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Course Schedule

 

FALL 2017 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS 

 

MALS 70000 - Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies CRN# 36294  

“Decoding Celebrity: Georgia O’Keeffe as Case Study”

Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. 4419, 3 credits, Prof. Linda Grasso (grasso@york.cuny.edu)


What is celebrity? How is it achieved? What purposes does it serve? In this course, we explore these questions using twentieth-century painter Georgia O’Keeffe as a focal point. Reading cultural criticism, history, autobiography, and popular culture biography, we consider the ways in which O’Keeffe’s celebrity enables an understanding of larger issues such as how celebrities are commodified and consumed by a variety of constituencies for a multitude of reasons. Viewing works of art, photographs, advertisements, documentaries, and You Tube videos, we also consider the complex ways in which celebrity images are created and circulated in multiple public domains. Conducted as a research seminar, the course requires students to study texts intensively, design and execute a research project, and share findings with peers.

 

MALS 70000 - Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies CRN# 36295

“Envisioning the Body”

Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. 4419, 3 credits, Prof. Elizabeth Wissinger (ewissinger@gc.cuny.edu)

 

What do the Kardashians have to do with contemporary race and gender politics? How do fashionable images play into world power relations? How is today’s explosive availability of images affecting concepts of selfhood, agency, and bodily worth? 

 

This course will explore theories of visualization technologies and bodies, taking students from classic approaches to ways of seeing through an interdisciplinary trajectory encompassing media, feminist, cultural, and sociological studies of how the body is performed and iterated through evolving technological frames. Representation, always a thorny issue, has philosophical, sociological, scientific, and political implications. These implications are urgently in need of interrogation as digital culture has pushed the primacy of the image in social life to the extreme, where a picture can speak a thousand words  (or launch a thousand tweets). 

 

Using curated readings to guide our thinking, we will make use of the vibrant visual culture of online and social media, as well as visit key examples of the cultural institutions, built environment, and streets of NYC, to explore how the body is constructed by the gaze of cinema, diced and sliced by the glance of television, and shattered into bits by the digitization of the internet and social media. Throughout, we will consider the role of the malleable body, artifice and authenticity, gender politics, and the rise of self-branding as it feeds into neoliberal values and biopolitical frames. 

 

MALS 70000 - Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies CRN # 36296

Thursdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 4419, 3 credits, Prof. Karen Miller (kamiller@lagcc.cuny.edu)

 

Is the United States an empire? If so, what might that mean? If not, what other metaphors can we use to explain U.S. global relations? We will examine transformations of U.S. global power and international relations from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present. Clearly, the United States does not hold political sovereignty over a broad range of colonies. Aside from the 50 United States, the U.S. holds Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, the Northern Marianas, and American Samoa. But, the U.S. has the largest military in the world, sustains the world’s biggest economy, and has unparalleled political power. That power is constantly shifting, under continuous challenge, and never as complete as U.S. leaders would like. Our task in this class is to interrogate that power, to understand how it emerged and changed over time, to explore its relationship to other forms of global power and other colonial projects, to examine the dynamics and contradictions that animate it, to consider its limits, and to understand its challengers. We will also explore how global engagements have transformed the United States’ domestic terrain: just as the U.S. helps shape the world, the world also changes the United States, through immigration, culture, commerce, and other connections. Our interdisciplinary study of these questions will be organized both chronologically and thematically. Students will be asked to write frequently and to produce a final paper. 

 

MALS 70000 - Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies CRN # 36297
"Tragedy: Classical, Modern, Postmodern"
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. 6421, 3 credits, Prof. Maureen Fadem (Maureen.Fadem@kbcc.cuny.edu)

This course assesses tragedy across time, from its roots in classical Greece through to the contemporary moment. In a broad sense, we will read tragedy over the long arc of Western (literary) history in order to think through the politics and history of the genre. Through an analytic frame linking postcolonial and poststructural theories, we’ll ask why has tragedy seen a resurgence in recent times? Why is it this genre, particularly, that intercepts, interrupts and inspires the postmodern and postcolonial literary imagination? And why is intertextual writing so often linked to earlier tragedies? Also interesting is to explore why tragedy is a creative structure and motif to which writers turn in conditions of political strife—situations of intractable conflict or eras of substantial social change. Tragedy is deeply political, a type of work that compels our interrogation of its ‘exalted’ canonical legacy while also impelling us to ask how, as Robert Williams Jr. argues in Savage Anxieties, it has functioned (along with the Homeric epics) as agent, establishing and maintaining the ideology of Western civilization and consolidating imperialist and patriarchal discourses. Equally and paradoxically, why do the concerns of tragedy—justice, revenge, ethics, heroism, the private and the public—make it serviceable to writers who are critical of those very discourses? That is, contemporary authors of Africa, Asia, Ireland and America—figures like Tom Paulin, Marina Carr and Colm Toíbín, Michael Ondaatje and Wole Soyinka, Spike Lee and Toni Morrison. Starting with an examination of tragedy’s genesis, we’ll read a number of Greek plays followed by looking at the early modern form and how it changes (and doesn’t) in the hands of Renaissance dramatists working in a quite different moment and milieu. Lastly, we’ll read contemporary tragedies in the genres that hold sway in late modernity (fiction and film, with theatre continuing). Each tragedy will be paired with theory and criticism. We’ll look at tragedy theory, the long-established interpretations (Aristotle, Nietzsche, Miller, George Eliot, Hume, others), the Marxist treatments (Lukács, Benjamin, Williams, others) and responses by contemporary thinkers who find in tragedy a new (political, poetical) urgency (Eagleton, Cleary, Butler, others). Students in this seminar will actively participate in the production of knowledge; they will write and share weekly reflections, make a presentation on at least one reading, and write a comprehensive term paper with clear methodological grounding.
 

MALS 70200 – Metropolis: A Political, Historical, and Sociological Profile of New York CRN# 36298 
Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 4419, 3 credits, Prof. Libby Garland (Libby.Garland@kbcc.cuny.edu)

 

This interdisciplinary course will explore New York City’s rise and role as the nation’s metropolis, examining several key themes in the city’s development.  In particular, we will look at Gotham as a center of work, culture and residency as well as at the diverse populations that have called the city home through its four-century history.  We will examine New York City from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including history, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science.

 

MALS 70300 - Law, Politics, and Policy CRN# 36299
“Immigration, the State, and Justice: On The Margins of Membership” 

Tuesdays 4:15-6:15pm, Rm. 3207, 3 credits, Prof. Monica Varsanyi (mvarsanyi@jjay.cuny.edu)

 

 With a focus on immigration (as opposed to immigrants), our primary task is to interrogate and explore the ways in which the state mediates and controls the membership and movement of people across national boundaries and within the territory of the nation-state, both historically and in the contemporary era. In exploring the changing relationship between migrants and the state, we will define “state” broadly to include the local, national, and supranational. Topics include, inter alia, the changing landscape and rescaling of immigrant enforcement, the construction of migrant illegality, the role of discretion in immigration enforcement, deportation and detention, debates over immigration and criminality, and the expanding “crimmigration” system. While the class focuses most specifically on the US context, international examples will also be discussed and papers based on international case studies are welcome. 

  

MALS 71000 – Forms of Life Writing CRN# 36300
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. 6421, 3 credits, Prof. Brenda Wineapple

"To live over people's lives," wrote Henry James, "is nothing unless we live over their perceptions, live over the growth, the change, the varying intensity of the same-- since it was by these things they themselves lived."  This course will interrogate various forms of so-called "life writing" (biography/fictional biography/memoir) to investigate the meaning, aims, ethics, pitfalls, and possibilities of the genre as practiced in literature.  We will therefore examine a wide range of topics: the relation between fact and fiction; the significance of politics and historical context; the impact of individual psychology; point of view in narration; the function of imagination; the use or exploitation of marginal figures.  And to the extent that biographical narratives depend on the creation of character, this course looks closely at how such characters are created from real people: how a living, breathing person seems to arise out of a mass of sometimes contradictory “facts”; how characters are made to change, that is, if they do; how characters can make a story move; and of course how or if traditional forms of biographical writing might be liberated from its brick-like borders. 

Writers/books will likely include such authors as Lytton Strachey, Natalie Zemon Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre), Virginia Woolf, Richard Holmes (Footsteps), Janet Malcolm (on Sylvia Plath biographies), Henry James, The Aspern Papers, Adam Phillips on Freud and biography, Julia Blackburn and her biographical inventions about Daisy Bates, Robert A. Caro on Lyndon Johnson, Hilton Als.

 

MALS 71400 - Introduction to International Studies CRN# 36301
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. 3207, 3 credits, Prof. Tomohisa Hattori (tomohisa.hattori@lehman.cuny.edu)

 

The two main purposes of this course are to introduce you to theoretically informed historical analyses of international relations (IR) and to help you apply one of the theories of IR to an international subject of your choice.  While the historical contexts and theories of IR will help you engage in further studies in IR, your paper will enhance your understanding of how you may gain social scientific knowledge by reviewing relevant theoretical literature, conceptualizing your subject matter, developing research questions, figuring out how to answer them, gathering information about them, organizing the research result as evidence for your answer to the research question, and developing your answer as an argument about a particular phenomenon or relationship on the chosen topic in the context of existing theoretical arguments. 

 

MALS 72300 – Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies CRN#  36302
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. 5382, 3 credits, Prof. James Wilson (jwilson1@gc.cuny.edu)

 

In Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us Kate Bornstein writes, “The first question we usually ask new parents is: ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’” Bornstein recommends the response, “We don’t know; it hasn’t told us yet.” This course explores the ways in which gender and sexuality are pronounced, embodied, and negotiated within specific historical and cultural contexts. Through a close reading of interdisciplinary, foundational, and recent scholarship the class will examine and theorize the ways in which categories of gender and sexuality inform and shape our understanding of the world. Investigating the intersections and collisions of gender and sexuality with race, class, ability, nationality, ethnicity, and age, the class will consider societal and institutional systems of power, privilege, oppression, and marginalization. Course requirements include an oral presentation, two 4-6 page response papers, and a 15-20 page, staged researched essay.

 

MALS 72600 - Social Impacts of Science and Technology: Case Studies CRN# 36304

Online, 3 credits, Prof. Joseph Dauben (jdauben@lehman.cuny.edu)

This course will examine some of the great discoveries in science and inventions of technology that have changed the course of human history, with a view to assessing their origins, impact, and eventual consequences, both foreseen and unintended. Through individual case studies, from the origins of agriculture and exploitation of the arch to atomic energy and genetic engineering, we will investigate human ingenuity across time and in particular parts of the world, including studies of such individuals as Galileo, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein, or such comparative contexts as ancient Greece versus Han-dynasty China, or modern societies contrasting the roles of science and technology in modern Britain and Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union and communist China.
 
This is a writing intensive, wholly on-line, digital course designed to engage students for more than the usual in-class two-hour seminar. Using the interactive resources of Blackboard, the instructor and seminar participants will be able to interact throughout each week, during which discussion and elaboration of written material will provide opportunities to probe deeply into the subject matter for each week’s discussion. Among questions we will be considering: What led ancient civilizations to advance from superstitious explanations of natural phenomena relying on magic and religion to the rational and scientific explanations associated with the Greek “miracle” and its later development, especially in technology, by the Romans? How did science and technology differ in ancient Greece or China during the Han dynasty, and what were the social reasons for and consequences of such differences? How did discovery of the arch or the use of concrete by the ancient Romans affect both the economy and character of urbanization? What were the social consequences for both science and religion of the Inquisition’s trial and condemnation of Galileo? What have been the major consequences of the Industrial Revolution in different parts of the world? How did Darwinian evolution challenge models of society in the 19th century, and how should the development of creationism and its critics in the 20th century be understood? What moral and ethical questions arise from the development and use of the atomic bomb during World War II? Has science been affected differently in democratic or capitalistic societies like Britain or the US, as opposed to socialist or communist countries like the former Soviet Union or post-Mao China? How did the rise of large laboratory science and competition for such rewards at the Nobel Prize affect the race to discover the double-helical structure of DNA and the sequencing of the human genome? How have computers and mass media, including new technologies and the internet, affected societies around the world in the 21st century? These are just a few of the topics this course will explore through the lens of science, technology, and their interactions with and influence on society in general.
  
Upon successful completion of this course, students will possess a basic understanding of the methods, concepts, and theories employed by scholars concerned with science and technology studies, who approach their subjects from diverse perspectives. Student progress will be measured on the basis of their class participation, written work, and PowerPoint presentations designed to combine visual with textual information in ways that are uniquely instructive and at the same time make use of the entire spectrum of electronic resources available to students via the internet.
 

MALS 72700 - The Political Ecology of Social and Environmental Justice CRN# 36779

Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 4419, 3 credits, Prof. Michael Lamb (Mike.Lamb@mhc.cuny.edu)

 

This course introduces various social science approaches to problems of social and environmental justice drawn from environmental psychology, anthropology, geography and critical studies.   Using a multidisciplinary framework that emphasizes both a scientific and ethical commitment to social justice and to understanding human/non-human-environment interactions, students will participate in constructing an integrated model of current social and environmental problems that will aid them in their future research and application.  A series of social justice and environmental issues will be surveyed each exploring different approaches and concepts so that students emerge with the ability to make effective and thoughtful choices about the constructs they employ when framing problems.  The course will require extensive reading and discussion in class concluding with a final fieldwork or literature review project in preparation for their later coursework.  The objective of this course is to provide a broad, intellectual base to the understanding of social and environmental justice as a values position as well as a form of practice to be employed in student’s ongoing research and work.

 

MALS 73100 - American Culture and Values CRN# 36305
“The Object(s) of American Studies: History, Method, & Praxis”

Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. 4419, 3 credits, Prof. Justin Rogers-Cooper (jrogers@lagcc.cuny.edu)

Russ Castronovo and Susan Gillman begin the introduction to their collection States of Emergency: The Object of American Studies (2009), with a deceptively straightforward question: “What is the object of American studies?” They continue by unpacking the ramifications of that question, in particular by noting its imbrication in two corollary questions: “What does ‘American studies’ study, and what does it want?” For all of its centrality, after all, American studies remains an anomaly in the academy - as a program and not a department it resides somewhere between (or, perhaps, outside) normative disciplinary boundaries. The object of this course is to explore these questions by considering the histories, theories, and practices of American studies from its inception as an academic discipline to the present. In other words, we will consider how in the span of about sixty-five years – using the first publication of American Quarterly in 1949 as a marker of discernable communal birth – American studies transformed from a movement into an institution (an institution marked by one of the largest annual academic conferences in the United States). As we undertake these questions, we will also address the present state “American” studies and whether it’s best understood in tension with such concepts as the “transnational," as a vocabulary of keywords, or perhaps even as a constellation of emerging or converging set of inter-disciplinary sub-fields, such as critical race and ethnic studies and/or queer of color feminism. In addition to our discussions, we will conduct workshops that guide assignments related to key publication genres in the discipline, including the book review, the conference abstract, the keyword, and the event review. 

 

MALS 73400 - Africana Studies: Introduction CRN#  36306
"Politics and Government of NYC"

Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room 6114, 3 credits,  Prof. John Mollenkopf (jmollenkopf@gc.cuny.edu)
Cross-listed with  AFCP 73100, PSC 82510, and SOC 82800


MALS 74500 - Great Digs: important sites of the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic Worlds CRN#  36307
Thursdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 6421, 3 credits, Prof. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis (emacaulay_lewis@gc.cuny.edu)

 

This course introduces students to archaeological methods and important archaeological sites from the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds. The course assumes no previous knowledge of archaeology. The two primary methods of archaeological inquiry—excavation and survey—are first introduced, discussed and problematized in this course. We will then consider specific sites – cities, towns and, in certain cases, residences – to understand how archaeology has contributed to our knowledge of these sites. Sites, such as Athens, Alexandria, Rome, Palmyra, Jerusalem and others, will each be the focus of a lecture or seminar. By the end of the course students will gain a knowledge of the principles of archaeological excavation and survey; an understanding of major classes of archaeological evidence and key archaeological theories; some of the important issues and challenges, such as war and cultural destruction, confronting archaeologists today; and a knowledge of important archaeological sites from the Classical, Late Antique and Islamic worlds.

 

MALS 75400 - Introduction to Digital Humanities   CRN#  36309
Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 5383, 3 credits, Profs. Anne Donlon and Stephen Brier
Cross-listed with IDS 81680

The dramatic growth of the Digital Humanities (DH) over the past half dozen years has helped scholars re-imagine the very nature and forms of academic research and teaching across a range of scholarly disciplines, encompassing the arts, the interpretive social sciences, and traditional humanities subject areas. This course will explore the history of the digital humanities, focusing especially on the diverse pioneering projects and core texts that ground this innovative methodological and conceptual approach to scholarly inquiry and teaching.  It will also emphasize ongoing debates in the digital humanities, such as the problem of defining the digital humanities, the question of whether DH has (or needs) theoretical grounding, controversies over new models of peer review for digital scholarship, issues related to collaborative labor on digital projects, and the problematic questions surrounding research involving “big data.” The course will also emphasize the ways in which DH has helped transform the nature of academic teaching and pedagogy in the contemporary university with its emphasis on collaborative, student-centered and digital learning environments and approaches. Along the way, we will discuss broad social, legal and ethical questions and concerns surrounding digital media and contemporary culture, including privacy, intellectual property, and open/public access to knowledge and scholarship. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions and online postings (including on blogs and wikis) and to research and write a final multimedia presentation on a key topic in the digital humanities. Students completing the course will gain broad knowledge about and understanding of the emerging role of the digital humanities across several academic disciplines and will begin to learn some of the fundamental skills used often in digital humanities projects.

 

Note: this course is part of the "Digital Praxis Seminar," a two-semester long introduction to digital tools and methods that will be open to all students in the Graduate Center. The goal of the course is to introduce graduate students to various ways in which they can incorporate digital research into their work.

 

MALS 75600 - Sustainability and Human Ecodynamics CRN#  36308
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 6493, 3 credits, Prof. Sophia Perdikaris (sophiap@brooklyn.cuny.edu)

 

Sustainability for environments, economies, and societies (the triple bottom line) has become a central objective that unites disciplines in sciences, arts, and humanities; engages educators, activists, policy makers, NGO’s and indigenous rights organizations; and is prioritized by multiple international organizations. However, the term and concept have acquired a range of interpretations and understandings–some mutually incompatible–and there is an ongoing need to provide a common knowledge base and vocabulary, and to effectively connect education and activism for sustainability with cutting-edge method and theory in resilience, robustness, vulnerability. This course will provide a grounding in the basic literature and vocabulary of sustainability science and education, expose students to a range of interdisciplinary case studies, and engage them directly with cutting edge resilience and sustainability scholars and ongoing field research and cross-disciplinary integration.

 

The intensive course will provide students with multi-disciplinary perspective on sustainability (on a variety of temporal and spatial scales), tools for assessing resilience and vulnerabilities in linked social-ecological systems (SES), an extensive set of readings/on-line resources on different aspects of sustainability research and introduce them to scholars and organizations engaged in sustainability science and education. The course will present case studies in interdisciplinary human ecodynamics research as focal points for readings and discussion, and will include interactions (live or virtual) with scholars directly involved in the case studies, NGO representatives, and active field researchers. This course establishes a common vocabulary and knowledge base, bibliography, and scholarly contacts for further work and specialization by students intending to pursue studies focusing on sustainability approaches in biosciences, geosciences, social sciences, environmental history, policy and development studies, environmental activism, and education for sustainability.

 

MALS 77100 - Aesthetics of Film CRN# 36310
Tuesdays, 4:15-8:15 p.m., Rm. C419, 3 credits, Prof. Racquel Gates (racquel.gates@csi.cuny.edu)

Cross listed with FSCP 81000 and THEA 71400

 

This course emphasizes a formal approach to viewing, interpreting, and critically engaging with film. We will organize the semester around a single provocation. How do the formal aspects of film (and media) make blackness comprehensible? In other words, how did audiences learn to recognize blackness, in a visual as well as in a thematic sense, beginning with early cinema? And, what are the formal elements that have since become synonymous with blackness on screen? In order to answer these questions, we will examine a wide array of film and media texts and analyze how mise-en-scene, narrative, cinematography, editing, sound, and genre invented the codes of cinematic blackness. We will also look at the ways that Black filmmakers and performers have used aesthetics to directly interrogate and challenge the limiting tropes typically associated with the black image on screen.

We will use the eleventh edition of David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s textbook, Film Art: An Introduction, as the primer for the course, and we will also read several other books that explicitly address the relationship between aesthetics and race. These include Richard Dyer’s White, Nicole Fleetwood’s Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness, Krista Thompson’s Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice, and Phillip Brian Harper’s Abstractionist Aesthetics: Artistic Form and Social Critique in African American Culture. Screenings will consist of a mix of classic and newer titles, films produced in Hollywood as well as those made by independent filmmakers. Some of these include Birth of a Nation (D.W. Griffith, 1915), Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1934), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Stanley Kramer, 1967), Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1990), Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (Spike Lee, 2014), and Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016).

Students will complete weekly reading reports and a final paper on the topic of their choice.

 

MALS 77400 - International Migration CRN# 36314

“Undocumented, Illegal, Citizen: The Politics and Psychology of Belonging in the United States”

Thursdays, 4:15-6:15pm, Rm. 3309, 3 credits, Profs. Colette Daiute and David Caicedo (CDaiute@gc.cuny.edu)

Cross-listed with IDS 81620 , PSYC 80103, U ED 75100

 

This course will focus on the recent history of citizenship challenges, as related to contemporary migration and higher education. The current movements of people fleeing violence and injustice worldwide have been met with some innovative policies, yet also with fences, detentions, travel bans, and other means. After reviewing such migration patterns and reactions, we focus, in particular, on the politics and psychology of what it means to belong in the U.S. today, officially and unofficially. Interestingly, much of this process has been mediated in public higher education, especially the community college. Course topics include history of 21st century migration, the Dream Act, DACA, DAPA, state policies, social movements, human rights treaties, and critical education programs as mechanisms of change. We also consider diverse perspectives on the issues, such as by generations of refugees, unaccompanied children, sanctuary movements, and relevant contexts, primarily higher education but also agricultural and domestic employment, child/family detention centers, and public media. As an offering in the “Futures Initiative,” the course design will be adaptable to students’ interests.  Pending student goals, for example, we will focus on projects such as a) considering different ways of thinking about contemporary migration and citizenship; b) examining databases of narratives, survey responses, and conversations by students and faculty reflecting on the role of the community college for belonging in America; c) developing methods for examining discriminatory language and action; d) curating debates in blogs about migration and human rights; e) interacting with initiatives like “CUNY Citizenship Now!” and Dreamer clubs;  f) developing a tool kit of analytic methods sensitive to social science and humanities inquiries. The course involves reading scholarly articles, policy documents, reporting on relevant innovations, writing reflection papers, and designing practice-based research projects.

 

MALS 78100 - Issues in Urban Education CRN# 36311

Rethinking Higher Education for the Knowledge Economy

Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 3309, 3 credits, Profs. Ann Kirschner and Gilda Barabino (ann.kirschner@cuny.edu)

Cross-listed with UED 75100, IDS 81660, and SOC 84503

 

What does it take to prepare students for success in the 21st century? This graduate seminar will explore innovations in higher education, with a special focus on technology and new pathways that lead to lifelong learning.

The course will be interdisciplinary in its approach, and will look at the web of assumptions about democracy and social mobility that underlie the American system of higher education. It is appropriate for future faculty members, administrators, or anyone who plans a career in education or public policy, or is interested in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship in education.

Leaving aside the philosophical question of what constitutes “success,” we start with a set of observations:

  • For the foreseeable future, the majority of good paying jobs will require some kind of
  • postsecondary education.
  • America’s faith in the importance of a college degree is, however, declining among prospective students and their families. About half of today’s graduates question the value of their diploma.
  • The undergraduate student body has changed dramatically: what was once the “nontraditional” student—older, working, diverse, more likely to be first generation to graduate from college, more likely to transfer at least once—is now the mainstream of America’s 20 million college students.
  • Liberal arts majors are less and less popular, as students grapple with the challenge of debt, pragmatic concerns about employability, and outmoded pedagogy and curricula.
  • University curriculum and pedagogy in technology-related majors cannot keep up with the velocity of change in the private sector, a misalignment that will only increase in the future. Moreover, as computer science enrollments grow, universities struggle to maintain adequate instructional capacity.

And a set of questions, intended to be broad and provocative:

  • Is higher education set up to serve today’s students?
  • Is the college diploma the future “coin of the realm” for students? For employers?
  • Is the six year graduation rate the right standard of success? What are possible new pathways to success? Should college be shorter? Longer? In residence? Online?
  • Is “vocational” vs. “academic” an anachronistic construct? In an era when the majority of students say they go to college to get a job, how should we think about balancing career-consciousness vs. intellectual aspiration?
  • Should every student study coding? Shakespeare? How will student confidence in their diploma be affected by the need to pursue high tuition “boot camp” programs to gain employment in competitive new economy jobs?
  • Most employers use a college degree as a proxy for skills attainment; that confidence is perhaps the most important asset of higher education. If we lose this confidence either through outmoded curriculum or more reliable or more precise forms of skills assessment, what happens to the value of higher education?
  • What is the role of experiential learning: internships, study abroad, undergraduate research?
  • What pedagogies or newfangled approaches to the disciplines produce the kind of critical thinking that employers say they want? What is critical thinking, anyway?

Imagine a child of six today, graduating from high school in 2028. What do we think college will look like and how do we get ready for that student?

The course will be conducted in a seminar format, emphasizing class presentations and participation. There will be visitors drawn from leaders in higher education and technology. Students will interview students and leaders at other universities, as well as corporate leaders. Each seminar meeting will include a weekly lightning round, where each student will present an article/new study. Some may elect to be embedded with companies for group strategy projects.

As a final assignment, students will choose an area of innovation and present a case for CUNY adoption.


MALS 78900 - Childhood and Youth Studies: Approaches and Methods CRN#   36312
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 6421, 3 credits, Prof. Roger Hart (rhart@gc.cuny.edu)
Cross-listed with PSYC 80103

This seminar offers an introduction to how childhood and youth is investigated across the different disciplines of psychology, the social sciences and the humanities. Beginning with the recognition that concepts of childhood and adolescence are socially constructed and vary across culture and historical periods, we will examine how our shifting conceptions of childhood both align and clash with the way children actually live. This will include childhood experiences that challenge the historically recent notions of a “protected” and “innocent” childhood and such issues as child sex, child labor, child soldiers and child criminals. We will examine how different institutions, discourses and systems shape how childhood is experienced: including family, school, the juvenile system, media and consumer culture.  While attending to the force of structural inequalities in cultural and economic arrangements, we will not risk rendering children passive or invisible; we will recognize the methodological strides that have been made in recent years by researchers in working with rather than on or about children.

 
MALS 79600 - Thesis Workshop  CRN#  36313
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. 6495, 1 credit, Prof. George Fragopoulos (GFragopoulos@qcc.cuny.edu)