Fall 2021 Quest 2 Courses

About UF

UF Quest invites students to consider why the world is the way it is and what they can do about it. Students examine questions that are difficult to answer and hard to ignore in a world that is swiftly changing and becoming increasingly more complex. In UF Quest 2, students draw upon the biological, physical or social and behavioral sciences to explore pressing questions about human societies and/or the planet.

The UF Quest 2 Requirement

Students who enter UF in or after Summer B 2021 are required take one Quest 2 course (either in their first or second year) to complete the UF Quest 2 requirement and to satisfy 3 credits of the General Education requirement in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Biological Sciences, or the Physical Sciences (see the UF Quest Requirement page for more information). Honors students are required to take an Honors Quest 2 course to complete the UF Quest 2 requirement. Some Quest 2 courses may also fulfill either the Diversity (D) or the International (N) requirement and/or count toward the Writing requirement. 

Quest 2 Courses

Click on the links below to learn more about the individual courses and to access course syllabi, which will be posted before the semester begins. Click the Campus, Honors, or UF Online button to filter by program or type in the search field to look for a particular subject, topic, instructor, etc.

For the day and periods that the classes meet, please consult the Schedule of Courses. A note is provided in One.UF for each Quest 1 and Quest 2 course so you can easily distinguish them.


IDS 2935: Be a Social Justice Activist
  • Instructor: K.L. Broad, Women's Studies
  • Class Number: 22329
  • Days and Periods: T Period 4, R Periods 4-5
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences, Diversity
  • Description: In the last five years in the US, we have seen some of the largest mass mobilizations ever, both in the streets and online. Additionally, today we are seeing a tremendous amount of organizing by excluded social groups, those with relatively less institutional, economic and political power. Many of these groups take action in social justice movements embracing an intersectional politics attentive to the interlocking dynamics of social exclusion based on race, gender, class, sexuality, and more. As well, a good many do their work online, especially via Twitter and hashtag activism. This course is designed to provide students with an overview of scholarship about social movement organizing, intersectionality, and hashtag activism. The course is designed with small class size, discussion-based lectures, and structured small group activities to create a space for students to answer, for themselves, the question: What can we do to create social change and social justice?


IDS 2935: Big Questions
  • Instructor: Zachary Slepian, Astronomy
  • Class Number: 25794
  • Days and Periods: T Period 3, R Periods 3-4
  •  Gen Ed: Physical Sciences, International, 2000 Words
  • Description: What is the nature of time? What is the nature of space (and space-time)? And where do we fit in? These are hard questions, and this course will not offer final answers. Rather, in this course, we will acquire the tools and language to think critically about these questions. We will thoroughly investigate some of the most interesting topics in contemporary physics— the arrow of time, irreversibility, quantum mechanics, cosmology—through the lens of these big questions. Throughout, we will attack these areas via many different channels. This class should be accessible to non-physics majors—indeed, to those with minimal technical background at all—so we will focus on the concepts, exploring the key ideas with almost no math. At the same time, we will mix in ideas from philosophy, history, and art that also bear on these questions. This will make the course relevant and exciting both for those who feel a strong affinity with the arts and humanities as well as for those for whom science resonates more.


IDS 2935: Bite Me? Insects as Disease Vectors
  • Instructor: Tolulope Agunbiade, Entomology and Nematology
  • Class Number: 22316
  • Days and Periods: M Period 4, W Periods 4-5
  •  Gen Ed: Biological Sciences, International 
  • Description: Arthropod-borne diseases represent some of the most dangerous and major challenges facing human health. They have shaped the course of history and have remained a threat. Everyone has, at one point or the other, been exposed to the nuisance and bites of arthropods and, therefore, potentially to the diseases they may carry. Factors such as the development of drug resistance, evolution of insecticide resistance, constantly changing climate, increased trade and human travel, unplanned urbanization, and changes in agricultural practices account for the emergence, reemergence and spread of these diseases. This is a multidisciplinary course that addresses the interactions of arthropods to humans and the environment. It presents pressing issues relating to the impact of arthropods in public health, and also explores challenging questions such as “what are the emerging issues in vector biology and disease epidemiology”? and “what can be done to manage or prevent the occurrence of arthropod-borne diseases”?
IDS 2935: Communities and Climate Change
  • Instructor: Stephen Mulkey, Biology
  • Class Number: 22321
  • Days and Periods: T Period 7, R Periods 7-8
  •  Gen Ed: Biological Sciences
  • Description: The community is where the impacts of climate and ecosystem disruption are experienced, and it will be the front line of adaptation to these impacts. This course provides an overview of anthropogenic climate change and helps students develop an understanding of local and regional resilience and adaptive responses to specific impacts of climate change.
  • Click here for Course Flyer
IDS 2935: Energy and Society
  • Instructor: Selman Hersfield, Physics
  • Class Number: 22323
  • Days and Periods: T Period 4, R Periods 4-5
  •  Gen Ed: Physical Sciences
  • Description: How will we meet our energy needs based on available resources in a way that is environmentally friendly, economically viable, fair, and politically attainable? This course examines this hard question from scientific, historical, technological, economic, and political perspectives.  No prior scientific background is assumed.
IDS 2935: Europe’s Food Environment
  • Instructor: Agata Kowalewska, European Studies
  • Class Number: 22319
  • Days and Periods:T Periods 8-9, R Period 8
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences 
  • Description: "Europe’s Food Environment" is a course that explores human health in the context of European physical and social environments of food production and consumption. It critically considers the continent's food security and nutrition in the context of the UN Agenda 2030 of Sustainable Development Goals. In the course, we will study the physiological needs of the human body with respect to nutrition, and the psychological needs of appetite and cultural customs. We will use the research methods of nutritional sciences to analyze nutrition-linked aspects of health.   

    Students will accomplish several activities such as quizzes, discussions, food-focused interviews, written and oral reflections.

    The course does not have any prerequisites. 

IDS 2935: Fighting Food Waste and Loss
  • Instructor: Tie Liu, Horticultural Sciences
  • Class Number: 22320
  • Days and Periods: T Periods 5-6, R Period 5
  •  Gen Ed: Biological Sciences, International 
  • Description: Food waste and loss affects us in many ways, ranging from important economic and social issues to environmental problems. We need to develop a sustainable environment for global food security, population growth, and human health. The course focuses on postharvest biology, environmental, food sciences, and communication technology in reducing food waste.
  • Course Flyer
IDS 2935: Global Patterns of STIs
  • Instructor: Gabriela Hamerlinck, Geography
  • Class Number: 22319
  • Days and Periods: T Period 4, R Periods 4-5
  •  Gen Ed: Biological Sciences, International  
  • Description: This class focuses on the geography of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which have discrete and interesting patterns. STIs are stigmatized and misunderstood by the public, and culture plays a major role in control, prevention, and transmission. We will examine different bacterial and viral STIs and their control and how culture impacts prevention
IDS 2935: Hazards and Humans
  • Instructor: Anita Marshall, Geological Sciences
  • Class Number: 22324
  • Days and Periods: MWF Period 7
  •  Gen Ed: Physcial Sciences, International 
  • Description: Natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and floods have devastating impacts on human lives. This course examines how scientific understanding can help us prepare for and minimize the impacts of natural disasters, how disasters affect different economic and social populations, and the cultural and historical ties to hazardous landscapes.
IDS 2935: Health Mythbusters
  • Instructor: Amber Emanuel, Health Education and Behavior
  • Class Number: 22693
  • Days and Periods: T Period 7, R Periods 7-8
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences
  • Description: In a world where so much information is at our fingertips, why are there persistent health myths? How can we help spread health information and squash misinformation? In this class, we will explore health myths related to exercise, food/nutrition, sexual health, mental well-being, alternative medicines, and the environment.
IDS 2935: Linguistic Prejudice
  • InstructorCaroline Wiltshire, Linguistics
  • Class Number: 25727
  • Days and Periods: MWF Period 4
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences, Diversity
  • Description: People who speak in nonstandard ways face linguistic prejudice, based on race, ethnicity, geographic origin, and more. We explore the relationships among language varieties, prejudice and real-world consequences, including discrimination in education, housing, healthcare, the justice system, etc., and address the question “what we can do to mitigate the effects of Linguistic Prejudice?”   
IDS 2935: Living and Eating on Earth
  • Instructor: James Estrada, Plant Science
  • Class Number: 22318
  • Days and Periods: MWF Period 4
  •  Gen Ed: Biological Sciences, International
  • Description: How can we feed a global population that could exceed 10 billion by 2050? Can we increase food production while still protecting the environment? This class examines the complex relationship between humans, their food, and the environment that sustains them both. Students will explore these themes through reflection on personal beliefs and behaviors, analysis of pressing agricultural and environmental issues, and evaluation of potential solutions for sustainable production. Major themes include agriculture and environmental policies, global trends in population growth, climate change and food security, and how personal and cultural perceptions of food affect trends in consumption and conservation. While these themes will primarily be considered at the global level, local/regional policies and trends may be presented as context for classroom discussions and activities.


IDS 2935: Race, Class, and Inequality in Education
  • Instructor: Christopher Busey, School of Teaching and Learning
  • Class Number: 22692
  • Days and Periods: T Periods 5-6, R Period 5
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences, Diversity
  • Description: Why is separate but unequal still our educational reality? In 2021, we find ourselves 67-years removed from the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board decision, yet studies show that our educational institutions, both K-12 and university, remain racially segregated and unequally resourced. The course Race, Class, and Inequality explores why schools are still segregated along racial and class-based lines, and what happens in these schools to further perpetuate inequality. Students will draw from experiential learning, data analysis, and other research methodologies to examine this persistent issue in U.S. society and propose constructive solutions.
IDS 2935: Rhetoric & Privacy in the Digital Age
  • Instructor: Angela Bascik, University Writing Program
  • Class Number: 22328
  • Days and Periods: T Period 4, R Periods 4-5
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences, 2000 Words
  • Description: Increasingly we find ourselves living under ubiquitous surveillance. We are tracked as we shop, as we travel, as we work, as we drive, even as we sleep or brush our teeth. Our digital searches for information reveal our vacation plans, our health concerns, our hobbies, and our political opinions. The new "internet of things" also generates data on us and expands surveillance opportunities for companies, data brokers, and governments. In this relationship we are often no longer in control of drawing the line between what we wish to keep private and what we are willing to make public. This data can help others use or shape us by predicting our behaviors, curating what we see or hear, placing persuasive messaging in our path, and motivating us to take actions we might not have taken without that surveillance and the curated messaging that follows it.

    Students will learn to analyze the impact of this pervasive digital surveilance on their individual lives and on society as a whole using qualitative social science research methods to examine the concept of privacy in the digital age.


IDS 2935: Statistics and the Physical World
  • Instructor: Lawrence Winner, Statistics
  • Class Number: 22325
  • Days and Periods: MWF Period 4
  •  Gen Ed: Physical Sciences
  • Description: This course is an introduction to Statistics and the scientific method with applications in the physical sciences. It is general education and will make use of various sources of information, including applied academic journal articles, mainstream media, weblogs, and a course notes packet. General topics will include: Describing Data, Measurement, Basic Probability/Bayes’ Rule, Random Variables/Probability Distributions, Basics of Statistical Inference and Experimentation, t-tests, Analysis of Variance, Factorial Designs, Categorical Data Analysis, Linear and Logistic Regression. Computer procedures and graphics will make use of the R computer language. Applications will include: describing speed of light measurements, interpreting probabilities involving weather, historical problems leading to the study of probability, describing distributions of physical measurements, and modeling trends in weather data.
IDS 2935: The Future of Tropical Rainforest
  • Instructor: Emilio Bruna, Wildlife Ecology
  • Class Number: 22317
  • Days and Periods: T Period 4, R Periods 4-5
  •  Gen Ed: Biological Sciences, International
  • Description: Tropical Rain Forests play a vital role in the daily life of every person on Earth, yet they are being cleared worldwide at unprecedented rates. Students will investigate the same fundamental questions that motivate rain forest researchers around the world. Why are we fascinated by tropical rain forests? What gave rise to their astounding biodiversity? How have humans historically used and modified rain forests? What are the causes and consequences of contemporary deforestation? Finally, what can we do to ensure tropical rain forests have a future?
IDS 2935: Wealth and Poverty in Today's World
  • Instructor: Renata Serra, Center for African Studies
  • Class Number: 25724
  • Days and Periods: T Period 7, R Periods 7-8
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences, International
  • Description: What is poverty? Howdo wemeasure wealth?Whyaresomepeople andcountries rich and others poor?Is thegap between the haves and haves notdestined to increase?What does it take to lift people out of poverty andcreatemore economically just and inclusive societies?  

    The course provides students the skills and knowledge to examine the key factors that determine wealth accumulation as well as processes of impoverishment; to uncover how inequalities in income and wealth intersect with other social factors, including race, ethnicity, age and gender; and to explore potential solutions to addressincreasing inequality and persistentpoverty. These themesare analyzed bothin the domestic context,by exploring realities in the US and our local community,and internationally,by comparing rich andpoorworld nations, including in Africa. 

IDS 2935: What can social science tell us about happiness and living a happier life?
  • Instructor: Michael Weigold, Advertising
  • Class Number: 25726
  • Format: Online Asynchronous
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences
  • Description: Even before the pandemic of 2020, polls suggested that Americans are less happy than at any time in the past thirty years.  Following over two decades of research, social scientists have shared insights about the things that do and don't make us happy.  This course explains the science behind these discoveries, reveals the secrets themselves, and offers students an opportunity to incorporate habits, activities, and practices that can help them to lead to a more fulfilling life.
IDS 2935: What if there was no Stigma in Mental Health?
  • Instructor:  Paul Maxfield, Human Development and Organizational Studies
  • Class Number: 27031
  • Days and Periods: T Periods 8-9, R Period 8
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences, Diversity, 2000 Words
  • Description: What if there was no stigma related to mental health problems in the U.S.? How would our lived experiences be changed, and what outcomes would improve? The purpose of this course is to explore stigma related to mental health from a social-cultural lens, including confronting myths and misperceptions, exploring intra and interpersonal skills that lead to optimal mental health, and challenging perceptions to create societal and personal change. To meet this aim, the course will explore the root causes of mental health stigma, and why it remains pervasive by examining facets of today’s culture. The arts, media, and historical and social science disciplines’ portrayals of mental health will be deconstructed and regenerated through group discourse and hands-on activities. Students will acquire critical skills to effectively analyze, respond, and take action to counter current policies, practices, and beliefs that perpetuate the stigmatization of mental health.  
IDS 2935: Why Chemistry Matters
  • Instructor: Gail Fanucci, Chemistry
  • Class Number: 22322
  • Days and Periods: MWF Period 4
  •  Gen Ed: Physical Sciences, Diversity 
  • Description: This cross-disciplinary Quest 2 course examines “Why Chemistry Matters” through analysis and discussion of topics (e.g. agriculture, materials, energy, medicine, human health, nature and the environment) represented in two popular public-facing science novels “The Disappearing Spoon” and “Napoleon’s Buttons” – all focused on aspects of chemical innovations used to tackle problems in society in the past scrutinizing how societal needs and disparities motivate chemical innovation along with the sometimes unintended consequences of how dual-use chemical technologies negatively impact society and diverse groups. The course extends these examples to social and political problems of today and the future; asking “How can Chemistry can help alleviate or answer current and arising challenges in our world today?”, and “How has chemical innovation been motivated by and impacted diverse groups of people?” Take for an example the current coronavirus outbreak. How can scientists, in general work to aid in reducing the spread and impact of this current pandemic? How will this pandemic impact policy and influence global economy? How will economic diversity impact vaccination implementations and future vaccine availability? How do different groups of people respond to vaccination in general? By discussing and examining situations of the past, students will gain a deeper understanding of both the chemical discoveries and innovations over the last two centuries as well gain insights into how political/societal events and chemistry were and continue to be connected.
IDS 2935: Why Do We Have So Much Stuff?
  • Instructor: Susan Gillespie, Anthropology
  • Class Number: 25721
  • Days and Periods: T Period 6, R Periods 6-7
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences
  • Description: Modern nations are afflicted by hyper-consumption, overrun by the mass quantities of goods their members purchase, display, and inevitably dispose of.  This situation is completely unsustainable and morally bankrupt, even as it drives global economies.  Yet consumption begins with decisions made by individual consumers.  We tackle the problem of why consumers accumulate stuff by analyzing the social and meaningful relationships people create with their possessions.


IDS 2935: Empathy & Instagram
  • Instructor: Lisa Athearn, Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication
  • Class Number: 22327
  • Days and Periods: T Period 4, R Periods 4-5
  •  Gen Ed: Social Sciences, Diversity
  • Honors: Yes
  • Description: The ability to feel with another person or culture is a key component to our society. As such, empathy is an essential element to sparking compassion and social growth, both individually and as a nation. We have never before had so many social media tools to help us share our stories with others; however recent studies suggest that empathy seems to be on the decline in the US. This course investigates how we can we promote everyday empathy via social media. Several important questions will be posed: What is an empathic response via social media (e.g. can emoji’s adequately express empathy?)? What role does communication and critical thinking play in the development and expression of empathetic listening via social media? How can we build empathic responses and develop ‘best practices’ for expressing empathy online? The Empathy & Instagram Quest 2 course examines the complex relationship between humans, communication, technology and empathy. Students will explore these themes through participatory discussions, observational analysis, self-reflections and evaluation. Students will build concrete skills that will help support and promote empathy within our technological world.