Winter 15 Offerings
The seminars are offered on Webadvisor under UNIV1200.
To learn more about a seminar and its instructor(s), please choose from the menu below or scroll down the page to browse.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to ensure all students have the opportunity to take a seminar, more spaces will be opened at intervals throughout registration. So keep checking. There will be lots of opportunities to register in the seminar that fascinates you. 

01. The What, Where, How and Why of Food Product Development
Tanya MacLaurin

There are hundreds of thousands of food products available to us. Their profiles differ by what they are (product category), where they came from (country of origin, company), how they are made (unprocessed or processed, fortified, organic, local) and why they are available (what need they fulfill). This course will provide students interested in the What, Where, How and Why an opportunity to examine the food product development process, its components and stakeholders. Sensory evaluation is an essential component of this process and will be experienced by the students through interactive seminar activities. The product lifecycle will also be discussed.  Students will reflect on how their personal food consumption behaviours and attitudes impact the product development process and retail food industry.

03. The Social Life of Information
Mike Ridley

Are we drowning in information, wading through it, surfing over it, or swimming in it? Is it coming at us like a fire hydrant or a wellspring? And what's with all these water metaphors anyway? Ubiquitous information is a dominant characteristic of our age. What is information? Where does it come from? Where does it go? Understanding the nature and behaviour of information allows us to create, use, and manage it more effectively.

Students will examine and enhance their learning skills through a series of assignments and in-class activities. These skills will be applied in the exploration of the nature of information as part of research investigations and class discussions or activities. The course focuses on the development of both individual skills and team based learning.

The seminar will engage students in a way that will significantly enhance their success as students as they progress through their program. It will also reinforce the foundations of lifelong learning.

04. Creativity, Rebranding Failure Making Opportunity
Janet Wostenholme

Creativity and innovation are among the top required skills for the workplace today. It takes a skilled person and some keen creative thinking to reinvent an item into a useful object, remember “sticky notes” were invented as a solution to a failed attempt at making a new glue! In this seminar students explore what might be construed as “failed” attempts at invention and discuss risk taking for innovation. In a final assignment learners will have the opportunity to work on a project that takes a “problem” and makes it into an opportunity. Results will be pitched at an audience.

05. Prospects and Perspectives: Exploring the Idea of Sustainable Development
Al Lauzon

The concept of sustainable development was first popularized in the World Commission on the Environment and Development’s report Our Common Future published in 1987. Since that time the concept of sustainable development has come to mean many different things to different people. In fact, some critics argue that there are so many meanings attributed to the concept of sustainable development that it has become virtually meaningless. This course, through exploring some of the dominant sustainable development perspectives and their associated practices, will attempt to answer the following question: is sustainable development a useful idea and can it be used to organize human activity that respects the limits of the planet while ensuring equity among the earth’s peoples?

06. Surveillance Culture: Who's Watching Whom?
Mike Ridley

I know what you did last summer. So does everyone else. From social media to security cameras to sensors in everything, we are being watched and tracked, and we are watching and tracking others. Privacy is a currency we value but one which we freely expend for personal or social advantage. We surveil for security, profit, community, greed, curiosity, power, love, and hate. Personal data are everywhere; they fuel of the 21st century. New technologies like Google Glass and subdural sensors will only increase the stakes. This course will examine surveillance and privacy in all their forms and with all their implications. How are we being surveilled and how are we surveilling others? Can you trust Facebook or Twitter? What about your government or your friends? And can they trust you? Let's find out.

07. Sleep: 1/3 of Your Life Spent with Your Eyes Closed-
Justine Tishinsky

“I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day, because it means I’m going to be up all night” – Steven Wright.  We spend 30-35% of our lives asleep.  Some practically fall sleep standing up…others toss and turn all night.  Some sleepwalk, some snore, and we all dream.  Sleep is a restorative process that’s imperative to our health and wellbeing, yet 63% of adults get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night.  Nevertheless, the process of “going to sleep” is a social and cultural norm.  The longest anyone has ever gone without sleep is a mere 11 days.  This seminar course will focus on the art and science of sleep.  Topics covered will include: contributors to insomnia (stress, caffeine, alcohol, technology, etc.), circadian rhythms and biological clocks, dreams and nightmares, cultural determinants of sleep patterns, sleep disorders (i.e. sleepwalking, etc.), and effectiveness of pharmacological and herbal sleep aids.  Students will have the opportunity to address a research question of their choosing and demonstrate their knowledge in the form of a written paper and oral presentation.  We ask that you remain awake during all classes.

08. The Art of Everything: Exploring the Creative Process
John Cripton

During the semester, students will examine aspects of the creative process and discuss how and where ideas originate. Through conversations, first-hand observations, readings, and live presentations by invited guests and the students themselves, participants will be introduced to the effectiveness of innovation and the creative process. Areas to be explored and discussed include the visual arts, music, poetry, theatre, propaganda and the art of the word, the enlightenment and human rights, and innovation and the environment.

09. I Fought the Law
Elliott Allen

Our criminal and family courts are being asked to deal with major issues of public policy relating to the rights of individuals in their dealings with the state. In this Enquiry Based seminar students will work collaboratively to explore scenarios based on current legal dilemmas. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the histories, current tensions and possible resolutions of conflicts in such areas as child welfare, drug use, political activism, racial profiling and prisoners’ rights will be examined.

10. Truth, Lies, and the Culture of Stupidity: Critical Thinking in the 21st Century
Jodie Salter

What does the “Best Ever Twerking Fail” and George Orwell’s novel 1984 have in common? Both invite interesting discussions about the social consequences of “dumbing down” society. In our socially pervasive digital world that increasingly celebrates ‘a culture of stupidity’ (and where anyone can profess expertise on any subject), how and when do young adults learn to think critically about what they hear, read, and watch?

In University, one of the main expectations of students is “critical thinking” but what exactly does this mean? This seminar will explore critical thinking as a process of identifying, investigating, and assessing the information we encounter everyday in schoolwork, jobs, and the media. Students will study different types of media (movies, Youtube videos, TED talks, fiction, non-fiction, journal articles, documentaries, memes, and blogs) to challenge assumptions and gain critical perspectives on how media, power, truth, and language influence the ways that people think and behave.

Biases and ideologies, embedded in carefully constructed representations, challenge our critical thinking. Rhetoric and persuasion influence how we make sense of information. Does the culture of stupidity encourage us not to care whether this information is “real”?

This seminar will appeal to students interested in areas of leadership, cultural studies, sociology, psychology, management, politics, and marketing. Topics include popular culture, social media, celebrity culture, the concepts of truth and lies, and the art of persuasion. Students will develop useful strategies for reading critically, writing persuasively, and arguing effectively.

11. Dark Tourism: An Immoral Promotion of Death & Disaster?
Brent McKenzie

We all will die. But why would we want to travel to experience the morbid and the chilling as a tourist? This is the question that is explored in the study of "Dark tourism". Dark tourism as defined by Sharpley and Stone (2009) is "the act of travel to sites associated with death, suffering and the seemingly macabre". Although not new, in many societies, visiting sites associated with death is, and has been, a considerable part of the tourist experience; as this can be seen with the existence of pilgrimage, one of the earliest forms of tourism. However, the commercial marketing of such locations to encourage tourist visitations is justly debated. The focus of this course is to explore the individual and societal motivations and fascinations with such experiences, as well as to better understand the impact that such tourism has on country and city image. This first year interdisciplinary seminar intends to expose the student to both domestic and international sites of "Dark tourism". The expectation is that the student will learn how to frame examinations of a controversial phenomenon in an objective and critical fashion.

12. Health communities: Whose responsibility is it anyway?
Dale Lackyerman

The term health and the state of being healthy have taken on a variety of complex definitions over the years.  Early in the 20th century health was described as the absence of disease whereas later descriptions included “physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  

This course examines health from a wellness perspective, which is described as "The extent to which an individual or group is able to realize aspirations and satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment.   Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living; it is a positive concept, emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.

Therefore a healthy community is intrinsically dependent on the people, environment, socio-economic conditions and the ability of individuals to participate in the decisions that affect them.  Given the importance of social factors in this definition of health, this course examines key problems and issues that influence the health of a community and encourages students to question the difference between helping versus building capacity when volunteering in a community.

14. Growing Great Kids from a Family/Community Perspective
John Beaton

This course will examine raising children from prenatal to age 12 from family systems and community development perspectives.  We will study child development from an interdisciplinary perspective and ecological framework focusing on multiple factors, for example, a) family of origin, b) sexual orientation, c) social economic status, d) family structure, e) physical health, f) mental health, g) culture/race, h) spirituality, and i) education.  We will also discuss raising children in various family forms, for example, a) two-parent families, b) single parent families, c) adoptive families, and d) special needs families.  Students will be given an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences of being parented, and explore ideas of best parenting practices (some students may already be parents and may reflect on their current parenting strategies).

15. Globesity: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Global Obesity
Andrea Buchholz

Obesity statistics are sobering.  In Canada, over 50% of adults are overweight or obese.  This is not Canada’s issue alone; we now find ourselves in a global obesity epidemic.  This seminar course will explore the prevalence, causes and consequences of obesity – or excess body fat – in Canada and worldwide, while considering political, economic, sociocultural, biological and psychological perspectives.  Topics will be diverse and interdisciplinary and will include body fat and health; the poverty-obesity paradox; childhood obesity; weight discrimination; the role of the food industry; and public health policy and planning for obesity prevention and treatment (and more!). The course is designed to help you learn to find, retrieve, analyze and use information to work through case scenarios; to write critical reflections and a literature review; and to contribute to, and facilitate, group discussions, all on topics related to obesity.  Therefore, Globesity is as much about developing skills in information literacy, critical thinking, and written and oral communication, as it is about content.  These are skills you will be able to use throughout your undergraduate career and beyond.

16. Social Aspects of Health and Medicine
Karen Wendling

Scientists and social scientists have discovered that health is strongly influenced by social as well as biological and environmental factors. Social and political inequality, education, social networks, and employment or unemployment have significant impacts on people's health and longevity. Some researchers argue that social factors influence health as much as, if not more than, medical care, genes and biology, and health behaviours (such as exercising and not smoking) combined. These social factors are called the social determinants of health (SDH), and Canada has been at the forefront of research on them. In this course, we'll examine the evidence for the social determinants of health, in Canada and globally. This will lead us to discussions about population health and public health, what we should do about SDHs in practice, the principles that ground universal healthcare, whether Canadian medicine ought to focus more on prevention, and differences between medical practice in some western and non-western cultures.

17. And the winner is… : Prizes in the arts and culture”
Margot Irvine

In 2013, Alice Munro became the first Canadian woman to win the Nobel prize for literature. What does this achievement represent?

Literary, cultural and artistic awards have proliferated since the creation of the Nobel prizes in 1901 and are now an accepted part of the cultural landscape. Many different prizes exist, recognizing all sorts of different cultural products, and new ones are created frequently through bequests, by communities coming together after perceiving they are excluded from existing awards, or to recognize a more specific category of winner.

Students in this course will examine topics such as how cultural prizes are convertible to capital, the impact global prizes can have on national or minority cultures, what it means when a nominee rejects an award and how awards are shaping cultural products.

From Academy awards to Grammys, Pulitzers, Bookers and Gillers, Students will discuss prizes’ complex systems of nominating jurors and selecting winners and their rituals in presentation ceremonies and acceptance speeches. We will also study their sponsorship, mechanisms for generating publicity and scandals. 

18/19. Do Genes Fit Our Values
Jacqueline Murray

With the mapping of the human genome and the increasing sophistication of gene technologies, what was once considered to be the stuff of science fiction is now common if troubling in society. This enquiry-based seminar will examine variety of situations that reveal the pervasiveness, power and potential of gene technologies. We will also consider their pitfalls, problems and privileged position. We will study 6-8 cases over the semester. In addition, students will be asked to analyze and present a written assessment of a case that has immediate relevance.

20. Community Environmental Engagement – On Campus and Beyond
Andy Robinson/Jenn Bock

In A Sand County Almanac (1949), Aldo Leopold states, “there is a need for a new ethic, an ethic dealing with human's relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it". Have you wanted to tackle environmental issues, big or small? From sustainable, local food to natural heritage planning to green energy solutions, this course will explore some of the innovative actions that The Ontario Agricultural College, The University of Guelph and the City of Guelph have taken toward minimizing our collective impact on the local natural environment. We will explore the science and the passion of environmental awareness and work towards developing an educational event to enhance community-engaged environmentalism. By the end of the semester, students will have developed the tools and skills to design, plan and host an on-campus ‘awareness fair’ as a means to share their environmental awareness, knowledge and enthusiasm with the entire University of Guelph community.

21. Risky Business
Tanya MacLaurin

Risky Business, there is no riskier business than that of providing food, lodging and transportation for people.  That is exactly what the tourism and hospitality industries do. Providing for the needs of their guests comes with inherent risks. This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of a hazard, risk, risk assessment and risk management. These concepts will be explored from a personal, group, organizational, industry, country and global risk perspective. Cases studies, interactive seminar activities, an audit and the development of a risk management plan evaluated by a panel of risk management professional will facilitate the understanding and application of risk assessment and management.  

22. The Socioeconomic Evolution of Botany
Bernard Grodzinski

Mankind unlike plants has been a very late force in the natural evolution of Earth. What features and traits have enticed man to exploit plants over the last million years? How has he integrated their cultivation and use during his social development? For example, how has the search for and discovery of means to control the markets of highly valued commodities such as coffee, tea, pepper, nutmeg or ginger spurred explorations, science and technology bringing great wealth and enlightenment to some nations while delivering poverty and enslavement for others? What driving factors exist to today’s forbidden technologies and/or substances arising from plants? During this course a few introductory lectures exemplifying social and scientific issues surrounding cropping systems will be given by the professor and guests. However, beyond these students will lead, learning how to develop scholarly questions that address complex issues and how to begin to answer these questions. They will gain confidence in assessing information available in libraries and social media. They will engage in active learning that will involve participating and leading peer discussion, debate through personal diligence in reading assignments that may be demanded by their peers or the professor. Students will interact and grade each other. At least two seminars paralleling two written assignments will be developed by each student. One assignment will be on a recent topic in the “news”. The other assignment will focus on an economically important plant, exploring how traditional and new methodologies affect its place within man’s social fabric and history.

23. Across the ‘Black Atlantic’: Jamaica’s Impact on Community, Culture and Music in Britain and Canada
Jason Wilson

Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae facilitated a cultural dialogue between Jamaican migrant and the host community in urban centres such as London, Birmingham and Toronto. These musics united migrant and host across the ethnic frontlines of these big urban centres and often bridged black and white youth together in an ‘oppositional’ and musical movement. Ska, rocksteady and reggae provided the soundtrack to this social and political process and soon became part of the musical vernacular in Britain and Canada as evidenced in UK bands such as the Clash, The Specials, Aswad and UB40 and in Canadian bands such as The Sattalites and Messenjah.

In this course, we will review the evolution of Jamaica’s popular musics and how these had been informed by African and European traditions over the course of two centuries. We will read and hear texts of songs and anthems that resulted from these frontline collisions between Jamaican migrants and members of the respective host communities during the second half of the twentieth century. We will review the important socio-political consequences that these musics may have caused or addressed. We will also review some of the keynote sounds of these musics, in some cases, live from some of the original artists themselves. Apart from the written component, you will have an opportunity to produce a creative project that could include, among other things, a musical performance, a spoken-word piece or a radio show. Ultimately, you will witness how the impact of this contact between communities transcended a shared affection for music and engendered a vital intercultural dialogue

24. Pathways to Global Citizenship
Jane Ngobia  

This seminar will provide students an opportunity to strengthen their international perspectives and support their pursuit of international career and academic opportunities. We will draw on resources and opportunities available on campus, in order for students to develop their international and intercultural skills and explore ways in which an education at the University of Guelph supports student’s quest for a critical perspective and normative notions of international education, cross-cultural competence and global citizenship. We will examine the skills that form the foundation of global competence in order to work effectively in international settings. These include awareness of and adaptability to diverse cultures, perceptions and approaches; familiarity with the major currents of global change and issues; and the capacity for effective communication across cultural and linguistic boundaries.

25. Living with Quadriplegia
Lorraine Jadeski/Cyndy McLean

The focus of this course is spinal cord injury (SCI), and the multidimensional effects on the individual living with SCI.Human anatomy lectures and laboratory-based exploration of structural and functional relationships of the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system provides students with the foundation for understanding clinical applications of the spinal cord and associated cervical injuries.   Important aspects of understanding the impact of living with SCI will be addressed including the physical, social,emotional, psychological, and/or economical effects that an individual living with a spinal cord injury may experience.  Interaction with individuals living with SCI and health care practitioners provides students with insight into the overall impact of injury.


University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1