Spring 2023 First Year Seminar

FSEM 100-17 (CRN 8401) An Indroduction to the Wild, Wonderful and Wacky World of Opera

Originating at the dawn of the seventeenth century in late Renaissance Italy, opera is alive and well today- as entertainment, as drama through music, as social and political commentary, as a celebration of historical events, as a psychological examination of humanity- in short, as a mirror of society. This course is designed for the opera novice: any student interested in the art form of opera and wishing to learn about the myriad elements that combine to produce this fascinating and complex combination of music, theater and visual art. Topics for classes include learning about voice types, operatic roles and the production elements involved in the art form, such as staging, conducting, set construction, costuming and theater design, with particular emphasis on opera's connection to and impact on society and culture. Students will meet featured guests from the professional opera world. No musicianship skills such as singing or reading music are required.

No musical training is required to fully participate in course activities. The course is open to non-music majors only.

Your Professor

Thomas Gilmore Masse has enjoyed a distinguished career as a clarinet soloist, chamber artist, and orchestral musician as well as serving in academic leadership positions at Yale and Stetson Universities. He has taught at Stetson, University of Northern Colorado, Yale, and the University of Michigan. His former students are performing in some of the world's most prestigious symphony orchestras and at universities around the world. Mr. Masse is a strong advocate for the arts in education and society.

FSEM 100-18 (CRN 8414) Advancing Human Rights and Social Justice - Art of Activism

This course introduces human rights and social justice theoretical frameworks and issues from global perspectives, as well as interdisciplinary opportunities to explore art as activism. Specific topics including race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, language and education will be examined. The course encourages reflective practice, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity through community engagement art projects focusing on the intersectionality of social justice issues. Writing as an inquiry-oriented and developmental process will be emphasized, along with oral communication with attention to applied critical thinking.

Your Professor

Rajni Shankar-Brown is an associate professor and the Jessie Ball duPont chair of social justice education. She is also the director of Graduate Education Programs, co-coordinator of the MEd program and a member of the Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational Reform. She is a passionate teacher-scholar and internationally known expert on poverty and homelessness. As a dedicated educational leader, she has facilitated workshops for thousands of educators and presented around the globe. She has published in leading journals and received numerous awards for her innovative leadership and ongoing community engagement. Prior to her work at Stetson University, Shankar-Brown served as a language arts teacher in high poverty schools in the United States and overseas, a literacy facilitator and the middle-level education graduate program coordinator at UNC Wilmington. Shankar-Brown had the honor of receiving Stetson University's 2014 Hand Community Impact Award and UNC Wilmington's 2013 Inclusive Excellence Award for her teaching, service and scholarship efforts towards social equity, diversity and inclusion. She is actively involved with several professional education organizations at the international, national, state and local levels. She is the founder and executive director of the Poverty and Homelessness Conference (PHC). She is also the current president of the AAUP Stetson Faculty United and the Past-President of the North Carolina Professors of Middle-Level Education organization. Through her research, scholarship and service, Shankar-Brown is committed to transforming education and positively impacting the lives of marginalized students, particularly children experiencing poverty and homelessness in the United States. As a distinguished teacher-scholar and educational leader, her work is focused on transformative education, equity and social justice, culturally relevant pedagogy, diversity and inclusion, arts integration, and multi-literacies. In addition to being a teacher-scholar, Shankar-Brown is a devoted mother, accomplished multi-media artist and a dedicated social activist.