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First-Year Liberal Arts Seminar

First-Year Liberal Arts Seminar

A liberal arts and sciences education means you’ll study a lot of different areas in addition to your major. You’ll learn both theory and practice. You’ll enhance critical reading and thinking skills. You’ll develop creative leadership skills needed for our complex world.  The bottom line: your education will apply directly to life.  So, how do we prepare you for this academic experience? Through the First-year Liberal Arts Seminar or LAR 101 Inquiry Seminar:  Learning the Art of Inquiry.   Check out the video to hear from our professors, students, and staff to learn more about LAR 101!


Components of LAR 101:

  • Choose from over 15 different topics when you register for your section of LAR 101.  
  • Your LAR class serves as your orientation group when you arrive to campus in the fall
  • LAR 101 Instructor also serves as your advisor
  • Each section has an upperclassman peer assistant to give helpful tips and advice inside the classroom and out.
  • Common Book to be read by all first-year students during the first 3 weeks across all sections.
  • Hands-on instruction in a supportive environment to develop intellectual skills
  • Development of “soft skills” (self-awareness, empathy, resilience, etc.)
  • Separate Lab Sessions to help your transition to Doane


2017 Common Book:  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley



Summer Reading Program

  1. What do you know about the Frankenstein story?
  2. What are some of the images and themes of the story in popular culture?
  3. In a paragraph, define what it means to be a human being.
  4. Frankenstein is a monster in the 19th century.  Who are the monsters in today’s world?  How are these monsters created?  What affect do they have on us?

  5. Read Mary Shelley's  introduction from the 1831 edition (pp. 165-169 in your book). How did the story originate? How does the tone of her introduction reflect the different phases in Shelley's life? What does the 1831 introduction suggest about the relationship between the artist and the work of art? How is the novel a "hideous progeny"?

  6. Click on this link and watch the first 15 minutes of the documentary In Search of the Real Frankenstein.  You will be directed to a screen that will ask you for your Doane login and password.

  7. Which of the themes or concepts that were mentioned in the video do you find interesting and why?
  8. Mary Shelley's parents were very famous thinkers and writers. They were extreme radicals of their time. For an overview if their contributions and reputations, do a quick search of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. What values set them apart from most people of their day, and how might those views have influenced Frankenstein?
  9. What are your views on cloning, trans-humanism, artificial intelligence?
  10. Mary Shelley gave Frankenstein the subtitle of Or, the Modern Prometheus. In Greek mythology, Prometheus created mortal humans and later provided them with the gifts of knowledge and fire. Following a scheme that involved tricking Zeus, Zeus took fire away from the mortals. Prometheus defied Zeus by stealing fire and returning it to humans. He was ultimately given a torturous punishment. Based on what you have learned about Frankenstein, what is the connection to the Prometheus myth? Why did Mary Shelley include the reference in her subtitle? Possible concepts to consider could include creation, scientific knowledge and religion.


Background Video for Frankenstein:

  1. Click on the following link.
  2. Type in your doane username (it's your doane email address WITHOUT the  Usually this is follows the format:  firstname.lastname
  3. Type in your password (same as your email)
  4. Watch the first 15 minutes of the video!



Fall 2017 LAR 101 courses offered





Finding Signal Through the Noise

Evaluate how statistics is use, how interpretations are drawn, and the limitations of those interpretations.

Mr. Billy Garver (Mathematics)



Read memoirs and novels that explore issues of identity and political oppression in Iran, China, Russia, Argentina, and South Africa

Dr. Kim Jarvis  (History)

Taking a Stance!

Critique and create persuasive arguments orally and in writing on controversial social issues such as immigration, same-sex marriage, and the death penalty.

Mr. J.L. Vertin  (Mathematics)

Journeys of Becoming

Examine the factors that shape the way you perceive yourself and the world around you including travel, education and leaving your home country for new opportunities.

Dr. Kristen Hetrick  (Modern Language)

The American Experience(s)

Analyze and discuss what it means to have an American experience and how it differs in regard to race, gender, class and other factors.

Dr. Joshua Pope  (Modern Language)

The Power of Stories

Consider the role of stories in our lives and why we tell them by analyzing various components of narrative.

Dr. Kathleen Hanggi  (English)

Ethics and the Human Body

Examine diverse ethical issues related to the human body including body modification (tattooing, piercing), pandemics, organ transplant lists, and artificial body parts.

Dr. Bradley Johnson  (English)

The Trials of Galileo

Participate in a “Reacting to the Past” role-playing game by delving into historical texts, making speeches and debating controversial issues while in character

Dr. Mark Meysenburg     (Information Science & Technology)

A Human Rights Journey: From Inquiry to Awareness

Enhance and apply your ability to engage in ethical reasoning to articulate an understanding of truth, ethics, and social consciousness as they relate to human right issues.

Dr. Alec Engebretson      (Information Science & Technology)

History of Film:  Silent Era to the 1940’s

Examine important technological, economic, aesthetic, and social milestones in both American and international cinema starting from the silent era to the 1940’s.

Mr. David Sutera  (Communications)


Examine three epic stories (Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, and Beowulf) in order to discover how ancient and medieval western cultures answered enduring questions on how humans view heroism.

Dr. Dan Clanton  (Religious Studies)


Explore different places around the world through travel memoirs, creative non-fiction travel writing and through a variety of international films and documentaries.

Dr. Nathan Erickson  (Sociology)


Science and Society

Explore what it means to pursue scientific discovery and the process through which findings are considered by citizens, evaluated for decision-making, and translated into policies.

Dr. Kate Marley  (Biology)

Shhh!  The Power of Silence

Identify uses of silence and seek to understand and appreciate how silence is as powerful as speech—if only we can listen for it.

Ms. Caitie Leibman (Writing Center)

What in the World?!?!

Examine questions to help us better understand the world we live in.

Ms. Becky Hunke(Academic Affairs)


Soundtracks:  Enhancing the Story Through Music

Explore how music may be interpreted differently based on our own experiences, backgrounds, and preferences. Dr. Danni Gilbert (Music)