Our Navigating classes equip all students with the agency and resources to succeed in the collegiate environment. You’ll take one Navigating course in the fall and one in the spring.

The First Year Inquiry (FYI) classes focus on experiential learning and sparking your curiosity and academic passion. Each FYI course offers a variety of sections, meaning you can take the FYI courses (one in the fall and one in the spring) that look most interesting to you. Enrolled first-year students will be contacted with more information about course registration.

Fall Semester

  • COR 101 | Navigating Higher Education

    Why go to college? What does it mean to be educated? In this course, you’ll begin to answer these questions. We’ll explore the academic expectations of higher education, college as a diverse community, and the significance of education around the world. By examining how these issues are negotiated and implemented at Champlain and elsewhere, you’ll gain perspective on your own education and a deeper understanding of the ways that the college experience can be both liberating and transformative.

  • COR 102 | First Year Inquiry (FYI): Reading, Writing, and ____

    Inquiry is about learning how to ask the right kinds of questions, and figuring out how to answer those questions through discussion and reflection. This course introduces you to the types of inquiry necessary to succeed at Champlain and beyond. You will explore the intersections of reading, writing, and thinking by focusing on a specific topic or theme. You will approach that focus through the interrogation of relevant texts and analysis that draws upon multiple analytical frameworks.

  • Kelly Bowen

    Is banning books a violation of freedom of speech? Across the United States the practice of banning books is, once again, headline news. What factors are driving the recent hysteria? From small local school boards to state legislatures, the opposition voices are loud as they call for the removal of “controversial” books from public spaces. In 2021-2022 an estimated 1,600 titles were removed from the shelves and educators, in fear of repercussions, removed books from their classrooms. In COR 102 Reading, Writing, and Banned Books, we will examine: how students and critical thinking are impacted, what social constructs foster censorship, and how book banning affects society. In our critical reading and writing, we will explore why works with themes of race, racism, gender, sexuality, LGBTQ+, and memoir might become targets of a moral minority. We will evaluate how this practice creates disinformation and further marginalizes underrepresented communities.

  • Erik Esckilsen

    Would you call an ordinary snow shovel leaning in an art gallery a work of art? Artist Marcel Duchamp made that claim in 1915 with Prelude to a Broken Arm. The seemingly silly display, however, also leveled a critique of the art world and of the broader cultural forces responsible for World War I (underway at the time). Neither the world nor the art would ever be the same. Students in FYI: Reading, Writing, & Revolutionary Art Movements will encounter the work of Duchamp and other artists across a wide span of art history-from neoclassical painters to Japanese anime creators-to examine how art has shaped, and has been shaped by, its cultural contexts. Students will analyze art through multiple critical perspectives to gain a deep understanding of how art illuminates the challenges, joys, and wonders of the human experience.

  • Erik Esckilsen

    Would you call an ordinary snow shovel leaning in an art gallery a work of art? Artist Marcel Duchamp made that claim in 1915 with Prelude to a Broken Arm. The seemingly silly display, however, also leveled a critique of the art world and of the broader cultural forces responsible for World War I (underway at the time). Neither the world nor the art would ever be the same. Students in FYI: Reading, Writing, & Revolutionary Art Movements will encounter the work of Duchamp and other artists across a wide span of art history-from neoclassical painters to Japanese anime creators-to examine how art has shaped, and has been shaped by, its cultural contexts. Students will analyze art through multiple critical perspectives to gain a deep understanding of how art illuminates the challenges, joys, and wonders of the human experience.

  • Miriam Horne

    From movies to games to books and beyond, Zombies excite contemporary thinking because of their ability to stand in for angst around the environment, distrust of authority, and fear of economic turmoil, to name a few. In this class, we will examine the development of the gurgling revenant through history, psychology, literature, and even a little math as we seek to understand the power of this mythological being in society.

  • Miriam Horne

    From movies to games to books and beyond, Zombies excite contemporary thinking because of their ability to stand in for angst around the environment, distrust of authority, and fear of economic turmoil, to name a few. In this class, we will examine the development of the gurgling revenant through history, psychology, literature, and even a little math as we seek to understand the power of this mythological being in society.

  • Erik Kaarla

    This section of 102 (Reading, Writing and Musicology) will tap into the human passion of wanting to understand music, wanting to make music, and wanting to define music better. Whether you play an instrument or not – this course is for you! We all very much identify with particular genres of music, particular artists, and perhaps particular instruments – why is this? In this section, students will learn how to write about music and genres of music and also learn about the process of creative songwriting. Welcome to the world of musical creativity! Some of the questions to be explored in this section: How do we talk about music and how do we talk about culture? How do we talk about these two different structures at the same time? In addition to pondering these questions, we will explore musicology and other helpful theoretical frameworks for learning about music and music makers. The methods for studying music are limitless! What are some typical musical abilities and how can they be developed or enhanced? What are some basic connections between particular neurology and musical ability?

  • David Kite

    What do you want from life? Is real happiness possible? How do we find it both as individuals and within community? Centering on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, this course will take a deep dive into the most important question using fresh ideas from contemporary philosophy, psychology and evolutionary biology. You will take up big questions about ethics and personal character, justice, intellectual and experiential growth, friendship and pleasure as you develop your own ideas about what makes for a good life.

  • TBA

  • Frank Robinson

    From Critical Race Theory to the death of George Floyd, from arguments for reparations to White Supremacist marches, and from Supreme Court definitions of equality to uncomfortable social media posts, race is a topic never far from risky conversation or public consternation. In this course we will explore our questions about race. What is race? Despite the civil rights movement 60 years ago, why is race still an issue? What are the stories about race in the U.S.? Drawing on autobiography, film, and history for answers — and more questions — the course will nurture the thinking skills of inquiry through reading, writing, and conversation.

  • Frank Robinson

    From Critical Race Theory to the death of George Floyd, from arguments for reparations to White Supremacist marches, and from Supreme Court definitions of equality to uncomfortable social media posts, race is a topic never far from risky conversation or public consternation. In this course we will explore our questions about race. What is race? Despite the civil rights movement 60 years ago, why is race still an issue? What are the stories about race in the U.S.? Drawing on autobiography, film, and history for answers — and more questions — the course will nurture the thinking skills of inquiry through reading, writing, and conversation.

  • David Rous

    Why are men allowed to get angry but not cry, while women are allowed to cry but not get angry? Why are men expected to lead, while women are expected to nurture? Why are little boys sometimes told to suck it up and deal, but little girls sometimes get hugged and comforted? Why are girls often given pink things, but boys blue things? Why do boys typically receive trucks and legos and toy guns at Christmas, while girls often get dolls or things with unicorns on them? Why are young men allowed to indulge their sexual appetite, but young women are encouraged to control theirs? And what are the rules for people who don’t fit into the traditional molds at all? In this section, we will explore why males and females are encouraged by society to do and be certain things, and why they are also encouraged not to do or be certain things. Through the lens of western popular culture, we will study how gender works and how it is changing in our times.

  • David Rous

    Why are men allowed to get angry but not cry, while women are allowed to cry but not get angry? Why are men expected to lead, while women are expected to nurture? Why are little boys sometimes told to suck it up and deal, but little girls sometimes get hugged and comforted? Why are girls often given pink things, but boys blue things? Why do boys typically receive trucks and legos and toy guns at Christmas, while girls often get dolls or things with unicorns on them? Why are young men allowed to indulge their sexual appetite, but young women are encouraged to control theirs? And what are the rules for people who don’t fit into the traditional molds at all? In this section, we will explore why males and females are encouraged by society to do and be certain things, and why they are also encouraged not to do or be certain things. Through the lens of western popular culture, we will study how gender works and how it is changing in our times.

  • Kelly Thomas

    Millions world-wide today share their lives with an animal they consider a member of the family. Why is that? How and why have humans developed relationships with other species for thousands of years? What roles do our furry, feathered, scaled and aquatic friends play in our lives, and we in theirs? Who “domesticated” whom? In this course, you’ll practice college-level close-reading and analysis as well as academic writing by investigating the emotional, behavioral and commercial aspects to human-animal bonding and its far-reaching cultural impact.

  • Kelly Thomas

    Millions world-wide today share their lives with an animal they consider a member of the family. Why is that? How and why have humans developed relationships with other species for thousands of years? What roles do our furry, feathered, scaled and aquatic friends play in our lives, and we in theirs? Who “domesticated” whom? In this course, you’ll practice college-level close-reading and analysis as well as academic writing by investigating the emotional, behavioral and commercial aspects to human-animal bonding and its far-reaching cultural impact.

  • Zachary LaMalfa

    In works of science fiction, we encounter alien ecologies and cultures, futuristic social orders, and “strange news words”–all inventions of writers’ imaginations. So why do these worlds always seem to have something to say about our own real-life cultures and societies, and the nagging questions of our times? This course will look at how sci-fi worlds are put together, and more importantly, why they’re put together in the ways they are. We’ll look at key texts by masters like Ursula Le Guin, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick, etc. And we’ll apply the lenses of psychology, environmental studies, history, philosophy, literature, and sociology, to better understand why the thought-experiments of science fiction have become such a large part of our cultural discourse.

Spring Semester

  • COR 103 | Navigating Your Information Landscape

    What makes an argument good or bad? What counts as evidence in our post-truth world? How can you understand and assess the truth value of a claim when you’re not an expert? In this course you’ll learn rhetorical strategies about how to examine arguments and types of evidence in different disciplines and fields of study. To help learn these strategies, you will do close readings of texts from a variety of disciplines in the liberal arts and sciences, popular culture, and social media.

  • COR 104 | First Year Inquiry (FYI): Making, Doing, and ____

    This course introduces you to interdisciplinary inquiry using applied, project-based, and/or experiential methods. Regardless of the specific course focus, you’ll have opportunities for making and doing interdisciplinary knowledge creation through a variety of approaches and activities. You will collaborate with other students, iterate on ideas, and work to develop a project.

    You can explore the Spring 2024 FYI topics below. Please note that current and previous topics are not guaranteed to be available in future semesters.

  • Fia Moser-Hardy

    How do we tell stories-as individuals, communities, and cultures-and retell them in ways we may not realize, whether through different mediums or variations in elements of literary craft? How do stories evolve, from draft to finished product, and from original folklore to modern twisted tale? What place do stories have in our lives and how do we continue to create them and grow the ones we have? Within this course, you will explore a world of stories through oral, visual, written, and theatrical storytelling and have a chance to create your own.

Core Division

Aiken Hall, Room 300
163 S Willard St, Burlington, VT 05401
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM