In this student-driven capstone course, students will collaborate across disciplines to create signature projects that address a significant problem, issue, or question. Prerequisites: Junior Status (students should be at or near the end of their General Education program) (INCO)
Students will articulate, develop, plan, and implement a signature project that addresses the topic of the particular section of the course. A signature project:
Is transdisciplinary: The project integrates knowledge from multiple disciplines and sources to create something new that could not be created without all of them.
Is completed collaboratively: The project is large and complex enough that it requires input and work from more than one person to be successful.
Is student-driven: While faculty, staff, and community partners provide guidance and coaching, student agency and independence move the project forward.
Requires metacognitive reflection: Students reflect on what and how they learn and how their learned knowledge, skills, and dispositions might be transferable to other contexts.
Reaches beyond the walls of the classroom: The work of the project touches the world outside the classroom in some way.
Has an external audience for project results: The results of the project are presented to someone who is outside of the class.
Is completed ethically and respectfully: Work on the project engages internal/external audiences and/or partners with mutual benefit
The following are the descriptions for each individual section of the course:
CRN: 31984 (IS-4220.01)
Mon, Wed 10:00 am – 11:40 am
Rounds Hall 103
Change as a Verb: In this class, we will discuss “change” as action we can each take to influence and modify the world we live in. The class will provide opportunities to explore the ways in which we can enact social change. Using your disciplinary perspective and your experiences in the world outside the classroom, you will work with your classmates to develop and implement a signature project that addresses some aspect of policy or law that you believe needs to change in order to make our society more ethical and equitable. By engaging in this project, you will come to learn that your voice counts.
CRN: 31989 (IS-4220.02)
Mon, Wed 10:00 am – 11:40 am
Samuel Read Hall 115
Grant Writing: Grant writing is a blend of art and science. It requires creativity, organization, attention to detail, critical thinking, and research. This course introduces students to grant proposal writing for public and private funding sources. Students will learn to search for grants and prepare a grant, conduct an interview with grant writers, work with community partners to match existing grants, and complete peer-review work. Grant writing is a highly marketable skill to have since resource development is critical in the current financial climate.
CRN: 31992 (IS-4220.03)
Mon, Wed 12:00 pm – 1:40 pm
Boyd Hall 303
Tackling the Climate Crisis: For most of human civilization, the global climate has remained relatively stable. Human culture, infrastructure, and our supporting ecosystems evolved to this climate. However, recent human industrial activity is now causing the global climate to warm rapidly and is fueling more powerful extreme weather events that are devastating millions of people each year and rendering much of our infrastructure as obsolete. In this course, we will explore the human impacts on global and New England climate and develop projects to help mitigate the crisis.
CRN: 32009 (IS-4220.04)
Tue, Thu 4:00 pm – 5:40 pm
Hyde Hall 221A
Nurturing Balanced Communities: Throughout New Hampshire, our rural communities are struggling with the wicked problems of an aging populace exacerbated by the flight of youth, decaying municipal infrastructures, a lack of K-12 school funding and closures, access to healthcare, cell service connectivity, the absence of broadband and even walkability. How might we help these communities improve sustainability, relevance, resilience and health? Our challenge will be to work with members of the community to realize positive impact. The class will include opportunities to practice and develop skills such as project management, teamwork, leadership, design thinking/human-centered design, social innovation and creative-confidence.
CRN: 32055 (IS-4220.05)
Mon, Wed 4:00 pm – 5:40 pm
Draper and Maynard Hall 314
The Museum as Medium: How can museums, galleries, and cultural organizations help communities build a sense of identity and inclusion? Through readings and discussions, students will enter contemporary debates about the role of exhibition spaces in our diverse twenty-first-century society. For their signature project, they will draw upon their interdisciplinary knowledge to establish all aspects of Plymouth State University’s new Hunnewell-Kline gallery according to their collective vision. Students are encouraged to respond to the challenges facing galleries today by experimenting with the space’s mission, format, and operations. Open to any major, with special relevance to students interested in business, writing, history, philosophy, anthropology, education, communication and media studies, graphic design, and/or the visual and performing arts.
CRN: 32135 (IS4220.06)
Mon, Wed 4:00 pm – 5:40 pm
Boyd Hall 225
What’s Your Problem? If change is the only constant, how can we effect beneficial change to foster resilience, equity and well-being? In the process oriented course students apply their knowledge, skills and interests to significant socioecological challenge as they develop and implement self-selected projects to effect beneficial change. Leading change requires thinkers to consider the complexity of any given problem, consider concerns of multiple stakeholders, anticipate unintended consequences and recognize that each manifestation of a problem is unique, with its own set of challenges and opportunities. This requires building breadth and depth of knowledge and thinking creatively and flexibly about possible solutions. This course instigates critique of norms, inviting students to question how and why the current circumstance came to be, and how norms can evolve; fostering systems thinking, problem identification and agency. Students will draw from their prior experience and Habits of Mind through the process of project development and problem solving in context. Although students will be focused on a specific issue of their choosing, the class will operate as a team, providing support and critique as we engage in iterative process of making change. As such, students will learn about an array of issue as we focus on strategies, techniques and safe guards to conceptualize, develop, implement and sustain meaningful work. Students from all disciplines are welcome and encouraged.
CRN: 32141 (IS4220.07)
Tue, Thu 12:00 pm – 1:40 pm
Museum of the White Mountains 020
Identity and Belonging: The nature of identity and belonging is an ancient question that is increasingly difficult to answer in the modern age, even as it has become more central to our debates and disagreements. Identity and belonging are dynamic sociological concepts illuminating the ways in which individuals navigate the effects of local and global inequalities. Students in this course will be asked to consider how individual and collective action influence policy and bring about social change in this context. Signature projects will aspire to make space for belonging by illuminating the value of diverse identities in relation to age, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and more.
Creating Games (4 credits) and Play & Learning in Early Childhood (4 credits) will meet together several times over the semester to apply what they are learning to the design and implementation of an end of semester pop-up event that includes various play activities. This event will be open to the PSU (and broader) community. Creating Games is a Creative Thought Directions course and Play & Learning in Early Childhood is a Wellness Connection course. Students take one of the two courses to participate in the pathway.
The courses in the pathway are:
Creating Games (CRN: 31886) CMDI-1105.01
Tue, Thu 10:00 am – 11:40 am
Hyde Hall 115
Much has been written about the possibility that games could become the defining objects of popular culture in the new century. Course participants use games as a medium through which they can express their creativity. They study the principles of game design so they can use them to critique existing games as well as to guide the design of new games. Topics include the structure of compelling games, the role of games in society, meaningful play in games, games as simulations, games as narratives, and the culture of gaming. Creating, play testing, critiquing, and revising games of all kinds are primary activities. Not open to students who have earned credit for CMDI 1100. Springs. (CTDI)
Play&Learning in Early Childhood (CRN: 31927) ER-2155.01
Time:Tue, Thu 10:00 am – 11:40 am
Rounds Hall 103
Focuses on the essential importance of play for young children?s learning and development. Introduces key theories about the nature and purposes of play. Examines the developmental progression of play from birth through age 8, characteristics of play, and types of play. Explores environments, materials, and interactions that promote children?s play. Considers threats to play and ways in which early childhood educators can be effective advocates for play. Students have opportunities to explore and play with materials in class as well as to observe and promote children?s play in early childhood settings. Falls. (WECO)
Introduces students to the General Education program’s four habits of mind as well as project-based learning. Using critical thinking, design thinking, and information literacy skills, students and the instructor together engage in the development of a project that addresses some aspect of a wicked problem. The wicked problem varies across sections of the course. Required of all first year students during their first semester at Plymouth State University. Elective for transfer students entering with 24 or more credits. Falls and Springs
The following sections of IS1115 are offered in Spring 2020.
Mon, Wed 8:00 am – 9:40 am
Location To Be Announced
Technology Addiction: The word addiction is largely associated with drugs and alcohol dependency, but one can be addicted to much more than substances-like technology. Technology addictions can lead to decreased social, emotional and mental health and disrupt relationships, focus, careers and academics. In this class we will use collaborative project based learning to research and discuss the contributing factors to this growing phenomenon, and identify resources and strategies that will help ourselves and others lead a present and successful life beyond the classroom walls.
Meeting Time:Tue, Thu 12:00 pm – 1:40 pm
Center Lodge GRANITE
Homelessness: In this class, students use a collaborative project development process to reach outside the classroom to address some aspect of homelessness. During this project process, students focus on the development and practice of the General Education Habits of Mind. From current issues in homelessness, in this course we will explore the relationship between homelessness, the policy, and society. In order to explore this wicked problem, we will be asking questions such as: what causes homelessness? How have people tried to solve homelessness in the past? How can we solve the issue of homelessness in the US, either nationally, or locally? Why is homelessness still a serious concern and what steps can be taken to solve this wicked problem? This is a project-based course that challenges students to view a problem from different perspectives and to practice habits of mind. Students will work with their peers, their instructor, and community stakeholders to design, develop and execute a project to address the problem of homelessness. The course culminates in a public event at which students share their reflections on their learning.
Tue, Thu 8:00 am – 9:40 am
Hyde Hall 234
Propaganda: It is comforting to associate the term propaganda with war and dictators, which makes it less relevant to our daily lives. This view, however, fails to acknowledge the ways that propaganda permeates all aspects of everyday life. This seminar class tackles the wicked problem of propaganda: What is propaganda? How is propaganda manifested? What is the relationship between propaganda and truth? What ethical dilemmas are entailed in the production of propaganda and the public’s consumption of information? What are the implications for the spread of propaganda?
Tue, Thu 2:00 pm – 3:40 pm
Rounds Hall 118
Mental Health: 43 million Americans have a mental health condition, yet 57% of American adults have not received treatment. It’s estimated that serious mental illness costs the U.S. nearly $200 billion a year in lost wages. Perhaps most alarming, this crisis is most acute among our youth. Serious anxiety and depression is worsening among teens, with suicide rates among girls reaching a 40-year high in 2015. 40% of college students report they have been so depressed it was difficult to function, and 61% say they have felt overwhelming anxiety in the prior year. Why are we so stressed out? What are the obstacles to treatment? Which treatments work best? How do we view mental health in this country? What can we do individually, locally and beyond to address this problem?
Mon, Wed 9:00 am – 10:40 am
Human Performance Center W218
Plastic: Have you ever wondered what happens to the straw, plastic cup, or water bottle you just threw into the recycling bin? The answer may come as a shock after many years of hearing “reduce, reuse, recycle”. Turns out our current infrastructure cannot support our millions of tons of plastic waste causing local governments and municipalities to face a plastic recycling crisis! In this course we will explore questions such as: How do we reduce our annual 8 million ton plastic contribution to our oceans that impacts its ecosystems, the wildlife, and our own wellbeing as we consume plastic contaminated seafood? Do we as a nation reduce the amount of plastic being produced or do we improve education around how to properly recycle plastic? In this course you will be asked to: sustain inquiry, examine your own mindset frequently, analyze this wicked problem through numerous lenses and remain open minded to creative solutions.
Tue, Thu 10:00 am – 11:40 am
Boyd Hall 225
Water as a Resource, Hazard, and Right This course will explore the wicked problem of water as a resource, natural hazard and human right. Water is the distinctive characteristic of our blue planet and essential to supporting all life. How water is used, misused and abused affects the health of people and planet. Students will investigate current water resource issues; privatization, pollution, floods, droughts, rising sea level, equitable access? Considering local, regional and global case studies of water management, water quality and equitable access, students will delve into the complexity of this wicked problem. By connecting with multiple stakeholders on and off campus students in this course will develop action oriented projects to address a dimension of water resource stewardship and management. The course requires participation in a full day field trip and 5 independent service hours.
Mon, Wed 10:00 am – 11:40 am
Tue, Thu 10:00 am – 11:40 am
Museum of the White Mountains 020
Rural Place Branding: In order to work together for sustainable development, leaders and players in rural areas need to formulate long-term visions and articulate the value of what they have to offer in a way that will attract people. States, cities, and neighborhoods use “place branding” to attract residents, businesses, and tourists, but the task of “branding” rural places has deep-seated challenges built in: rural stakeholders have diverse and conflicting motives; these stakeholders are often focused on day-to-day survival in under-resourced and struggling communities rather than long-term strategy and planning; myths about the decline and “problem” of rural places in the 21st century are entrenched and persistent; small towns and rural areas do not lend themselves to effective place branding; rural leaders generally focus on local solutions and are inexperienced at working at scale, regionally, in networks, and across boundaries. As a result, the stories about rural America are often “bad”, incomplete, or just non-existent. The northern regions of New Hampshire-and rural America more generally- struggle with the inauthentic stories driven by national, urban, and statewide interests. Is it possible to change this narrative? How much of what we are told is true? Who is telling the stories and how do the stories get dismissed?
Prison: From current issues in the war on drugs and legalization of marijuana to violence and gang-related issues, mass incarceration has effected all of America. In this Tackling a Wicked Problem class, we will explore the relationship between crime, punishment, and society. In order to explore the wicked problem, we will be asking questions such as: why do we incarcerate people? Why are so many people incarcerated for drug use and how does this differ from violent crime? How can we fix the prison problem here in America?
Composition is an introduction to the occasions and standards of college writing. Students develop writing abilities through the study and practice of writing processes. Students explore flexible strategies for inventing, generating, drafting, reading, editing, sharing, and presenting their work. The study of ideas, evidence, organization, style, and convention is essential. Coursework stresses the importance of reading and writing for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communication. Students write for varied situations, in a variety of genres, and in response to personal experience, reading, research, argument, and demand. Students examine both the rhetorical and visual impact of the texts they produce. By the end of this course, students are better prepared for the writing they will do in college and beyond.
Christine Carpenter (EN 1400.12 TR 2 to 3:40pm & EN 1400.31 TR 4 to 5:40 pm)
The Power of Pets
From dogs and cats, to horses and rats . . . human interaction with animals has the power to heal, comfort and save lives. Students will learn how service animals, emotional support animals, and pet therapy animals contribute to the physical and mental health of people in our community. Inquiries include current debates over pets traveling on airplanes and animals in the classroom. Guest speakers and visits with furry friends will help students develop a deeper understanding about Human-Animal Interaction. Enrolling students must be comfortable around animals.
Rebecca Grant (EN 1400.13 MW 10 to 11:40 am & EN 1400.14 MW 12-1:40 pm)
Writing and Exploring Music
Hardcore, Country, Rap, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and everything in-between! In this section of Composition, we will consider how music shapes who we are and contributes to self-expression. Students will read, write, and delve into the influence and significance of music.
Kristin Stelmok (EN 1400.22 TR 10 to 11:40 am & EN 1400.24 TR 12 to 1:40 pm)
Gender and Popular Culture
Do you ever wonder about the cultural impact of social media, Netflix, and Disney films? Are you also interested in ideas about gender, sexuality, and feminism? If you’re curious about the ways popular culture shapes our understanding of masculinity, femininity, and ourselves, you may be interested in this section of Composition. Students will practice thinking critically and writing in various forms.
Ethan Paquin (EN 1400.04 TR 12 to 1:40 pm & EN 1400.05 2 to 3:40 pm)
Death or Glory: Mountaineering & the Mindset of Risk
Mountain climbers have willingly embraced danger and discomfort for centuries. If climbing the highest peaks on earth is indeed a selfish and ‘useless’ pursuit, as famed French mountaineer
Lionel Terray once wrote, why is it a popular and romanticized sport? In a western world that ever values convenience and quick gratification, how is the pain and suffering associated with climbing seen as virtuous? How far would you be willing to go to “feel alive” or “test yourself”? In this class, we’ll read multiple nonfiction accounts of high-altitude exploits in the Andes, Himalayas, and Alaska; by so doing, students will gain insights into such questions, and work toward understanding the psyches of those who feel compelled to challenge our planet’s most extreme landscapes.
William Pribis (EN 1400.01 MW 2 to 3:40 pm)
What makes us laugh? Comedy is entertaining and fun. It can also be cause controversy, and it can reflect and even cause social change. In this Composition class we will explore humor in its many forms including literature, movies, situation comedies, sketch comedy, stand-up, and improvisation. We will have fun, thinking and writing about what makes us laugh and why. But we will also get serious, thinking and writing about the roles humor and the people who create it have played in our society and culture. Share some laughs as you develop your writing skills!
Suzanne Weil (EN 1400.16 MW 8 to 9:40 am & EN 1400.17 MW 10 to 11:40 am)
Clay and Composition
Spend time in the ceramics studio and the classroom learning to make pots and becoming a stronger writer. Like pottery, writing exacts earnest demands of us. In this Composition class, you will examine and revise your work with a critical eye and willingness to throw pieces in the slop bucket. No prior pottery skills required.
Elliott Gruner (EN 1400.03 TR 12 to 1:40 pm)
Learn to cross country ski. We’ll divide our time between trail and classroom. Time on skis will give us something to write about—time in the classroom will give us the chance to write together. No experience necessary, but students enrolling in this section should be comfortable spending time outside in winter.
Sarah Parsons (EN 1400.08 MW 12 to 1:40 pm & EN 1400.09 MW 2 to 3 pm)
The Power of Your Voice
In this section of cluster composition you will be learning about the power of your own voice by focusing on various forms of the narrative essay. Through reading essays and other texts, you will learn about various forms of the narrative voice and about becoming more skilled and
confident about your writing skills. Your writing will center on telling your own story from a variety of perspectives. Working in collaboration with the Museum of the White Mountains and other PSU resources your work will culminate in a visual representation of your goals and dreams.
Bryn Neenos (EN 1400.15 MW 4 to 5:40 pm)
The Power of the Everyday
From salt to blue jeans and diamonds to highways, the everyday objects that fill our lives are infused with surprising history and significance. Through a combination of writing and creative visual media, we will appreciate our ordinary world as we trace the history of one object of your choice.
Thur 8am-9:15am and online (second half of the semester only)
Our remix culture invites us to incorporate the work of others into our own new creations, whether this means finding a photo to accompany a blog post or selecting background music for a video. But what are the copyright implications of these activities? Having a basic understanding of copyright law enables us to responsibly reuse content as well as make informed decisions about how to license our own original works. This course will provide an overview of the aspects of copyright law most relevant to content creators including the basic principles of copyright, licensing, determining the copyright status of a work, fair use, and open licenses.
In “Studies in English,” students explored basic questions about texts, genre, authorship, and the role of the reader in literary analysis. “Critical Theory” seeks to build on that general introduction and to acquaint students with specific modern and contemporary schools of literary theory including: Formalism, Reader Response, Psychoanalysis, Structuralism, Semiotics, Marxism, Poststructuralism, Feminism, Queer Theory, Postcolonial Theory, and New Historicism. More importantly, students will begin to develop their own theoretical approach, informed by what they learn from reading important literary theorists. Prerequisite: EN2500 of EN1600
Why this course is a cluster experience: This course uses aspects of project-based learning and open pedagogy, a form of teaching and learning that sees students as producers rather than just consumers of knowledge. In this course, students blog publicly and design some of the course activities and lead select class periods. As the course project, students contribute to The Student Theorist, an ongoing, open-access, digital handbook of critical theory. Contact the instructor, Abby Goode, at email@example.com for more information.
Introduces students to the origins, functions, structure, and issues facing the contemporary UN. Combines both substantive knowledge and simulated debates of major issues in the UN agenda, including genocide, economic development, terrorism, environment, etc. Looks into relationship between the US and the UN. Includes role-playing; opportunity to extend students’ knowledge of international politics while developing proficiency in public speaking, policy formulation, parliamentary procedure, diplomacy, negotiation, and conflict resolution; preparation for career in public policy or international affairs. Not open to students who have earned credit for PO 3250. (GACO) (INCO)
Why this course is a cluster experience: This course incorporates principles from three main strands of education: interdisciplinarity and integration, project-based learning, and open pedagogy. Students not only understand the international politics, history, economy etc., they also produce knowledge through role-playing, designing course activities and leading discussions. As the course project, students will contribute organizing and conducting the 12th Annual Plymouth Model UN High School Conference (PMUN). For more information please contact the instructor, Dr. Filiz Ruhm.
Surveys ethnographic research on modern human migration in the United States and around the world. Includes perspectives of both voluntary migrants and refugees. Selected topics include impacts of migration on host societies and places of origin, assimilation and acculturation, remittances and other economic impacts, immigration policies and their impacts, and New Hampshire’s “New American” community. (GACO)
Why this course is a cluster experience: This course uses aspects of project-based learning and open pedagogy, a form of teaching and learning that sees students as producers rather than just consumers of knowledge. In this course, students will design and create content for a website that will educate the general public, and particularly New Hampshire residents, about local refugee and immigrant populations and issues. Students will be responsible for conducting research to support website content, either through reviewing published material or conducting oral history interviews with New Americans. Contact the instructor, Laura Tilghman, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.