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Provost Scott Furlong discussed Oswego's new infusion of first-year programs that incorporate popular culture and current events into the curriculum in a recent edition of the weekly "Tea for Teaching" podcast hosted by John Kane and Rebecca Mushtare of the college's Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.

In the podcast, Furlong talked about what he termed "passion courses," or classes Oswego faculty developed with a unique angle based on their own research specialization and interest, providing a non-traditional and innovative way for freshmen to explore a major or interdisciplinary topics. Among this fall's nine new signature offerings for first-year students are “'Winter is Coming': Bringing Even Stranger Things: Narrative in Popular Television," "Snapchat, Terror Cells and Six Degrees of Separation: The Mathematics of Networks," "The Injustice League: Crime, Justice and Inequality in Comic Books" and "Hakas, Hat Tricks, and Lambeau Leaps: The Theatricality of Sport."

At his previous campus, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Furlong helped launch and coordinate an effort to develop similar first-year classes to better capture student attention and try to ignite a passion for learning. In the podcast, he discusses the goals and process of bringing this approach to Oswego.

Kane, an economist, and Mushtare, a graphic designer, invite a range of guests from across the nation for the weekly podcast that provides what they term "an informal discussion of innovative and effective practices in teaching and learning." Listeners can browse the 47 (and counting) podcasts in the series at