Following completion of DSC 101 DISCOVER First-Year Seminar, students take three additional courses in their major that have been designated as inquiry (INQ) courses (some majors have more than three). These courses are designed to use teaching methods and assignments that meet Marymount University’s inquiry outcomes, so that upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to

  • formulate an appropriate inquiry or research question and provide context for it;
  • gather, evaluate, and use information or knowledge needed to support the inquiry topic, often through a literature search;
  • formulate a methodology to examine the question;
  • conduct research to answer the question, making appropriate connections among ideas and drawing conclusions; and
  • formally present the results of the inquiry project in a written product.

Questions, information-gathering, methodology, projects, and products advance in complexity as students move from second-year through senior year.

Fall 2017 Course Descriptions


Mapping a Better World

We will explore how maps that describe social diversity or define countries can be used to understand some of the social challenges of our time.  Developing spatial literacy will enable you to interpret many of the images that appear in the media and ask probing questions that can lead to common ground.  Maps have defined, proclaimed and even mislead. You will learn how to read maps with healthy skepticism, identify social relationships using maps and create maps that encourage community engagement and social change.

Instructor: Janine Dewitt 



The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander: Three characters in a tragedy performed daily in our schools.

In this course, we will examine bullying and the relationship between the bully, bullied and the bystander and ask the following questions: Is bullying learned? Is it common place in our culture? Is it just part of growing up? Does it cause harm? We will focus on what bullying is and isn’t, statistics, the impact the bully, bullied and bystander have on one another, the cycle of violence they produce and the myths that help continue this cycle. Also, we will explore how the home, school and community influence each role and investigate how they can potentially break the cycle of violence and create communities where all children flourish.

Instructor: Jennifer Spafford 



Discover Techniques for Making Your Writing and Public Speaking More Interesting

What do you like to talk about?  What do you want to write about?  There are simple techniques that you can use to engage, entertain, and even enrage your listening audiences.  There are simple techniques that you can use to improve fluency, increase flow, and  even flabbergast your  reading audiences.   This course is for those who HATE writing and want to improve the readability of their papers AND for those who LOVE writing and want to publish in any of the 3 MU publications.

Instructor: Ana Lado 



Be the Change: Service and Leadership in Action

In our current economy, the job market is competitive and employers are looking for that special something that sets you apart. Leadership and community engagement are two areas that provide students with an opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills that are necessary in our current economic and social context. This class will provide the opportunity for students to work both independently and collaboratively, and engage with partners in the greater Arlington community.
Instructor: Anne Aichele 









Inventing Frugally for Leadership in World Markets

Designing products/services for customers who live in resource constrained environments (e.g. developing nations of the world) is a kind of disruptive innovation that has given rise to affordable product solutions in various industries (e.g. medical devices, automobiles). Several of these frugal innovations, such GE’s ultrasound machine and the EKG machine, have not only served their intended markets well from leadership positions in local markets but have also aided in driving down costs in the US healthcare industry. This is a new paradigm shift and practitioners throughout the world markets are paying close attention to this kind of innovation. In this Discover course, we will study this new and emerging topic, and using case studies of successful frugal products invented in developing nations, we will examine its potential applicability in the US and enumerate the conditions for successful adoption.

Instructor: Soumya Sivakumar



Science and Technology in Pop Culture

The inquiry-based process of the scientific method is an extremely powerful learning tool. In this course we will study the development of the scientific method and how science is utilized as entertainment. We will watch popular TV shows, movies and YouTube videos to understand how science interfaces with society. In addition, we will explore technology in society through the so-called “Maker Movement” which will include learning about 3D printing and simple digital electronics.

Instructor: Eric Bubar 




Movement is a fundamental element of life; one that individuals often take for granted. Through this course, we will study the development of normal movement and motor control. We will investigate the anatomical and neurological requirements for movement and the prerequisites for normal movement. We will study motor skill development and motor learning. The class includes many “hands on” activities that will aide students in the development of observation skills so that students can enhance their ability to analyze movement. The course will provide students the opportunity for specific skill development (is there a skill you’ve been dying to learn?). The spectrum of motor performance studied will range from novice skill development to the elite athlete to significant movement disorders and disabilities. Students will consider the experience of movement disorders and examine how disability is represented in the general media.

Instructor: Julie Ries and Jason Craig


DSC 101/ J LEC

Making Sense of the Media​

Do you read or watch the news about politics and wonder, “what in the world is happening?” or “have things ever been like this before?” In this course, we will examine changes in the news environment and their relationship to changes in technology, politics, and culture. Through discussion of current events, reading materials including articles and broadcasts appearing in the media, trade articles, and professional reviews, and through field trips around campus, Arlington, and the Washington, DC area to sites of media, politics, and technology, we will begin to answer our questions about news and politics. The course will help students develop skills in the critical analysis of journalism and strengthen their news literacy skills.

Instructor: Kim Meltzer



American Health Care System

In this course, we will discover the role of states in the licensing of health care providers, the establishment of health insurance as a condition of employment and the need to provide for a payment method for those citizens who cannot afford private health insurance like those who are elderly or poor. In reviewing the above, we will discover the reason for such strong disagreement in our country over how we, as a nation, should provide payment for healthcare services. Should it all be through private insurance , all through government programs, or should we find a way to both?  

Instructor: Donald Lavanty 



Stories of the Marymount Community Podcast    

The stories we tell are powerful. They help us to know one another as individuals and to define communities among us. Inspired by the Anacostia Unmapped project (, the students in this course will work together to create a series of audio posts about the Marymount Community. Over the course of the semester, tasks will include identifying and interviewing community members, drafting questions, editing and transcribing recordings, and managing the posting platform. We will also spend time discussing issues of participant consent, ethics of recording and publication, challenges of representing diversity without essentializing. Students do not need to have recording, editing, and posting skills in order to participate in this class, though prior experience in any of these areas is welcome.

Instructor: Kate Koppy






Study Abroad w/ Sea Turtles

We will explore your options for studying abroad in this section.  A special emphasis will be placed on turtles.  While direct study of sea turtles is difficult, we will explore a model organism and collect real data that will be used in a direct scientific context.  Each student will be able to participate beyond the classroom to whatever extent they wish.  You will also learn how studying abroad with sea turtles can promote research along side student growth and at the same time help an impoverished community.

Instructor: Todd Rimkus 



Beyond Elementary

Far more than just symbols, boxes and numbers, the periodic tables lays at the foundation of science education. But while science education is often focused on learning about the elements themselves and their properties, little is taught about the story behind each elements discovery, the scientific processes that produced these discoveries and the impact they had on the world. This course will focus on shedding light on these aspects in an exciting story-telling way and the students who take this course will never look at the periodic table the same way again.

Instructor: Professor Deana Jaber 



Diversity University

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the unique, and diverse cultures that make up the D.C. Metro. With the use of experiential activities, students will explore race, culture, gender, and spirituality.

Instructor: Samantha Knox 



Nutrition: Let’s Get Real

In this course, we will look at dining culture at Marymount and will dispel some of the common myths about how we eat, our food environment and food trends. Have you ever wondered about whether or not you really need 8 glasses of water a day? Should we really eat like our ancestors? Are fats all equally bad? Or, perhaps you have considered trying a high fat diet. Are you worried about the “freshman fifteen”? How does culture impact food choice? Throughout the semester, we will examine some myths and reality of nutrition and diet.

Instructor: Liane Summerfield/Stephanie Ellis-Foster (SEHS/SHP)



Declaring Independence

New first-year students to Marymount University will be introduced to learning in higher education through the theme of the American Revolution. We will emphasize active learning, student engagement, and intellectual inquiry while discussing the important individuals, events, and ideas of the American Revolution. Students will be asked to read primary and secondary sources, discuss and identity common themes, debate ideas, and conduct their own research on a topic within the general theme of the American Revolution. The ultimate goal of the course will be to teach students academic and college skills that will allow them to develop their own personal and intellectual independence while in university.

Instructor: Alexandra Fee



Hobbits, Heroes and Hunger Games: Investigating the Hidden Orders of Society Real and Imagined

For Katniss Everdeen, the Capitol provides a very clear incentive for hunting down her competition in The Hunger Games: kill or be killed. Fantasy and Science Fiction portray extreme worlds, but these imaginary societies operate on principles remarkably similar to those that govern our lives in the “real world”. Characters in these stories face a variety of incentives that influence their actions. What motivates you? How does the state shape your choices? Moving from hobbits in middle-earth to millennials in 21st-century America, this course investigates how institutions and incentives affect individual behavior.

Instructor: Brian Hollar 



Outdoor Adventure: Digital Storytelling

We’ll be getting dirty and digital with hiking, kayaking, rock scrambling, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more. Learn how to capture epic selfies, perfect landscapes, colorful sunrises, or star filled skies. We will investigate the value photography, and social media for communicating ideas about adventure, conservation, inspiration, relaxation, and having fun with friends!

Instructor: Barry Erdeljon 



Create and Maintain Your Brand

What is the definition of a great brand?  Why do some brands survive generation after generation while others fail after a short shelf life? This course will explore the core principles and fundamentals of creating and maintaining your brand (s) as well as how brands compete today. This course seeks to improve student’s marketing skills from a brand management perspective.

Instructor: Elissa Ruffino


DSC 101/ V LEC

Strategies for Overcoming Adjustment Barriers in your First Year of College

College adjustment is the degree in which students handle their overall experiences and interactions with people as they strive to adjust during their first year in college.  For many students, entering into a new college environment for the first time can be challenging. Particularly for some students, their reaction and emotions can vary from feelings of excitement and fear, and for some student’s, sense of apprehension. These feelings may develop for some students which may cause some difficulties, mainly because of separation from family and friends, having to make new friends, managing and meeting academic demands and striving to adjust to the norms of the institution. This class is designed to provide first-year students strategies on how to overcome adjustment barriers during the first year of college. Through participation in a variety of activities and with the support of their peer mentor, instructors, and classmates, students will improve their understanding of their adjustment barriers and different ways to overcome them.

Instructor: Shelly Aboagye



Ethics, Cell Phone, and More

The visually literate student understands many of the ethical, legal, social, and economic issues surrounding the creation and use of images and visual media, and accesses and uses visual material ethically." This is Standard Seven of the Association of College and Research Libraries' (ACRL) Visual Literacy Competency Standards (2011). Using that standard as the basis for this course, students will develop skills to think critically about the legal and ethical uses of cell phone and DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera photographic images through an understand of pertinent organizations' codes of ethics and legal cases.

Instructor: Katherine Baldwin and Marcia Dursi



Uncovering the DC Riots 1968

During the tumultuous 1960’s, amid racial tension and violence in many metropolitan areas, national and local leaders deemed Washington D.C. ‘riot-proof’. The city saw little violence until the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After news broke of the murder it took only a few hours before the nation’s capital witnessed its first racial civil disturbance in decades. Four days later, more than 6,000 were arrested, over 1000 fires burned, nearly 1,200 buildings reported damages and federal troops numbering 13,000 patrolled the city. Why then is there not a single academic book on this history? This course will enable students to use local and national archives to literally uncover the history of these riots. Students will form collaborative research teams of three to four. They will learn research methods and practice them at DC Public Library Special Collections, the Historical Society of Washington, the National Archives, and the National Guard Museum.

Instructor: Patrick Cronin



Helping Because We Can​

President John F. Kennedy said, "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try." In this course we will explore the discourse around the social responsibilities of able inhabitants of the United States of America and the globe. You will learn about individuals and local organizations that are trying to make a difference in big and small ways. Developing a greater appreciation for historically underrepresented and those needing protection or assistance today will lead us to a common ground.

Instructor: Shannon Melideo



Living Well: A Wellness Approach for a Balanced Life

This course will integrate the concepts of Positive Psychology and Wellness Counseling as students will both study and apply knowledge and strategies to their lives to improve wellness. Focus will be on awareness of wellness concepts and positive application of practices that have proven to improve overall health and wellbeing.

Instructor: Tamara Davis



Communicating in Teams

Instructor: Joe Provenzano


DSC 201/OLA Online

The Impact of the Social Determinants on Your Health

This course will explore the social determinants and their impact on health.

Instructor: Karen Benson


DSC 201/ OLB Online

Self-Care and You

This is an online course that will explore many aspects of self-care and caring about others. This is an 8 week course with weekly discussions on-line and weekly assignments.

Instructor: Catherine Hillberry RN


First Year Experience Program
Marymount University
2807 N. Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22207