Academic Catalog 2022–2023

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Liberal Arts & Sciences Courses

LAS201 Water Security

[3–0, 3 cr.]

The course provides a comprehensive examination of water security issues confronting human society with particular focus on the attainment of United Nations Sustainable Goal 6 to ensure access to water and sanitation for all. It is one of the three Water-Energy-Food Nexus courses. Securing a sustainable supply of water, energy, and food is one of the greatest global challenges of our time. Recognizing the interdependencies and interlinkages between these three resources and finding new approaches to manage the nexus could significantly help in attaining the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs). 

LAS202 Sustainable Food Systems

[3–0, 3 cr.]

Food is the strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability. Addressing the global imbalance of nutrition, and its causes, is a central aim of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to address present and future challenges to a more sustainable food system that can provide healthy, nutritious, safe and affordable foods locally and globally.

LAS203 Sustainable Energy

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course explores conventional and renewable energy with a particular focus on the progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable, and Clean Energy for All. Energy systems are covered from technical, environmental, economic, social, and policy perspectives. An overview of various energy resources and technologies is provided, including fossil fuels, nuclear, biomass, hydropower, geothermal, ocean, wind, and solar energy. The promise and limitation of each technology are examined in the framework of achieving energy sustainability on local, regional, and global scales. 

LAS204 Technology, Ethics, and the Global Society

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course covers 3 cr load from the following 1 cr modules:

204A: Technology

This module examines the impact of social media within  global societal contexts.  Topics include the impact of social media on individualism, collectivism and culture, and personal identity.  Other topics include digital divide across class, gender, countries, and ethnic groups as well as privacy and civil liberties.

204B: Ethics, the Internet, and Social Media

This module discusses ethical and decision-making theories, such as consequentialism, duty ethics, virtue ethics, moral assumptions and values.

204C: Professional Ethics

This module discusses professionalism, fiduciary responsibility, and mentoring.  Topics include accountability, responsibility and liability, software piracy, copyrights, patents, trade secrets, trademarks, legal foundations for intellectual property protection, plagiarism, professional certification, codes of ethics, conduct, and practice.  Module includes case studies from various disciplines.

LAS205 Digital cultures

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course covers 3 cr load from the following 1 cr modules:

205A: Future Ready

This module will cover basic types of data and processing methods that will help students in solving problems in an increasingly complex word. Topics include variables, conditional execution, strings, lists, dictionaries, text processing, visualization, and mathematical analysis. 

205B: Fundamentals of Deep Learning

This module introduces the fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence using neural networks and deep learning.  Students will be introduced to neural networks, training neural networks from scratch, learning tools, and transfer learning.  The course uses Tensorflow, Keras, and Pandas.

205C: Social Cybersecurity

This module introduces risk, threats, and vulnerabilities in technology with a special focus on their impact in a social context.  Topics include computer crimes, social engineering, identity theft, cyber terrorism, and criminal hacking.  The module also discusses how groups are manipulated and opinions shaped.

LAS206 Minds & Machines

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course covers 3 cr load from the following 1 cr modules:

206A: Mind and its Place in Nature

This module takes a closer look at the mind and the way it fits into nature. We begin the class with  the classical framing of the issue, focusing on the definition of the mind, and its relation to the material world, before turning to more recent construals, particularly those emerging in the 20th century. Throughout the class we will also consider how the issue of understanding the mind impacts the world we live in.

206B: The Mind’s Architecture

This module takes a closer look at current ways of thinking about the mind’s architecture, and how we can model the mind. We begin by distinguishing mental attributes from other types of attributes, before turning to different models of the mental in cognitive and computer science today. Throughout the class we will also look at the costs and benefits of AI for human society.

206C: Beyond the Mind

This module takes a closer look at new ways of thinking about the mind. Brains do not work on their own. They are part of a body, that acts, and that is in the world. Moreover humans use their minds alongside tools, which are increasingly sophisticated, and which allow us to do more cognitively. So where does the mind end? In this course we’ll look at ‘the 4Es’, which offer new responses to this question: embedded, embodied, enactive, and extended cognition theories. We’ll also see how they have been applied in contemporary technology for a more sustainable future.

206D: The Ethics of Digital Technology

This module takes a closer look at the ethical issues raised by contemporary digital technology. We begin with a quick overview of different ethical theories before turning to the contemporary applications of AI, robotics, and related technologies to a variety of real-world problems.

las207 Migration Studies

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course introduces students to foundational concepts, frameworks and theories within migration studies, and permits them to benefit from a collection of scholarly research that has shaped and expanded our understanding of the drivers, push and pull factors, as well as the management of international migration. Throughout this course, students will explore a different theoretical and practical question relating to international migration each week. Through interactively addressing these questions in lectures and debates, this course explores the role played by social, cultural, political, economic, legal and government actors in shaping migration and displacement processes. Given the interdisciplinary nature of migration studies (as well as that of displacement studies), students will be assigned readings from political science, international law, economics and sociology, to help them form a well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of the different perspectives and lenses that each discipline adopts in the study of migration and displacement. In order to also grasp international migration patterns, the readings will also present case studies from around the world to provide a comprehensive view of different streams of contemporary migration.

LAS208 Wellbeing Matters

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course examines the various dimensions and determinants of health and wellbeing. An emphasis is placed on public health as well as the social and mental health aspects of wellbeing. An interdisciplinary approach is used to address present and future challenges to physical and mental wellbeing of the public. This course will rely on case studies as well as other active learning strategies to enhance students’ problem-solving skills and wellbeing based on applied, day-to-day examples.

LAS209 Doing Gender: Contextual Approaches

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course examines the practice of Doing Gender, defined by West and Zimmerman as involving the everyday performance of “a complex of socially guided perceptual, interactional and micropolitical activities that cast particular pursuits as expressions of masculine and feminine natures.” The course is structured around the 4 pillars of sustainability -Social, Environmental, Economic and Governance- and examines how the act of doing gender can be defined and refined as a result of the personal interaction with each pillar. Students will learn to be discerning about the linguistic turns and media images that they encounter in social settings; they will also understand the impact of particular environmental factors in shaping how people of different genders define themselves; in addition, students will understand the powerful impact of economics on our ability to do gender. 

LAS301 Debating Sustainability

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course introduces students to formal, structured debate as a tool in decision-making, leadership and civic engagement. It focuses mainly on case construction, cross-examinations, use of evidence, team debate, and ethics in argumentation. Debate topics will emphasize a sustainable development agenda.

LAS301H Debating Sustainability

[3–0, 3 cr.]

This course introduces students to formal, structured debate as a tool in decision-making, leadership and civic engagement. It focuses mainly on case construction, cross-examinations, use of evidence, team debate, and ethics in argumentation. Debate topics will emphasize a sustainable development agenda.