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9/11 Seminars
Past Seminars


The School of Biological Sciences also offers freshman seminars during spring quarter. For more information, please visit

Please note that students may take a maximum of three University Studies freshman seminars so long as subjects vary.

Claire Trevor School of the Arts
I Am A Camera Stephen Barker Drama

1966: Rock Comes Of Age

David Brodbeck Music
Drawing for Absolute Beginners! Cliff Faulkner Drama
So, You Want To Be A Star? Donald Hill Drama
Art of Collaboration and Consensus Decision Making Lisa Naugle Dance
Paul Merage School of Business

Managerial Accounting

Christos Karunananthan Accounting
Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Photonics and Optics Communications

Chin Lee Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Technology, Children, and Poverty

David Reinkensmeyer Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
College of Health Sciences
Educating Instead of Medicating in Public Health Zuzana Bic Public Health

Evolution and Religion

Cal McLaughlin Biochemistry
Feces and Urine:  Health & Pollution Sharon Stern Public Health
The Changing Face of Beauty in the Age of Extreme Makeovers Brian Wong Biomedical Engineering
School of Humanities

Platonic Love

Ermanno Bencivenga Philosopy

Writing With Style

Rebeca Helfer English

Jewish Experience in Latin America

Jacobo Sefami Spanish
Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences
Protecting Yourself from Cyber-Attacks Ian Harris Computer Science
Puzzlers for Computer Scientists Dan Hirschberg

Computer Science

School of Law
The Supreme Court and the Civil Rights Movement

Erwin Chemerinsky &

Michael Drake

School of Physical Sciences

Deep Time

Gregory Benford Physics
The Sun, Ozone, and Melanoma Patrick Farmer Chemistry
Science under Totalitarian Regimes Meinhard Mayer Physics
School of Social Sciences

Cultures of Virtual Worlds

Tom Boellstorff Anthropology

Mind and Brain

Gregory Hickok Cognitive Sciences


I Am A Camera

Stephen Barker, Drama

Tu 1:00-1:50pm, Mesa Court Housing Complex, Community Center Classroom

Course Code 87551

Note: Professor Barker's seminar will be held in the Mesa Court Housing. Please be aware that your travel time will be greater than 10 minutes if you are coming from Central Campus. For a map of Mesa Court, please go to

How does our sense of "personal identity" result from the images (of all kinds) we experience in the world? In the course, we will explore the nature of this relationship, exploring how images (chiefly photographic, but also from other senses) precede our sense of ourselves.

Stephen Barker, Ph.D., teaches theory and criticism, among numerous other things, in the Drama department, the School of the Arts, and the Humanities. He has published widely on literary and aesthetic theory and philosophy, as well as on figures including Nietzsche, Freud, Beckett, Joyce, and Derrida.

1966: Rock Comes Of Age

David Brodbeck, Music

Tu 10:00-10:50am, MM 303

Course Code 87572

Note: Professor Brodbeck’s seminar will be held in the Music & Media Building which is building #726 on a campus map.

It can be argued that 1966 is the year in which rock and roll became Rock. With that in mind, this course explores several watershed recordings of the time--including albums by the Beatles (Revolver), the Beach Boys (Pet Sounds), the Byrds (Fifth Dimension), and Bob Dylan (Blonde on Blonde)--in terms of the turbulent social and historical context in which they were produced.

David Brodbeck is Chair and Professor of Music. He holds the Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has previously taught at the University of Southern California and the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests and publications center on Central European music of the 18th through early 20h centuries and Anglo-American popular music since the end of the Second World War. He recently taught a course in the history of rock and roll at UCI's summer program in Glion, Switzerland.

Drawing for Absolute Beginners!

Cliff Faulkner, Drama

M 10:30-11:30am., Mesa Court Housing Complex, Community Center Classroom

Course Code 87559

Note: Professor Faulkner's seminar will be held in the Mesa Court Housing. Please be aware that your travel time will be greater than 10 minutes if you are coming from Central Campus. For a map of Mesa Court, please go to

It's true.  ANYONE can learn to draw, including YOU!  Drawing is really just coordinating your hands and your eyes, and all it takes is practice.  Together we'll try a variety of drawing exercises to help you find the artist within.  You'll be amazed at what you accomplish!

Cliff Faulkner is an award-winning scene designer for the theater.  His other professional work includes illustration and art direction work for Disneyland, Universal Studios, and live special events.  Currently he is exploring non-invasive coaching as a means to bring out the artist in each of us.

So, You Want To Be A Star?

Donald Hill, Drama

Th 4:00-4:50pm, Mesa Court Housing Complex, Community Center Classroom

Course Code 87563

Explore you deepest dreams and goals. Create a life path for ultimate success. This is an exciting and highly interactive seminar in self discovery, confidence building and self empowerment. Define what kind of star you will be and how/where you will shine.

Don Hill is the Vice Chair and Head of Stage Management for Drama Department. He has worked professionally in theatre for over 30 years as a producer, director and stage manager.

Art of Collaboration and Consensus Decision Making

Lisa Naugle, Dance

Tu 2:00-2:50pm, MAB 317

Course Code 87569

A successful collaboration is a joint effort between two or more people, achieving a result that is greater than or at least different from working alone. Dance, theatre and new media performances require individuals to work collaboratively on small portions to achieve the larger accomplishment.  In this course, students will view performances on DVD and participate in small group assignments. Developing brainstorming, creative thinking, problem solving and consensus decision making processes, students will learn skills necessary for making significant contributions to teamwork.

Lisa Naugle is Professor and Chair in the Department of Dance. She holds a PhD and MFA from New YorkUniversity, Music and Performing Arts Professions. Her research explores the convergence of contemporary performance, improvisation and new media technologies. Her choreography has been performed in London, Amsterdam, Germany, Italy, France, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Budapest, Prague, Brazil, Spain, Colombia, Korea, China and Canada, as well as throughout the USA.


Managerial Accounting

Christos Karunananthan, Accounting

W 2:00-3:50pm, MPAA 120

Course Code 87565

Note: Professor Karunananthan’s seminar will meet Weeks 1-5 only.

Managerial Accounting is a discipline that involves developing and using financial and non-financial information to help managers in their planning, controlling, and decision-making activities in accomplishing the strategic objectives of their organizations.

Christo Karuna joined the faculty at the Paul Merage School of Business in July 2004 as an Assistant Professor in the Accounting Area. He currently teaches a first-year core MBA course, Managerial Accounting for Management, in the Executive MBA and Fully-Employed MBA programs. His research interests lie broadly in the areas of managerial incentives, executive compensation, and corporate governance.  Professor Karuna received his Ph.D. from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2004. He has worked in Australia for large international public accounting firms in their audit, corporate insolvency, and corporate finance divisions. He has also taught at leading universities in Australia and in the U.S.A.


Photonics and Optics Communications

Chin Lee, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

M 12:00-12:50pm, DBH 1422

Course Code 87566


How are photons (or optical waves) generated and detected? Are they particles or waves? What are electromagnetic (EM) waves? How are light beams reflected and refracted? How does a digital camera work? How to take better pictures? How do eye glasses work? How are photons used to carry and transport nearly unlimited amount of information in fiber optics communication networks?


Chin C. Lee received Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Director of the School-wide Materials and Manufacturing Technology graduate concentration. He has co-authored more than 200 research papers. Chin C. Lee is a fellow of IEEE (Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers, Inc.) and a member of Tau Beta Pi. He is recognized and listed as one of the 250 highly cited researchers in engineering category in the world on Thomson-ISI Citation Dada Base. He received the 2007 IEEE CPMT Society exceptional technical achievement award.

Technology, Children, and Poverty

David Reinkensmeyer, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

W 4:00-4:50pm, Middle Earth Housing Complex, Gandalf’s Classroom B

Course Code 87570


Note: Professor Reinkensmeyer's seminar will be held in Middle Earth Housing. Please be aware that your travel time will be greater than 10 minutes if you are coming from Mesa Court or the School of the Arts. For a map of Middle Earth, please go to


Simple technologies like insecticide-treated mosquito nets have helped decrease childhood mortality rates, but there are still 11 million child deaths per year, many preventable.   New programs like One Laptop Per Child aim to help children living in poverty by giving them computers with Internet access.  In this seminar, we will discuss the effects of technology on children, and try to identify new ways that technologies might benefit children.


David Reinkensmeyer is a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.  His research interests are in robotics and neuroscience, and he builds exoskeletons for helping re-train people how to move after stroke or spinal cord injury.


Educating Instead of Medicating in Public Health

Zuzana Bic, Public Health

M 6:00-6:50pm, Middle Earth Housing Complex, Gandalf’s Classroom B

Course Code 87554


Note: Professor Bic's seminar will be held in Middle Earth Housing. Please be aware that your travel time will be greater than 10 minutes if you are coming from Mesa Court or the School of the Arts. For a map of Middle Earth, please go to


The goal of the seminar is to learn how to think healthy and increase the level of health literacy. Students will enjoy reading and discussing health topics that address many issues in which they are interested in or are involved with. This seminar will transition students from passive, memorization-type learning, to an active, analytical and critical learning style with practical application for personal and public health.


Dr. Zuzana Bic has Doctorate degrees in both Public Health and Medicine. She is the author of the book No More Headaches, No More Migraines. Dr. Bic studies the impact and application of "lifestyle medicine" (nutrition, physical activity, stress management) on slowing the process of aging and developing of other chronic diseases (headaches, diabetes II, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia /chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, cancer, depression, drug abuse, and others.). She is also working to develop health literacy programs for the K-12 curriculum and for the general public and is an advisor for the Students' Public Health Association at UCI (see

Evolution and Religion

Cal McLaughlin, Biochemistry

Th 2:00-2:50pm, Medical Sciences 1 (Cheney Hall), Room D240

Course Code 87568

The publication of Charles Darwin's seminal book, "The Origin of Species" in 1859 ignited a religion versus science controversy that has persisted to this day. We will take both a historical and a conceptual point of view to try to understand why this controversy has been so durable, especially in America. We will read portions of Darwin's book so that we can understand what biologists and other scientists mean by evolution. We will examine the point of view of those who oppose the theory of evolution. We will read the creation story as presented in the first chapter of Genesis as well as other creation stories.

Cal McLaughlin is Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry in the Department of Biological Chemistry  at UCI.  He studied theology at YaleDivinitySchool as a Rockefeller Brothers Fellow.  He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from MIT.  He was involved in sequencing the first nucleic acid at MIT.  At the Institut de Biologie Physico-chimique, Paris, and CambridgeUniversity he help elucidate the genetic code and determine the direction of reading of mRNA.  As one of the founding faculty members in the School of Biology at UCI he studied cell division in a project with Lee Hartwell that was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 2001.

Feces and Urine:  Health & Pollution

Sharon Stern, Public Health

Tu 9:00-9:50am, SSL 206

Course Code 87574

Enhance your scatological knowledge.  Toilet humor is the rage in movies now, so here is an opportunity to learn everything you ever wanted to know about urine and feces, as well as about pollution, flatulence, quantities released, wastewater treatment, and more.   Amaze your friends at parties with your depth of knowledge about this indelicate topic!  Students will learn about its human and environmental health impacts.

Sharon Stern earned a PhD in biology and has taught in the Department of Environmental Health, Science, and Policy in Social Ecology for the last 17 years before moving to Public Health.  She enjoys teaching and students, and has won many teaching awards at UCI.

The Changing Face of Beauty in the Age of Extreme Makeovers

Brian Wong, Biomedical Engineering

Tu 4-4:50pm, Beckman Laser Institute Room A120

Course Code 87575

Note: The Beckman Laser Institute is Building #817 on a campus map.

Marketing, multiculturalism, and the explosion of reality TV programming have expanded the definitions of facial beauty and eroded traditional biases toward cosmetic facial surgery.  The focus of this course will to discuss facial beauty from both contemporary and classical sources and examine how some standards have changed while others have remained constant.  Discussions will be from the perspective of art, science, and surgery.

Dr. Wong is a facial platic surgeon in the Department of Otolarngology-Head and Neck Surgery and also a Biomedical Engineer based at the Beckman Laser Institute.  His research is focused thermoviscoelasticity in tissue, optical imaging, shape change technologies, and wound healing, and is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and the State of California.  His practice is focused on corrective and aesthetic nasal surgery.


Platonic Love

Ermanno Bencivenga, Philosopy

Th 1:00-1:50pm, HOB2 233

Course Code 87552


A reading of Plato's Symposium, a dialogue in which various characters debate various theories of love.


Professor Bencivenga has been at UCI since 1979. He is the author of 32 books and over 70 scholarly articles. He is the winner of five teaching awards and is the founding editor of an international philosophy journal and of a book series.


Writing With Style

Rebeca Helfer, English

Th 4:00-4:50pm, TBA

Course Code 87561


Don’t be afraid!  This isn’t a class about your writing but rather about other people’s writing and what makes it good.  Each week I’ll bring a short piece of writing to class (excerpts will be drawn from fiction and non-fiction writing) and we will explore what makes this writing effective and engaging, powerful and persuasive (or, perhaps, none of these things for you...)  There are no graded writing assignments in this class; your grade will be based only on your attendance and participation.  Nevertheless, expect that your writing may improve anyway.


Rebeca Helfer is a professor of Renaissance literature in the English department.


Jewish Experience in Latin America

Jacobo Sefami, Spanish

Tu 12:00-12:50pm, DBH 1422

Course Code 87571


This course presents a different view of Latin America. It reviews the presence of Jews in the region since the 17th century, and studies different forms of self-representation, including short stories, poetry, documentary, film, and excerpts from the Internet. We will review various topics, such as migration, identity, Anti-Semitism, otherness, Kabbalah. No prior knowledge of Judaism or Latin America is necessary.


Jacobo Sefamí is the grandson of Jewish immigrants from Turkey and Syria to Mexico. He has published books, articles, interviews, notes, and book reviews on Latin American poetry. He is also the author of LOS DOLIENTES, a novel about mourning in the context of the Syrian Jewish community in Mexico City.


Protecting Yourself from Cyber-Attacks

Ian Harris, Computer Science

Tu 12:00-12:50pm, DBH 1422

Course Code 87573


The goal of this seminar is to teach regular computer users how to protect their computers and data from attacks by computer hackers. With a little bit of knowledge about the nature of computer attacks, you can confound the vast majority of attackers without too much effort. We will introduce the most common attacks and describe how to recognize them and defend against them. Topics to be covered include the following:

* Identity Theft and Phishing - How these attacks are executed

* Malicious Software - Viruses, Worms and SpyWare

* Anti-virus programs - How to use them and how they work

* Firewalls - What do they do and how to set them up

* Botnets and Rootkits- How to tell if your machine is "owned"


Ian G. Harris is currently an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department. He received his BS degree in Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1990. He received his MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science from the University of California San Diego in 1992 and 1997 respectively. His research interests involve the security and testing of hardware and software systems. His current research projects include security testing, embedded software, and hardware/software validation.


Puzzlers for Computer Scientists

Dan Hirschberg, Computer Science

M 11:00-11:50am, DBH 1422

Course Code 87564


This seminar will explore problem solving and critical thinking through the study of puzzlers and brain teasers, focusing on problems related to computer science.  Problem solutions will need only high school mathematics and logic.


Dan Hirschberg received his PhD from Princeton University.  He was a member of the faculty at Rice University before coming to UC Irvine. He holds a joint faculty appointment in the departments of Computer Science and EECS.  His research expertise is in the area of design and analysis of efficient algorithms.


The Supreme Court and the Civil Rights Movement

Erwin Chemerinsky, Founding Dean, UCISchool of Law

Michael Drake, UCI Chancellor

Tu 4:00-4:50pm, Aldrich Hall 501

Course Code 87576

Note: This seminar is for Campuswide Honors Students only.

Between 1954 and 1974, laws that required segregation of the races were eliminated and the first major federal civil rights legislation since the Civil War was adopted.  This course will examine what happened and why. It will begin with a look back and end with a look forward, but most of the class will be spent examining the range or dramatic events from simple acts of protest to widespread civic unrest and major Supreme Court Decisions, that led to the triumphs and tragedies over two decades.

Erwin Chemerinsky earned his J.D. from HarvardLawSchool. He has held faculty appointments at DukeLawSchool, Gould School of Law at USC and DePaul College of Law. His expertise is in constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, and appellate litigation.

Michael Drake is Chancellor of UCI. He arrived at UCI in the fall of 2005 from his position as Vice President for Health Sciences at the UC Office of the President.


Deep Time

Gregory Benford, Physics

Th 1:00-1:50pm, FRH 4135

Course Code 87553


We seldom think of time as a tool. Yet thinking in deep time scales can serve to solve, or at least frame, some grave current dilemmas. We shall explore how humanity has tried to leave messages and monuments for very long time scales.


Gregory Benford is a working scientist, a professor of physics at the UC Irvine since 1971. He specializes in astrophysics and plasma physics theory and was presented with the Lord Prize in 1995 for achievements in the sciences. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and Phi Beta Kappa. Over the years, he has been an advisor to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United Sates Department of Energy, and the White House Council on Space Policy. Currently he holds research grants from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His first book-length work of non-fiction, Deep Time (1999), examines his work in long duration messages from a broad humanistic and scientific perspective.


The Sun, Ozone, and Melanoma

Patrick Farmer, Chemistry

M 2:00-2:50pm, RH 188

Course Code 87558


This seminar will include discussions and/or readings on the unique cell biology of pigmentation, photochemistry and oxidative damage to cells, DNA mutations and carcinogenesis, health care and cancer research. Much of the general content will be from his own research presentations.


Pat Farmer is Professor of Chemistry. His research focuses on the active sites of enzyme catalysts and how small changes in them may affect on their reactivity. He is also interested in melanin, the black pigment in hair and skin and is exploring their unique chemistry as a means of targeting melanoma, a cancer of the cells that make melanin.


Science under Totalitarian Regimes

Meinhard Mayer, Physics

W 5:00 -5:50pm, DBH 1420

Course Code 87567


Based partly on personal experiences under Fascist and Communist regimes, we will study how totalitarian ideologies (and fundamentalist theocracies) have tried to suppress scientific theories (such as relativity, quantum mechanics, genetics, evolutionary biology. In the process we  will learn some relativity and quantum mechanics.


Meinhard Mayer has lived under fascist regimes in the 1930s and 1940s, and under communist regimes from 1944-1961.  He personally felt political pressures on the interpretation of physics under Stalin.  He received his PhD in Romania, and was a postdoctoral researcher in poststalinist USSR.  For more details, see his website


Cultures of Virtual Worlds

Tom Boellstorff, Anthropology

Th 11:00-11:50am, SSPB 4250

Course Code 87555

From World of Warcraft to Second Life, virtual worlds (places of human culture created online) have become an important and rapidly changing new mode of social interaction. What are virtual worlds? What are their commonalities and differences? What do they teach us about the relationship between technology and society? How will they alter everything from identity to economics in the future?

Tom Boellstorff is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UC Irvine, and Editor-in-Chief of American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. He is the author of three books, the most recent of which, Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human (Princeton University Press, 2008), is one of the first full-length anthropological studies of a virtual world.


Mind and Brain

Gregory Hickok, Cognitive Sciences

W 9:00-9:50am, DBH 1422

Course Code 87562

Explores the relation between the mind and brain through the window of neurological disorders. Topics include disorders of memory, language, and social/personality behaviors, as well as a range of diseases and conditions affecting everything from movement control to face recognition.

Gregory Hickok is a  professor of cognitive sciences and director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from UC Irvine, his Ph.D. in Psychology from Bradeis University, and held postdoctoral positions at MIT and The Salk Institute. He has been a faculty member at UCI since 1996.
Freshman Seminar Program
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