include the film Murderball , the TV show The Wire, and the memoir The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This seminar will appeal to students interested in Health (nursing, public health, physical therapy, medicine), Education (especially Exceptional Education and Deaf Education), the Social Sciences and the Humanities.

Satisfies General Education: Humanities C (Non-Applied Fine Arts) 

The Golden Legend: Saints, Art, and Community This class investigates concepts of community and identity, exploring how the cult of saints shape art, culture, and society from the Middle Ages to the present. Framing questions:  How do landmarks, monuments and culture heroes shape and reflect neighborhoods, cities, and institutions?   How do the names and identities of our local saints (St. Augustine, St. Vincent, St. Nicholas) shape the history and perception of the north Florida? By investigating the lives of the saints in art, architecture, religion, and society, we will attempt to interpret their importance to our own community.  This course should be of special interest to students interested in art and architecture, history, the Middle Ages, religion, and world culture.

Satisfies General Education: Science  

Extinction: Past, Present and Future
This seminar explores the past and future of extinction. Central questions: Is extinction a bad thing? What caused the five mass extinctions in Earth's past? Are humans causing a sixth mass extinction? This seminar should be of special interest to everyone on the planet, to those intending to major in the sciences or interested in environmental careers.


Did you ever wonder: Energy, Weather, Space, and Water This course will center on the particular interests of students enrolled in the course. This seminar should be of special interest to anyone who has an interest in science, the environment and societies' problems. Central questions: Where will America get its energy in the future? Can the St. Johns River be saved? What is lightning? Why are black holes black? This course is recommended for students who intend to major in science, engineering, and computing disciplines. Other students who are curious about the world about us such as business and education students should also have an interest. Curious students can come from any discipline area.

Satisfies General Education: Social Science (Part A) 

Is Revenge Sweet? The Psychology of Revenge & Forgiveness
This seminar explores the psychological, ethical, and practical issues that lead to and result from seeking either revenge or forgiveness. Central questions: why would people seek revenge over forgiveness? What practical and emotional factors influence the desire to seek revenge? What social and cultural factors influence revenge and forgiveness? Selected Readings include Michael McCullough's: Beyond Revenge -- The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct and Philip Zimbardo's The Lucifer Effect. This seminar should be of special interest to anyone who has even been angry, made others mad or expects to have a career working with people.


Red, White, and Black: Landmarks of the Early Multicultural History of Jacksonville
This seminar explores the early multicultural history of north Florida. Central questions: What is the relationship between the environment and culture? How are groups transformed by encounters with others? What is the value of historic restoration and preservation? Students will read McGrath, The French in Early Florida; in the Eye of the Hurricane and Landers, Black Society in Spanish Florida . This seminar should be of special interest to those who want to investigate history outside the classroom. Because Jacksonville, Florida is the site of two national historic landmarks listed on the National Register, the city provides the opportunity to utilize these local historic treasures to instruct on pivotal dimensions of the early American experience: that is, the encounters of various groups from three continents, America, Europe and Africa.


Media, Crime, and the Criminal Justice System
This course explores the impact of popular television, movies, music, magazines, and newspapers on individual behavior, attitudes, and perceptions about crime and the criminal justice system. Central Questions: Is public opinion about the criminal justice system shaped by the media? Does the media influence criminal justice policy? How do the realities of the criminal justice system differ from the portrayal in television, movies, music, and the news? This seminar should be of special interest to CSI fans and to students interested in careers in criminal justice, psychology, sociology, journalism or law.

Satisfies General Education:

Social Science (Part B: Cultural Diversity)  

Off the Page, Into the World: Reading, Writing, & Working for Social Justice
Central questions: What does it mean to have a social conscience? What is social justice, and how do we create it? This class asks that students begin to think critically about society and to approach it with a questioning mind; it encourages critical thinking and writing skills as it moves students to explore their own social conscience and make personal efforts toward social justice. Representative texts include Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs, and Ehrenreich's Nickle and Dimed. This seminar should be of special interest to anyone who has a passion for justice or who hopes to make a difference in the world. It is especially recommended for students interested in gender issues, law, corporate business, and public policy.


Through Colonial Eyes: Self and Other from Past to Present
This seminar explores the contributions of colonialism to experiences of self and "otherness," and its relevance in our globalized world. Central questions: How did both the colonial experience and anthropology shape modern or Western conceptions of "otherness"? What connections are there between contemporary globalization and colonialism? In what ways does the globalized world produce "hybrid" selves that are a creative mix of self and other? Selected texts include Mary Louise Pratt's Imperial Eyes and Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. This course will be of special interest to Anthropology, History, International Studies, and Philosophy students interested in the historical construction of self and identity, as well as to English and World Languages students interested in the role of language in shaping past and contemporary worlds.  

Elective Credit:
Satisfies the Gateway Requirement to the Leadership Certificate  

Effective Leadership
This seminar introduces students to leadership as an academic subject as well as a practical skill that will help them become confident citizens of the world. Central questions: What attributed define good leadership? How do effective leaders impact their communities? What are the challenges to wielding power? This seminar should be of special interest to students in any major who hope to improve the way the world works. This seminar is recommended for students who would like to build confidence in areas such as team building, interpersonal relationships, confidence, public speaking and ways to build cooperation/consensus. Anyone interested in joining clubs on campus or wishing to become more involved in class will benefit from the team dynamics and the focus on active student engagement.