Pio 101 is a 2-credit course focusing on community-building; engaged, active learning; and the development of information literacy skills. Its mission is to prepare you to be discerning readers and critical thinkers as citizens in an information-overwhelmed world!


If you’ve been accepted into the Honors Program, you must choose from these two great offerings!

PIO 101-01 HONORS: Exploring Appalachia and HONRS 111-01 Honors: Literature Learning Community!

Faculty: Dr. Mike Tager, Political Science; Dr. Bev Hogue, English
The federal government designates thirty-two counties in southern Ohio, including the county containing Marietta College, part of Appalachia. This course attempts to increase our understanding of the region by examining its people, culture, history, environment, economy and politics. The course will use readings (including Hillbilly Elegy), videos, guest speakers, and some local resources. Topics for examination include the challenges of economic development, the opioid epidemic, bluegrass music, Trump's appeal, etc. We will also consider what relationship Marietta College does and should have with the Appalachian region. This course is only for students who have been selected into the Honors Program.

PIO 101-02: You Are What You Eat and HONRS 112-01: Honors Communication Learning Community!

Faculty: Dr. Jim Jeitler, Chemistry; Dr. Dawn Carusi, Communication
“You are what you eat.” We have all heard it and maybe even said it, but what does it mean? Food and drink are an integral part of our daily life; however, we rarely stop to think about why our food looks the way it does or where it comes from (historically rather than geographically). This course will look at the history, art and science of food and beverages from early agriculture and the first wines to molecular gastronomy. It will be a feast for the mind as well as the palate. This course is only for students who have been selected into the Honors Program.

major oriented courses

the following courses provide an introduction to a major and are only for those who have been accepted into the designated major

PETR 101: Engineering Reasoning

Faculty: Dr. Susan Peterson (PETR 101-01); Prof. Tina Thomas (PETR 101-02); Dr. Ben Ebenhack (PETR 101-03)
This course will provide students with an overview of energy production and engineering in upstream oil and gas operations. Engineers are required to reason through complex engineering issues by application of critical thinking skills applied with the appropriate intellectual disposition. Specific student learning outcomes for this course include increased understanding and application of critical thinking skills and an increased awareness of the ethical implications
often associated with decision making. Enrollment in this course is limited to ACCEPTED, DECLARED Petroleum Engineering majors.

Data-driven and hands-on

Interested in understanding the world? Want to learn by doing?

PIO 101- 03: Predicting the Future

Faculty: Dr. Matt Menzel, Math
Whereas past events undoubtedly can be used to predict future outcomes, doing so accurately requires the ability to recognize and understand what information provides the key for unlocking the future. With staggering amounts of information available at the click of a mouse or the touch on a smartphone, forecasters must identify the truly significant indicators from among an ocean of possibilities. In this course, we will establish a foundation using the language of probability and statistics, and we will consider predictions in the realms of politics, sports, science, and our everyday lives. We will explore the science of prediction and examine how experienced, intelligent individuals and organizations can produce radically different forecasts based on the same data.

PIO 101- 04: Global Warming

Faculty: Dr. Bonnie Martinez, Chemistry
Have you had enough of the on-going argument about global warming and whether or not it’s really an issue for the environment? This course will survey the on-going debate by looking at all sides of the controversy. By analyzing reports and studies made by both scientists and non-scientists that support and contradict the theory of Global Warming, you will seek to determine the truth on this on-going debate.

PIO 101- 05: AI/Big Data/Cybersec

Faculty: Dr. Bob VanCamp, Information Systems
How does the Internet use tracking to know which products we want to purchase? How do identity theft and phishing happen? Is it possible for a computer to learn right from wrong? In this class, we will use discussion and hands-on activities (Turing Tests, Neural Network Creation, Network Simulations, Google Analytics, etc.) to address the “hows” and “whys” of those questions and to explore the connections between Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Cybersecurity.

PIO 101-06: Real Life Aliens: Invaders from Our Own Planet

Faculty: Dr. Katy Lustofin, Biology
Learn how invasive plants, animals, and other organisms from other parts of the world impact our economy, our native ecosystems, and even our culture. Through case studies of specific invasive species, students will learn how the “aliens” like kudzu, emerald ash borer, zebra mussels, and the mosquitos that carry the Zika virus get here, how the government prevents and responds to the invaders, and what effect they have once they are here.

PIO 101-07: "There is no I in Healthcare": Foundations of Interprofessional Education in Healthcare

Faculty: Prof. Jaclyn Schwieterman, Athletic Training
Effective Interprofessional practice improves the patient experience, patient safety and the overall health care system. The Foundations of Interprofessional Education course will introduce interprofessional education to students wanting to pursue a career in healthcare. In this course, students will learn about the healthcare system, the different medical professionals, the role of teams in health care, and how each individual medical profession fits into the team. Students will address local and global challenges with interprofessional collaboration.

PIO 101-08: Beyond The Lines of Sports: A behind-the-scenes look at event production and untold stories in the sport industry

Faculty: Prof. Rick Smith, Business and Economics
This class focuses on a range of topics including women in sports, marketing, facility management, event production, game scripting, and other game day production elements. We will use in-class assignments; guest speakers; films; and hands-on-learning to understand what goes on “behind the lines”; develop an understanding of professionalism in the sports management field, and work together to accomplish projects and initiatives that help build a sport brand and produce results for a sports team.

PIO 101-09: Think Like a Scientist!

Faculty: Dr. Cavendish McKay, Physics
The modern scientific approach to understanding the world, which took shape in the 16th and 17th centuries, has been tremendously successful in extending the length and improving the quality of human life. Today, many questions of health, public policy, and technological innovation require scientific reasoning to answer correctly. In this class, we will address such questions as:

  • What does it mean for an idea to be "scientific?"
  • How do scientists think about evidence and proof?
  • What is a consensus?
  • How do scientific revolutions happen?
  • What kinds of questions fall outside the bounds of science?
  • What are the ethical implications of scientific research?

We will learn some techniques for evaluating evidence and apply those techniques to some questions of current social interest.

A Diverse and global world

Interested in different countries and their customs? Want to learn more about what unites and divides cultures?

PIO 101-10: Soccer: The Beautiful Game

Faculty: Dr. Tim Catalano, English
This FYS section examines the historic and cultural origins of soccer and connects its development and evolution to its social context. Through various readings, seminar-style discussions and student-written essays, this class uses a humanities-based approach to examine how soccer reflects larger aspects of our global and American culture – politics, civilization, economy, immigration, gender, fandom, mass media and popularity.

PIO 101-11: Understanding Globalization

Faculty: Dr. Michael Morgan, Political Science
If you have ever shopped at Walmart, watched an Olympic event, or used the internet, you have participated in, and have been influenced by, globalization. Because globalization refers to increased connections among individuals, corporations, and countries around the world, its effects are both widespread and highly personal. To better understand the impact of globalization, this course explores a number of topics that investigate the costs and benefits of a global marketplace, evolving relationships between societies and governments, and patterns of cultural convergence and divergence. This course will:

  1. introduce students to major topics and concepts related to globalization
  2. evaluate complex interactions among economic, political, social interests
  3. demonstrate how globalization shapes how students prepare for and compete in a contemporary, global workforce
PIO 101-12: Journey to the East

Faculty: Prof. Jenni Zhang, Modern Languages
We will explore Chinese culture through food, film, Tai chi, art, music and various fun activities. Course topics focus on the core elements of Chinese culture and how it influences modern people’s lives in all perspectives. Each topic will immerse you in a cultural experience and provide the ancient wisdom to help you eat healthier, think smarter, live happier and stress less. Your journey will help you broaden your horizon; sharpen your mind, and prepare you to be a world citizen with cross-cultural communication and critical thinking skills. In enrolling in this FYS 199 section, you have also enrolled in a Learning Community

sound, stage and social media

Do you love the sound of music or being on stage? Interested in knowing how to be your best self in person and on social media?

PIO 101-13: Youtube Really You?

Faculty: Prof. Marilee Morrow, Communication
Modern reality: We communicate in many ways, mostly mediated through devices and software like Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram that offer the public a version of ourselves. But, there are plenty of examples that prove mediated communication can be risky business. If you’ve ever sent a text or posted to Facebook, you know that those who get your message don’t always get the message you intended. The result is that those receiving our messages develop opinions and form perceptions that can impact our friendships, our effectiveness in the workplace and our success as a human being. This course’s critical examination of how people and organizations present themselves will improve our own mediated communication, so others perceive us in the manner we intend. 

PIO 101-14: Finding Your Voice

Faculty: Dr. Suzanne Walker, Communication
Is one of your favorite memories from childhood the times when someone read to you and had great voices for all the characters? Are you looking for more confidence to help you speak up and be heard? Are you thinking about working with children, enjoyed individual events in high school, love telling a good story, or think producing a radio drama sounds interesting? This Pio101 class will explore the art of oral interpretation. We will refine our information literacy skills while researching the texts we use for performance. Over the course of the semester, you will get a chance to voice your favorite children’s book. We will prepare ghost stories to share on campus for Halloween. We will produce a radio drama in our new state of the art production studio. Finally, we will learn to create reader’s theatre scripts out of favorite holiday stories for a service learning project to bring Christmas on Campus to local underprivileged children.

PIO 101-15: Creating Spectacle: Engaging in Live Entertainment

Faculty: Prof. David Makuch, Theater
Spectacle has been a mainstay in live events, from ancient flying cranes to modern multimedia. Continual advances in technology mean that engaging and interactive experiences have become the norm in live shows as diverse as rock concerts and Super Bowl halftime, Broadway and Wrestlemania. Participants in this class will be exposed to a number of live events and will explore personal experience and public perception of live events. With backstage tours and an inside look at some of the tech, you won’t want to miss this opportunity!

PIO 101-16: Bringing Saxy Back: An Overview of the History of Jazz

Faculty: Dr. Andy Francis, Music
The influence of jazz on popular music is undeniable. Everyone from Dave Matthews to Bruno Mars to Lady Gaga has been, in one way or another, influenced by this art form. Though Jazz is still quite popular in Europe and parts of Asia, the genre has lost the status it once had in the United States. This class will equip participants to be informed consumers of the medium, as well as explain the culture that birthed the music. Class discussion topics will include, “Jelly Roll Morton: The Pianist and the Pimp,” “Charlie Parker and Heroin,” and, “On the Corner, Bitches Brew, and other affectionate Miles Davis albums,” among others.

PIO 101-17: Rock On! The History of Rock and Roll

Faculty: Prof. Lori Smith, Communication
This course introduces students to the social, cultural, economic, and stylistic history of rock and roll music, starting with its roots and early development in the 1950s to the fragmented genre that it is today. Rock music evolved among many different ethnic and social groups and its convergence of musical styles can be traced from the drumbeats out of Africa to the American Delta and its migration north. Although it is difficult to define because of the blurring of musical boundaries and continued evolution, this music changed the world and contributed to social change during the civil rights, anti-war, and women’s rights movements.

PIO 101-19 Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Understanding Leadership and Social Responsibility in Times of Identity Crisis

Faculty: Dr. Nkenge Friday, Diversity and Inclusion
This course examines the hit film, Black Panther, and ways leadership and social responsibility are illustrated through the lens of the cinematic universe. Students will be introduced to and analyze themes of the film that include leadership, social responsibility, identity, globalization, womanism, prejudice, and cultural obligation. Through this course, students will be guided through important conversations that will enhance the first year experience of academic discovery, cultivating of intellectual curiosity, fostering a broader understanding of the global society, and building a foundational understanding of cultural diversity.