Oregon State University

U-Engage Course

U-Engage Students in Classroom

What is U-Engage?

U-Engage is an elective, 2-credit course designed to help first year students explore a current real-world issue or compelling question of interest. In a small class environment, new students built strong relationships with their instructor, peer leader, and classmates while engaging in interactive learning.  Additionally, students gain information about campus resources and support available on campus and how these services can enhance their education. Check out some of the courses we offered in Fall 2013 and look for new course descriptions for Fall 2014 in April.

Former U-Engage Course Descriptions:


Science Myth Busters

Do people really only use 10% of our brains?  Do vaccines cause autism? Do astrological signs determine personality traits?  Does birth order determine intelligence?  Do video games cause violence?  In this class we will investigate a broad range of common beliefs with the goals of learning critical analysis, performing literature research and evaluating scientific data to draw conclusions—important skills for separating fact from fiction, succeeding in college and flourishing throughout life.  You’ll be introduced to the concepts underlying many myths and learn how to develop a research question by delving into your own interests on a current topic in this field. 

Untold Stories: Histories of People of Color in Oregon

Have you ever wondered about the histories of people of color in Oregon or why you haven’t heard their stories?  As a class, we’ll explore stories such as those about slaves brought to Oregon with the promise of freedom, the internment of American citizens of Japanese descent, the displacement of tribal communities in the name of “progress,” and the exploitation of Mexican labor through the Bracero program. We’ll explore the OSU and community archives and talk with local historians and community members as part of our research to uncover the real untold stories.  Authors of course readings will join our conversations to help us understand why and how they did their research.  We may review films such as The First Oregonians, Turbans, and Local Color.   As a class, we will have opportunities to attend campus and community events, visit local historical sites and societies.

Finding Bigfoot

Why do stories about elusive human-like creatures living in the wilderness persist through time? Why are there so many television shows and movies about finding Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch? What do these legendary creatures represent in human culture, specifically in the Pacific Northwest?  In this class, we'll approach the Bigfoot phenomenon from multiple perspectives:  mythological, cultural, historical, geographical and scientific. We'll use a variety of activities to look critically at Bigfoot in books, magazines, TV, films and on the Internet.  Activities for the course will include a field trip to the McDonald Dunn Research Forest and developing a Bigfoot exhibit for the Valley Library.

Powered by Orange? 

Do you know how much energy you consume on a daily basis?  It might be more than you think.  In this age of climate change reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy security, and utilizing energy more efficiently have become vital to ensuring the future health of our environment.  Yet we are currently seeing great advances in power-hungry technology: smart phones, tablets, and laptops TVs are owned by many, including the majority of college students. You’ll need a steady stream of power to keep up to speed in your classes, search for jobs and internships, and keep connected with friends and family, so, what can you do to use energy more responsibly during your time at OSU?  This course will look at the ways we utilize energy on campus and explore how OSU researchers are looking at novel ways to help us have a more sustainable energy future on campus and beyond. 

Learning Sexuality

What is gender and sexual identity? In this course we will explore the process, conscious and unconscious, that goes into forming identity. Focusing on social messaging received through family, school, and the media we will critically examine how gender and sexual identity is created in all of us and reinforced in modern society. Through basic texts in gender studies and visual culture studies we will identify the process of gender and sexual identity development as it applies to the individual. Over the course of the term you will engage in group discussion, panels, and campus observation activities to gain a deeper understanding of your own identity, as well as the identities of those you will encounter at OSU and beyond.  Particular focus will be paid to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and other identities.


Six and Eight Legs: A Bug’s Perspective

Come to this course ready to explore the world of insects and arachnids, and learn various pathways for to pursue your buggy interests at OSU.  We'll start with an overview of the entomological (insect) orders and class Arachnida.  Using YouTube, blogs, and social media, we will explore the diversity of insect and arachnid behavior, beauty, and function, and the role of popular media in labeling them as creepy and crawly. Field trips will introduce you to insect collection methods used in aquatic and terrestrial sampling.  You'll become familiar with insect resources at OSU, including: courses, research, professors, and social and volunteer opportunities.  Fundamental concepts in research - the scientific method and hypothesis testing - will be introduced. The Valley Library and other on-campus resources will be used to explore an insect-related question of your choosing, develop a hypothesis, and create a simple study design to test your hypothesis.


NCAA Football: Supporting Students or Supporting Big Business?

Football is often called America’s one true religion, but will it stay that way? The American public has enjoyed professional and collegiate football for decades and its popularity is continually increasing, but lately professional and collegiate football has been the source of several controversial debates. During this past Super Bowl week, President Obama said, “ if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I’d let him play football." What makes football so popular? Is football safe? Should the NCAA pay student-athletes? What values is football teaching American youth? In this course we will examine both NFL and NCAA football through a critical lens and engage in discussions about topics including: safety, changing rules, paying NCAA players, coaches' salaries, playoff systems, and game day traditions. 

Discover Yourself in Oregon Politics

Oregon State University offers many opportunities for becoming politically active – from campus-based student government, to the local, state and federal political world.  In addition to exploring what opportunities are open to you, this course will address questions like:  Why do people go into politics?  How do they get there?  What do politicians actually do and how do they make decisions?  And what impact does all this have on my life? This class will provide you with the opportunity to interact with elected officials, staff, and political advocates from student government, the state legislature, Congress, and the Governor’s office.  A capstone assignment will explore how the legislative process works as we prepare strategies for dealing with a bill from a variety of political and economic viewpoints and perspectives.

“How To” OSU: Your Path to Success

I just unpacked. Now what? The first term of college is filled with many questions “How do I get involved? Did I pick the correct major? “How can I make the most of my time here?” Using real student experiences, exploration, and reflection, this class will help you figure out how to interweave your sense of self within the new social and educational communities at OSU. What does it mean to be a college student? What are the responsibilities and expectations of college and what can you do to be successful in this new environment? Spend time exploring OSU, and learn how to make the most out of the opportunities available depending on your major, career goals, and personal interests. This course is your guide to success and thriving at OSU. This class will require active participation and learning.

Contact Info

New Student Programs & Family Outreach
B009 Kerr Administration Building, Corvallis, OR 97331-2133
Phone: 541-737-7627 | Fax: 541-737-6157

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