For the spring 2017 semester, freshman at the College of Charleston had the opportunity to choose from three dozen unique courses as part of the College’s First Year Experience Program (FYE).

Engaging courses such as “Understanding War,” “Shakespeare on the Screen,” and “Crosscultural Communication in Latin America” are designed not only to enlighten students, but to help them make the transition from high school to college.

King Street

“The FYE program gives new students the opportunity to work closely with our teaching faculty in a small course setting,” explains FYE director Chris Korey. “That’s unusual at most universities. It’s also designed to introduce them to a possible field of study while helping them to garner the skills they’ll need to succeed throughout their academic careers.”

The FYE program offers both seminar-style courses and learning-community courses. The latter consist of two separate courses conjoined and taught by two professors. Here are just a few examples of the FYE courses offered for spring semester 2017:

The Wonderful World of Real Estate According to King Street – Taught by a finance professor, this course introduces students to the multi-faceted nature of the real estate industry. Charleston’s King Street forms a case study for the class, which will explore various areas of real estate, including office, retail, restaurant, industrial, residential, hospitality and public spaces. Students will spend time in the field to experience the marketplace and local real estate professionals will make presentations in the classroom. The course will offer students a firsthand look at the variety of real estate located in an urban environment and the professionals will expose students to the many different career paths that are intimately involved with this discipline, including business, law, historic preservation, public policy, politics, urban studies, environmental sciences and arts management.

Stories of Brazilian Carnival – With insights from the director of the College’s Portuguese Program, students will come to understand how integral Brazilian carnival is to life in the largest country in Latin America. They will study the frenetic exuberance and merriment that characterizes carnival. But they’ll also learn that carnival is not all glitz and glamour. Many Brazilian authors have explored its different facets and this course will examine what stories Brazilians tell about carnival through relevant poetry, short stories and musical lyrics. Ultimately, the course will focus on the social and cultural ramifications of this national celebration.

Where is Religion? – Taught by a professor from the Jewish Studies Program, this course will analyze the many places within American religious history, from churches to prisons, mosques to mikvehs, where religion holds sway. The students will examine particular controversies – involving Judaism and other religious traditions – in order to understand how diverse religious spaces have been shaped by political conflict and how space has been significant to discussions of religion in American public life.

Out of the Lab and Into the World: Science, Media and Society – This course, taught by the chair of the Department of Psychology, will emphasize how science is central to many of the big issues that society grapples with, including climate change, environmental regulation, healthcare and even what’s in schoolchildren’s textbooks. Students will consider the factors influencing the widespread decline in scientific literacy and the increase in skepticism about the value of science in making informed decisions. They’ll also explore a range of issues and consider what happens when science enters the public sphere. That will lead them to an examination of the ethical, social, and political issues raised by media coverage of science.

Another Brick in the Wall: Exploring the Representation of Education in Pop Culture – Films, television programs, music CDSs and videos, video games, etc., are “public pedagogies” that play a powerful role in mobilizing meaning, pleasures and identifications, especially for young learners. A teacher education professor will help students explore and analyze how education is represented in popular culture to better understand the role that these media play in defining education for contemporary society.

Theatre’s Visual Language – The chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance will instruct students on how images communicate ideas as strongly as words. Students in this course will come to understand that watching plays, movies, TV productions or even just walking down the street can have a visual impact through the colors, lines and style that we all see. Visual communication is a crucial element in the collaborative process of creating theatre. This seminar will explore and analyze the way theatre design teams communicate visually and verbally in the process of developing a production. Consequently, students will see plays, meet designers and directors and collaborate with each other to understand the communicative power of images.

RELATED: Visit the FYE website for a full list of FYE courses being offered this spring.