Inquiry Seminars

Inquiry seminars are designed exclusively for first-year students. These courses help you transition to college by guiding you through the ways in which college-educated people ask questions, gather information to address the questions, and then share with other people what they've learned. Inquiry seminars are small, no more than 25 students per section, and you'll work with your classmates to explore and find answers to important questions in an academic discipline. Your professor will work with you on both the topic and the best techniques for learning. Incoming freshmen at Clarion choose their top three choices for an inquiry seminar and are placed according to their preferences. Incoming freshmen should log into their D2L to complete their Inquiry Seminar placement module.

The following INQ 100 courses will be offered during the Fall 2020. Below each title there is a brief description of the course.  Course information can also be viewed on this flyer.

What's your story?  MWF 10:00 and 11:00

We are the “storytelling animal.” Imagine the number of hours each day we spend telling or listening to stories, whether by daydreaming, watching television, playing video games, creating our social media profiles, or imagining our futures. Even our lives are stories we tell ourselves in which we are the main character. In this course, you will select the stories (movies, novels, songs, etc.) that we will examine. Through inquiry and research, we will learn what it means to be a “storytelling animal” and what the stories we love tell us about ourselves.

What can film teach us? TR 12:30 and 2:00

What can film teach us about race? In the age of media saturation, political polarization, and institutional dysfunction, this inquiry seminar will employ film to shed light on pervasive myths, political realities and our shared (and divergent) experiences. Film will foster reflection on what unites and divides us, using revelations emanating from critical analysis of film to examine some of the seminal issues impacting the socio-political landscape of the United States and, in the process, assist students in making sense of what they believe and why. They will evaluate, critique and respond to survey data and current event articles that will provide vital context and a factual basis for considering the issues examined. The seminar-style format emphasizes student engagement and learning through collaboration, with a focus on both individual reflection and small group discussion and projects. 

What's law got to do with it? TR 2:00

This course is an exploration into the nature of law. What are the various types of law? What are the impacts and weights of the various types of law? A wide range of what law means will be examined, from what is commonly understood as law to less recognized forms such as cultural constraints of human behavior. Through research, writings and presentations, students will gain insight as to how their lives are guided and influenced by all of the various types and facts of law. Students will be actively learning through collaboration, discussions and presentations.

Where in the world will I find myself? MW 12:30 and 2:00

This freshman Inquiry Seminar course focuses on critical thinking, inquiry, discussion, and writing as a means to investigate these questions: where can I travel on my journey of self-discovery? How would I plan for such a trip and negotiate the logistics of travel and daily living? And, once I have reached my destination, how do I communicate with others and behave in culturally appropriate ways? In this seminar, you will explore what it is like to live in another culture as you consider travel or study abroad. Through research, you will develop an awareness of how people live in other parts of the world and how this compares to your own culture and way of life.

Pandemic! TR 11:00

In an era of modern travel, the spread of a contagious viral or bacterial agent across the globe is a real threat. Whether it is the coronavirus that has jumped species, an outbreak of Ebola, or a weaponized form of anthrax, these agents must be identified, contained, and neutralized. This course is designed to introduce students to the various roles of public health: Scientists and epidemiologists, health care workers and government agencies that handle policy and management. Students will work cooperatively to research various realworld pandemic scenarios using scientific literature and historical records. Students will design questions about current or historical outbreaks and use critical analysis to gain a better understanding of pandemics!

How to Lie with Numbers MWF 9:00

Do you ever feel like “1 in a million” chances are occurring almost every day? Are you impressed when something is “110%” better? Have you ever bought something because it was at the top of a chart? If so, you may be a victim of innumeracy – a serious problem that affects 8 out of every 5 people! In this course you will work with others to expose the depths to which the world of innumeracy reaches. Then your team will strive to measure the effects it has had on our society and consider ways to help prevent its influence from growing.

What is where and why? TR 9:30 and 12:30

Where should we place a new store? Why should it (or not) be placed there? Decisions such as choosing the best location for a new retail store could involve multiple demographic and economic data. In this class we will learn how to use maps to answer similar questions. We will use online mapping tools to help answer crucial questions such as, “Where are the prospective customers? What is their travel time to the suggested location(s)? Where is the potential competition located? What is the customer base average income? Age group? And how do all of those factors play a role in analyzing the market in order to properly locate a successful business or public services?

Rules:  Who needs them?  TR 9:30 and 3:30

Did you know that rules, literally and figuratively, influence your day-to-day behavior? They do! Why do we follow some rules, ignore others and become upset when others behave the same way? In this course, you will examine cultural norms or the rules of behavior present in each country and culture. Some cultures are tight or strict and others as loose or lax in the enforcement of certain norms. We will examine the broad question of why we need rules and what purpose rules serve in our lives. You will work in small groups to investigate the meaning of certain rules or behaviors such as why bugs are considered food in some countries and not others and why it is, or is not, essential to be early for meetings. We will investigate rules as a way to better understand cultural norms. 

What's Right with Being Wrong? TR 8:00 and 9:30 

Did you pick the right smartphone? Is your significant other “the one” for you? Did you pick the right college, the right roommate or even the right shoes? Most of us go through life assuming we are right about nearly everything and are hesitant to admit when we are uncertain or have made a mistake, but why? Why does it feel so good to be right and so bad to be wrong? This course examines a culture of “rightness” in America that affects our education, our values, our purchasing decisions and even our relationships. We will question the potential role and value of mistakes and consider why we would want to make more room in our lives for error.

What responsibility do we have to others?  MWF 1:00

This course focuses on empathy and working to see the world from other people’s perspectives by sharing and valuing others’ experiences and stories. We will consider our responsibilities to family members, friends, peers, strangers and our communities. We will discuss, research and consider how our views are shaped and constructed through experience. We will examine how our experiences affect how we understand and interact with others and we will reflect on what this means for both our personal and professional lives. We will also consider the limits of empathy and responsibilities. You will have the opportunity to explore the issues of the course that you find most relevant and interesting in a final research project.

Last Updated 5/5/20