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This is the second of five weekly articles explaining First Year Seminar to incoming students so they can rank their top four Term I FYS course choices by June 30.

This week’s Welcome Wednesday outlines three of the twelve First Year Seminar course options for Term I (Fall 2024). These courses are ideal if you are interested in art and film and want to understand how they help us understand the challenges and complexities of the world.

No matter which course you choose, these three courses will help you find your own voice and inspire you to find new ways to express yourself. Be sure to select your FYS courses before the end of June by completing the course selection form on your admissions portal. Questions? Reach out to the Admissions Office at (607) 735-1724 or

Animating the World of Myth (Honors Section)

Welcome Wednesdays: How Art and Film Helps Us Understand The World

Available to students in the EC Honors Program, this course is taught by Aaron Kather, Assistant Professor of Fine Art, and explores and compares the traditional stories of cultures from around the world as they are retold by modern storytellers and artists. The course will pay particular attention to foreign films, animations, paintings, sculptures, and other modes of artistic interpretation.

"Stories and creativity are core aspects of being human no matter who you are or where you are from," said Aaron Kather. "Myths and folklore persist because they ask the big questions of who we are, where we come from, how we should live, and what it all means. By exploring modern retellings of these old stories, we can talk about contemporary issues and timeless issues in the same breath."

Lights, Camera, Re-Action!

Welcome Wednesdays: How Art and Film Helps Us Understand The World

Are you a film lover? Love talking about movies with friends? In Media Artist Jan Kather's FYS course, you will view films, television episodes, and music videos to analyze choices made by filmmakers and collaborate to make creative videos using your own smartphone technology. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to demonstrate that writing and producing a movie critique means more than offering a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down opinion.

“Film is powerful,” said Kather. “I am always amazed to think that a sequence of still images projected at 24 frames a second can conjure an animated scene that makes us laugh out loud, gasp, or shed a tear. How does that magic happen with such a simple mechanical idea? Our class discussions will begin by examining the little flipbooks that appear to animate still images and move quickly to techniques developed by filmmakers over time, from silent film to ‘talkies,’ from black and white to color, from hand-drawn animation to CGI. This will inform our ‘reading’ of film, where we will identify not only what elements are used to capture our attention, but how films can instruct us, or mirror and comment on the world of the past or the world we live in now.”

Art Design and The Environment

Welcome Wednesdays: How Art and Film Helps Us Understand The World

Led by Derek Chalfant, Professor of Art, this course explores how environmental issues connect to the social, political, cultural, and economic systems that impact the future of the planet and those that call it home. You’ll learn how your own work as an artist or designer can comment on, interact with, and impact the world. You’ll develop collaborative and creative individual projects that respond to environmental sustainability and related social issues.

"Never before have ecological and environmental issues been more pressing and creative solutions needed," said Chalfant. "We will explore artistic responses to environmental sustainability and related social issues, looking at artists, designers, and architects that work across disciplines and within communities to focus attention on the web of interrelationships in our environment, including the physical, biological, cultural, political, and historical aspects of ecological systems."

"Students will understand how their own work as an individual, an artist, or a designer can comment on, interact with, and impact the world," said Chalfant.

Next week’s Welcome Wednesdays article will highlight three courses exploring ways to positively interact with the world: Toward a More Just World, Imaginary Cities, and Election Season.

Previous Welcome Wednesday Articles:

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