Category Archives: Curriculum

Honors Course: Globalization Trends and World Issues

Are you interested in international issues? Do you see yourself working for the United Nations, World Bank or other large, international organization? Do you see yourself working for a government helping to establish policy on such issues as telecommunications, environmental issues, security and commerce? Do you enjoy the complexity of critical, yet messy and delicate, international problems?

If so, I’d like to invite you to consider taking a class this fall.
The course is entitled “Globalization Trends and World Issues.”

This course is designed around a 3 day (free!) trip to Washington D.C. in which students will participate in an intensive seminar and simulation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The CSIS is an international policy think tank, which provides strategic insights and policy solutions to decision makers in government, international institutions, the private sector, and civil society.  At the end of the semester the students will present their policy briefs to a panel of experts from CSIS.

The class has the potential to inspire students and to help them build their future network. Since the end of the last iteration of this class two of the students have gone on to Internships at CSIS. Another secured an internship with the Department of State working on International Policy. Three students have travelled abroad and another was awarded a prestigious international award.
 
One student said, “IST 445H has greatly changed my worldview. I learned so much in the class about globalization, international politics and economics, and non-Amerocentric perspectives on current issues, which has affected me greatly. Because of my experiences in IST 445H (in part), I will be interning at the Department of State this summer in their exciting new Office of Innovative Engagement, which utilizes new media and technology to communicate on a diplomatic level with other countries in the world. The class was a terrific experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone in any major who is interested in international affairs.” Scholar Evan Kalikow

Leading up to the trip students will read several key books on global change and policy issues such as (1) The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman, and (2) The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade, by Pietra Rivoli. Students will also ready policy briefs directly produced by the CSIS and other current sources. Most importantly, students will learn to blog regularly about what they read and experience.

Dr. Andrea Tapia is teaching the course, from the College of Information Sciences and Technology. Dr. Tapia is a Sociologist who studies the public interconnection between technologies, public institutions and policies. Dr. Tapia has worked with and been funded by the United Nations, the US Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. To read more about Dr. Tapia, please see her website at http://andreatapia.net.

The course number is IST 445 H. Although it is being taught via the college of IST, all students are welcome. The course is interdisciplinary in nature, integrating the knowledge and skills of communications, history, information science and technology, political science, psychology, sociology, and writing.
 
It will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11:15 and 12:30pm.

A Critique of Critical Thinking

I am on the road so this will be brief, but I encourage everyone to take a look at this article in the Chronicle (it appears to be freely available and not behind a pay wall) by Michael Roth, “Beyond Critical Thinking.” He points out that while developing in ourselves and our students critical thinking skills (something we do actively and explicitly in our Presidential Leadership Academy) we are in danger of developing students who are able to critique but not construct meaning.

The skill at unmasking error, or simple intellectual one-upmanship, is not completely without value, but we should be wary of creating a class of self-satisfied debunkers or, to use a currently fashionable word on campuses, people who like to “trouble” ideas. In overdeveloping the capacity to show how texts, institutions, or people fail to accomplish what they set out to do, we may be depriving students of the capacity to learn as much as possible from what they study.

I don’t think we are in danger of that, but it is a good reminder and a helpful critique in itself. As someone in the humanities I particularly appreciated the call to those in our disciplines to be more constructive in educational roles.

If we humanities professors saw ourselves more often as explorers of the normative than as critics of normativity, we would have a better chance to reconnect our intellectual work to broader currents in public culture.

It is an excellent read and I encourage you to take the time to do so.

Go to India this summer and be changed for life.

Be a part of the legendary HOINA course. This course is in its 11th year and is life-transforming. We will have more videos and reports from students linked here in the next month or so, but here is the main information:

What is HOINA?

HOINA 2010 Homes Of The Indian Nation

Screen shot 2009-11-13 at 3.43.21 PMHave you always wanted to go to India? Do you love working with kids?

HOINA (Homes of the Indian Nation) is a set of two homes (boys and girls) in Andhra Pradesh that takes handicapped, abused and orphaned children all over South India and provides them with shel- ter, food, clothing, medical care, education and a caring HOINA family. Both homes were founded approximately 30 years ago by a Penn State alum, Darlene Large.

What do I have to do to go on a trip?

First, submit your application. If you are selected you will be enrolled in a 2 credit GEOG 293H course in the Spring of 2009. The course is de- signed to familiarize students to Indian culture, current events and help prepare students for their summer abroad. After the summer trip, a follow up 1 credit course will be taken in the Fall of 2010 in order to reflect on experiences and to raise further awareness for HOINA .

Application Deadline: December 2, 2009

Contact Matthew Branch: mjb576@psu.edu for further details!


How can I get involved?

Every summer, a group of students from the Schreyer Honors College are selected through an application process to travel to India and work alongside the staff and students at HOINA for approximately 3 weeks.


Registration Problems

Last night, had things gone as planned, honors students along with athletes and graduate students, would have been able to register for their classes. This early registration is a privilege that Schreyer Scholars and a few others enjoy and as usual there was a “registration party” in Atherton computer lab. Unfortunately there was a problem at the Registrar’s office yesterday. ALL priority scheduling – scholars, athletes, grad students, etc. were not activated for 9/10/09 midnight access as expected.

As a result I awoke to dozens of facebook messages and a few tweets of students in dire panic. At the time we did not know exactly what had happened and clearly students were very concerned about being able to register. A few emails and phone calls later we learned of the error and the Registrar’s office is working to have things in place later today. Registration will begin at midnight tonight. (Delayed only 24 hours.) I want to thank the Registrar’s office for handling this situation in a prompt and professional manner.

That being said, I would like to encourage our students to take a moment to consider whether some of their reactions were appropriate. I understand that those of you who stayed up past midnight were tired and anxious but that is not an excuse for losing civility. Mistakes occur and thankfully this was nothing more than a computer error. Furthermore the rest of the Penn State community will not register for another week so you will have plenty of time work on your schedule.

Learning how to cope with adversity is one of the best skills that anyone can develop. This was, in the broader scope of life, a rather mild challenge and one that will be easily overcome within the next 24 hours. So enjoy the beautiful day, come to our inaugural Founders Day at noon in the HUB and remember what a privilege we have to be a part of one of the best universities in the world and a member of the Schreyer Honors College.

Special Honors Course! IST 445H – Globalization Trends and World Issues

IST 445H “Globalization Trends and World Issues” is a fantastic course and there are still several seats available. I helped to teach this course last fall and it is a tremendous opportunity for anyone who is interested in the issues that impact us today (politics, environment, technology, economy) and includes a FREE two day working trip to the most widely cited non-partisan think tank in DC, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Each summer we also have two students who intern at CSIS so this would be a great way to get to know the folks at CSIS before you submit your application.

The instructor this year is Andrea Tapia, one of best and most engaging and creative honors faculty members. This course is open to students in ANY major and there are a few seats left so sign up now!

Are you interested in international issues? Do you see yourself working for the United Nations, World Bank or other large, international organization? Do you see yourself working for a government helping to establish policy on such issues as telecommunications, environmental issues, security and commerce? Do you enjoy the complexity of critical, yet messy and delicate, international problems?

If so, I’d like to invite you to consider taking a class this fall.
The course is entitled “Globalization Trends and World Issues.”

It will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays between 11:15 and 12:30pm.

This course is designed around a 3 day (free!) trip to Washington D.C. in which students will participate in an intensive seminar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The CSIS is an international policy think tank, which provides strategic insights and policy solutions to decision makers in government, international institutions, the private sector, and civil society.

Leading up to the trip students will read several key books on global change and policy issues such as (1) The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman, (2) The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade, by Pietra Rivoli. (3) One World: The Ethics of Globalization, by Peter Singer  and (4) In Defense of Globalization, by Jagdish Bhagwati. Students will also ready policy briefs directly produced by the CSIS and other current sources.

In class, students will participate in lively class discussions then assume roles and responsibilities of U.S. government policy-makers responding to a foreign policy challenges. In groups and as individuals, students will conduct research, discuss trends, write, and conduct policy briefings.

The course is being taught by Dr. Andrea Tapia, from the College of Information Sciences and Technology. Dr. Tapia is a Sociologist who studies the public interconnection between technologies, public institutions and policies. Dr. Tapia has worked with and been funded by the United Nations, the US Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. To read more about Dr. Tapia, please see her website at andreatapia.net.

The course number is IST 445 H. Although it is being taught via the college of IST, all students are welcome. The course is interdisciplinary in nature, integrating the knowledge and skills of communications, history, information science and technology, political science, psychology, sociology, and writing.

Honors Course (with the dean) CAMS/J ST/RL ST 110U

I know that our honors students have already registered for classes and that this is late, but I just managed to get my course for the spring into the computer. So please consider signing up if you have the time!

The information is below and the class time will be TR 2:30-3:45.

CAMS 110 (GH;US;IL) (J ST 110, RL ST 110) Hebrew Bible: Old Testament (3) Introduction to the history, literature, and religion of ancient Israel.

CAMS (J ST/RL ST) 110 Hebrew Bible: Old Testament (3)
(GH;US;IL)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

The Hebrew Bible is the record of the interaction between the people of ancient Israel and their God. As a religious text, the Bible is inextricably intertwined with the cultures of Israel’s neighbors, including the Canaanites, Syrians, Greeks, Assyrians, Babylonians, Arabs, Egyptians, and the peoples of the eastern desert. To study the Hebrew Bible and its development during the first millennium BCE is to study the history, culture, and literature of the entire region. Hebrew Bible introduces students to the literature of ancient Israel, its rituals, the stories which established a people’s identity, and which defined their moral behavior. Great figures of the texts, such as Moses, David, Solomon, Bathsheba, Ruth, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezra, teach us important lessons about life and how people of faith attempted to relate to one another, to God, and to people outside their ethnic group. Students will read from the text and from a textbook which contains scholarly opinion from a variety of sources. Recent archaeological and epigraphical studies will be incorporated into the course to enhance our work. The ultimate goal will be to assess the meaning of the texts in their ancient Near Eastern environment, and to understand the development of Hebrew religion and the beginnings of Rabbinic Judaism. Students will be evaluated using an hour examination, a 6-8 pp. “hermeneutical essay,” a final examination, class attendance and discussion. As an introduction to the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, RL ST 110 utilizes the methodologies used in the academic study of religion. The course is related or linked to many courses in religious studies which use these same methods or which are related to the history and development of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. RL ST 110 may be used to fulfill requirements for the Religious Studies major. RL ST 110 may also be used to fulfill the US;IL or GH requirements in the major or minor in RL ST, CAMS and J ST.
General Education: GH
Diversity: US;IL
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities

Opportunities for Scholars in “Rethinking Urban Poverty” project

Penn State Outreach operates a fantastic program in Philadelphia and they are regularly looking for current Scholars and students to participate. Read the news item below and if you are interested visit the project website http://www.philadelphiafieldproject.com and the the inquiry page http://www.philadelphiafieldproject.com/inquiries. There are a variety of opportunities available including research, internships, and service learning projects.

Penn State Outreach Program Wins National Award for ‘Rethinking Urban Poverty’

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa –­ The National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) and the Outreach Scholarship Partnership has awarded Lakshman Yapa, a professor of geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State, the 2008 C. Peter Magrath Engagement Award for his work with Rethinking Urban Poverty: the Philadelphia Field Project.

The project, an outreach program of Penn State, is a unique service learning course that has generated more than 60 student-run projects addressing critical needs in areas as diverse as credit cooperatives, transportation and nutrition.

Since 1998, Penn State students involved in the Rethinking Urban Poverty project lived and worked in a low-income neighborhood of Philadelphia. By engaging in dialogue and creating partnerships with local community organizations, students identified the links between poverty and community development, and, through their research, became a resource for the community. Students moved away from the standard poverty discourse and focused instead on quality of life by employing the three community-identified needs health, dignity and community. Through the project, they undertook research activities to improve health though diet, nutrition, exercise, urban gardens, community supported agriculture and education for preventive health care, targeting specific challenges such as Type II diabetes, atherosclerosis and hypertension.

Robert Bruininks, chair of the NASULGC Board of Directors and president of the University of Minnesota, said the Philadelphia Field Project could serve as an outreach model for other universities.

“Penn State Professor Lakshman Yapa’s program in the City of Philadelphia should serve as a model of engagement and outreach for public institutions,” said Bruininks. “Public universities, like Penn State and the other four regional winners, exemplify the spirit and vision of university engagement championed by Peter Magrath and we salute their fine work.”

Yapa said the project represents a new way universities can work with the communities and students they serve.

“According to my understanding the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award was given to the Rethinking Urban Poverty: Philadelphia Field Project this year to recognize the proposition that effective community engagement requires a ‘rethinking of the university’ and a simultaneous transformation of the university itself as a place of teaching and research,” Yapa said.

Engaging communities and improving the lives of the citizens of the Commonwealth are key components of Penn State’s mission.

“I congratulate Professor Yapa, the students and community partners who made the Philadelphia Field Project such a great example of the transformative power a university can have within a community,” said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier. “This project represents the University’s legacy of engagement.”

“This is a wonderful recognition for the great work of Dr. Yapa and his students,” added Craig Weidemann, vice president of Outreach. “His Philadelphia Field Project is a great example of the impact of engaged scholarship and the power of universities in working with communities to address critical societal issues and learning from each other in the process.”

Visit http://www.philadelphiafieldproject.com for more information on the Philadelphia Field Project. To see a video of Yapa and his students in action, visit http://x02.ur.psu.edu/video/in_motion/yapa.html online.

Established in 2006, the Magrath Award recognizes the outreach and engagement partnerships of four-year public universities.  The award program seeks to identify colleges and universities that have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement functions to become “even more sympathetically and productively” involved with their communities.  The award is named for C. Peter Magrath, who served as president of NASULGC from 1992-2005.

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Contact: Matt Swayne, Penn State Outreach, (814) 865-7600 or mls29@outreach.psu.edu or Melissa Kaye, Penn State Outreach, (814) 865-7600 or mwk10@outreach.psu.edu