Byrne Courses

Semester: Fall 2019


“The Undiscovered Paul Robeson” Celebrating the 100 Year Anniversary of Paul Robeson’s Graduation from Rutgers

The life and legacy of the esteemed Rutgers alumnus Paul Robeson embodies the idea of “global citizenship.” A towering figure in the African-American struggle for human dignity and democratic rights, he connected this struggle with those of other peoples around the world who were also fighting for political rights, cultural recognition, and economic justice. Among many other social justice movements that he embraced, Paul Robeson pioneered the global solidarity movement against racial... Continue Reading – “The Undiscovered Paul Robeson” Celebrating the 100 Year Anniversary of Paul Robeson’s Graduation from Rutgers

Dance Improvisation: Learning Tools for Choreography and Performance

This seminar will provide students with an introductory experience of dance improvisation as a skill for developing choreography and performance. Students will explore a range of physical exercises yet no previous training in dance nor special attire is required; sweatpants and t-shirts are acceptable. Students will learn how to develop multidisciplinary approaches to dance improvisation that can be deployed when creating choreography for the stage, when organizing flash mobs, and/or... Continue Reading – Dance Improvisation: Learning Tools for Choreography and Performance

Handmade Sound: Making Sound Art and Music with Electronics

Since the late nineteenth century, creative pioneers have been harnessing the power of electricity to create new and exciting sounds. In this seminar, students will learn about sound art, electronic, and computer-created music by making their own electronic instruments. Assuming no previous experience, students will develop technical skills in acoustics, circuit design, human-computer interaction, microphones, programming, recording, and synthesis.

Looking East: A Different Way of Learning Dance, Language, Traditional Arts and Cultures through Movement

This seminar will investigate various dances and traditional arts and culture of Taiwan, the Philippines, and neighboring countries. Through the language of dance, students will learn traditional arts and cultures using practices and modality that are fun, interactive and informative. This seminar is designed for students who want to expand their understanding of dance as an emblem of cultural identity and an expression of social order. Along with the practice of dance, we will experience... Continue Reading – Looking East: A Different Way of Learning Dance, Language, Traditional Arts and Cultures through Movement

Music, Sound, and Landscape

The natural world has always been a primary source of inspiration for musicians. In recent years, composers have continued this tradition by creating powerful works in response to contemporary environmental issues such as global warming, carbon emissions, and wilderness conservation, among others. In this seminar, which is led jointly by composer Scott Ordway and scholar, educator, and critic Anette Freytag, students will listen to and discuss classical and contemporary vocal and... Continue Reading – Music, Sound, and Landscape

Rockin' Roots, Global Reach: The Story of Jersey's Popular Music

Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, and Bruce Springsteen are just a few of the artists who have called New Jersey home. But for centuries the state has been fertile ground for musical creativity. In this course we will work with Rutgers’ incredible, rare, and unique New Jersey sheet music collection, that makes the materials freely accessible and comprehensible around the globe. Students will learn about New Jersey politics and popular music culture in the 1800s and early 1900s. Each student... Continue Reading – Rockin' Roots, Global Reach: The Story of Jersey's Popular Music

Sounding Play: Acoustic Ecology of Sports and Games

The intimate silence of the tennis court interrupted by a player's grunt; the focused listening of a double Dutch jumper with ropes that move too fast to see; the country music song playing in the pickup truck you stole in a video game; chanting with 40,000 other fans against the wrong call the referee's whistle just signaled. Sound is an essential component of sports and games. Both as players and spectators, people engage in listening, chanting, speaking, noise-making, music-making, and... Continue Reading – Sounding Play: Acoustic Ecology of Sports and Games

The Books That Make Us

In this seminar, we will examine the life-stories of select monuments of writing, such as the Sumerian clay tablets, the original (Hokusai) manga, the Gutenberg Bible (the first major book printed with the printing press), and Carl Jung's notebooks. We will consider their material life, the technologies necessary to produce them, and the meanings that they had for their contemporaries. How did people make these seminal works, and why? How do such important works help us make sense of our... Continue Reading – The Books That Make Us

The Problem of Evil in Philosophy and Popular Culture

The problem of evil, as Susan Neiman has described it, is the perniciously difficult to satisfy “need to find order within those appearances so unbearable that they threaten reason’s ability to go on,” as when (at times incomprehensibly) bad things happen to (at least relatively) good people, and (at least relatively) good things to (at times incomprehensibly) bad people. Central to her watershed perspective on the problem are two related propositions. She proposes, on the one hand, that... Continue Reading – The Problem of Evil in Philosophy and Popular Culture

UKE: Understanding, Knowledge, and Engagement through 'Ukulele Project-Based Learning

What connects Portugal, the Beatles, Jack London, and Spongebob Square Pants? The ukulele! In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will experience project-based learning first hand as we think and discuss about how the ukulele connects to subjects in the humanities and sciences. Together, we will use kits to build our own ukulele and learn to play our instruments. A visit to a ukulele workshop may also be arranged. All students will leave the seminar with their very own handmade instrument,... Continue Reading – UKE: Understanding, Knowledge, and Engagement through 'Ukulele Project-Based Learning

Up and Down the Streets of the Metropolis

The seminar addresses the representation of walking in Western cultures. Rooted in the everyday, in ordinary gestures, the experience of walking is pivotal to the shaping of our experience of place. Strolling relates to our most immediate way of staying in the world, examining and describing it. In the wake of modernity, the new urban subjects have fashioned walking as a style of apprehension and appropriation of their surroundings. Through their “rhetoric of walking,” their choices of... Continue Reading – Up and Down the Streets of the Metropolis



Do people become addicted to technology? Although some students have direct or indirect experience with substance abuse, all will have experienced the lure of the iPhone, TV, web surfing, texting or playing video games. This seminar will encourage students to describe the behaviors they observe in themselves or others. We will explore the cognitive processes involved in starting, repeating or perseverating in technology related behaviors. The goal will be to discuss whether these behaviors... Continue Reading – Addiction

AI Through the Ages

Humans are a calculating species and we have been computing on our own for thousands of years. The Antikythera mechanism from around 100 BCE is the oldest known computer, used to predict astronomical events – an early form of artificial intelligence (AI) for time-keeping and navigation. Today, AI is being hyped as a panacea for solving a wide range of problems, from medical diagnosis to self-driving cars. AI has become known for its efficient machine learning techniques – but most of the... Continue Reading – AI Through the Ages

Autism: Molecules to Mind

This seminar will review autism covering topics such as its history, etiology, symptoms, neuropathology, genetic predispositions, toxicant exposure, animal models and treatment strategies. Controversial topics such as "is there an increase in autism over the past decade" and "do vaccinations cause autism" will be covered. After covering animal models, students will spend one session in the lab of the instructor observing the testing of mouse pups; based on what they have learned in class,... Continue Reading – Autism: Molecules to Mind

Beyond the "Big Bang Theory": the Real Scientific Experience

Ever wondered what the life of an astro/physicist is really like? It's not what you see on "The Big Bang Theory," and it rarely involves white lab coats. Real scientific research is a highly creative, interactive process that requires scientists to constantly collaborate in order to problem solve and develop new ideas (and frequently involves travel to accomplish this). Come experience it for yourself! In this seminar, students will experience the process of research firsthand. You will... Continue Reading – Beyond the "Big Bang Theory": the Real Scientific Experience

Brunswick, Body and Bikes

While many know that healthy living and physical activity play important roles in the academic achievement of students, adjusting to life as a first year college student can be challenging. Unfortunately, poor eating habits and decrease in physical activity are not uncommon. The objective of the seminar is to promote health and wellness by understanding nutrition, and body composition to maintain proper body weight, lean body mass and bone health. We will engage cycling because it is an... Continue Reading – Brunswick, Body and Bikes

Clean Energy

What is needed to improve the sustainable energy technologies we already have? What is needed to make new technologies practical and clean in the area of energy generation? We will explore energy storage in devices such as batteries and energy conversion in devices such as solar cells and fuel cells. We will talk about active research at Rutgers on alternative energy materials and systems. In the lab, we will assemble and test our own dye-sensitized solar cells.

Closing the Gap: Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Women have been historically underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Although women today are in leadership positions in STEM professions around the world, a gender gap still persists. This seminar will discuss the various reasons for the existence of this ongoing gender gap, and look at the sometimes little known contributions to STEM made by women in the past and present. We will hear from female professionals working in these fields, and take... Continue Reading – Closing the Gap: Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Computational Design and Fabrication of Intelligent Systems

Modern computing has become ubiquitous and affordable thanks to the favorable scalability predicted by Moore's Law. Indeed, the computing power available on a state-of-the-art desktop workstation 15 years ago, costing at least $500, is now available on a chip that fits in the palm of one's hand and costs less than $60. This, in conjunction with the widespread availability of smart, low-cost sensors that can be interfaced with such computing chips, provides the opportunity to introduce a much... Continue Reading – Computational Design and Fabrication of Intelligent Systems

Eliminating Cancer: Novel Targets and Therapeutic Approaches

In this seminar learn how the most recent discoveries through cancer research are being translated into cutting-edge treatments for cancer patients. New approaches utilizing computer-assisted diagnostics, medical imaging and statistical pattern recognition allow for a more accurate diagnosis of a range of malignancies. Comprehensive genomic profiling of tumors through next-generation sequencing technologies offers the promise of personalized cancer therapy with targeted drugs. We will... Continue Reading – Eliminating Cancer: Novel Targets and Therapeutic Approaches

Flying Faster Than the Speed of Sound

On October 14, 1947, the sound barrier was broken for the first time in a manned level flight in the Bell X-1 piloted by Chuck Yeager. This remarkable achievement, due to the efforts of many engineers and scientists, marked the beginning of the age of supersonic aircraft. The seminar will examine the contributions of many of this era’s pioneers, including Ackeret, Busemann, Prandtl, Tupolev and many others. The crucial role of the development of turbojet and turbofan propulsion systems will... Continue Reading – Flying Faster Than the Speed of Sound

Food Microbes: What and Where Are They?

This course provides a window into the world of food microbiology and food science. We will explore popular trends and myths related to food microbes. Discussions will center on topics including probiotics, double-dipping, food safety myths (e.g., the five-second rule), and how to avoid foodborne illness when traveling and in your residence. Finally, we will address the issue of food additives/antimicrobials in the context of food safety.

Global Environmental Health

There are almost eight billion people in the world today and the population will grow to close to ten billion by 2050.  Almost eighty five percent of the population live in developing countries.  One of the challenges for this ever-growing population is providing a secure food supply.  We will discuss the trends in global food production and the technology used to increase global food supply. We will also explore the ever-growing global obesity epidemic – while there are 900 million under... Continue Reading – Global Environmental Health

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: High Performance Training is not just for Athletes

Maximizing energy and learning how to stay mentally focused are issues of primary concern to the endurance athlete. However, learning how to maximize performance should apply to anyone who wants to function at a high level, whether a corporate executive or a first-year college student. In this seminar, we will examine successful approaches to sustained high performance that have been used both on and off the playing field.  Through readings and discussions, students will learn about the... Continue Reading – Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: High Performance Training is not just for Athletes

High-Tech Sustainability: Food for Thought

We all need (and love) to eat. But do you ever stop and think: how is your food produced and where does it come from? How can we maintain a safe and year-round supply? In this course, we will look at ways in which we can use technology to create more sustainable systems of agriculture. In particular, we will investigate the challenges and opportunities associated with greenhouse production. Students will be exposed to greenhouse crop production, review and discuss the necessary inputs... Continue Reading – High-Tech Sustainability: Food for Thought

Hollywood Biotechnology, Fact or Fiction?

Biotechnology has been perceived and portrayed in various ways by Hollywood and filmmakers around the world. In this course, we will explore the occasionally wide gap between public perception and the way science really “works.” Students will view and discuss the portrayal of bio- and nanotechnologies in popular movies. Misconceptions and accurate portrayals will be analyzed to introduce students to a basic understanding of the latest exciting work in rapidly emerging areas such as genomics... Continue Reading – Hollywood Biotechnology, Fact or Fiction?

How to Win a Nobel Prize and the Diversity of Methods Needed

The professor teaching this course worked with all the pioneering Nobel laureates of Molecular Biology. He published with Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, and Crick can trace his scholarly lineage back to Sir Lawrence Bragg, Nobel Prize winner for Physics (1915), who is responsible for the Bragg law of X-ray diffraction. He published with Sir Aaron Klug, who received the Nobel for optical diffraction and the structure of TMV and with Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner, who... Continue Reading – How to Win a Nobel Prize and the Diversity of Methods Needed

Humankind Is My Business - The Healthcare Executive

Today, the American healthcare system is the subject of passionate debate and is changing more rapidly than almost any other field.  Healthcare executives are the women and men who manage the changes. In their roles, they have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to improving the health of the communities served by their organizations. In this seminar, you will learn how and where healthcare services are delivered, who provides those services and how to pay for them.

Kids and Medicine

Everyone remembers receiving medicine when they were children – maybe it was amoxicillin for an ear infection or maybe acetaminophen for a fever. But how do medicines that were originally designed for and tested on adults work on children, an incredibly diverse population weighing anywhere from 1/4 lbs to 200 lbs? How can we give small children medicine that is only available as a tablet? How do we administer medicines intravenously in tiny doses to premature infants? How are dosages... Continue Reading – Kids and Medicine

Landscape/Seascape: An Interdisciplinary Exploration

Stay the weekend at a Rutgers Coastal Experiment Station, and get a first-hand look at the New Jersey coast and how humans have changed it, guided by a marine scientist and a landscape architect. Since the earliest times of European colonization, humans have altered the landscape and seascape. New Jersey encompasses a range of coastal regions, from minimally to heavily altered. We will spend a weekend at the Rutgers University Marine Field Station, going on boat trips in Great Bay and... Continue Reading – Landscape/Seascape: An Interdisciplinary Exploration

Launching Your Successful STEM Career

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields offer exciting opportunities for careers of discovery, innovation, and helping others. But how does one prepare for and achieve such a career? In this seminar, students will learn about the critical role played by research in STEM fields, the skills and qualities that are valuable in research (e.g., programming, teamwork, communication, and persistence in the face of obstacles), and the practical steps they can take at Rutgers... Continue Reading – Launching Your Successful STEM Career

Medical Humanities

This seminar will discuss the reasons why there is a healthcare system, why human beings care for one another and how the humanities plays a role in the delivery of healthcare services.

Medicine- Discovering and Evaluating Commercials and Study Information

In this course, students will be exposed to discovering and evaluating the information provided in medical commercials and headlines of the day. When you see the latest weight loss ad, what does it really mean? When you see the latest headline declaring that coffee is or is not good for you, how do know what the information is based on? Students will explore how to critically evaluate information that impacts everyday life.

New Jersey's Changing Climate: From Polar Bears to Palm Trees

With the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy earlier this decade, questions arose as to whether this is a sign of more severe weather to come. Recent years have also seen massive flooding in our river basins, the wettest two years in over a century (2011, 2018) and the warmest year (2012). Clearly something is happening to our state’s weather and climate, with several potential culprits to blame, foremost being the impact of humans on the regional and global atmosphere and landscape. This... Continue Reading – New Jersey's Changing Climate: From Polar Bears to Palm Trees

Paperbotics and Art

Pulp-based paper has conveyed information with printed lettering, diagrams, and illustrations for hundreds of years. In these conventional formats, the flipping or turning of pages has required human manipulation. Recent research efforts are beginning to add life and active functionality to paper-based structures in the form of mechanical grippers, manipulators, and locomotors. In this hands-on seminar, students will review state-of-the-art research in paper-based robotics (i.e., paperbotics... Continue Reading – Paperbotics and Art

Permaculture: Integrating Land, Resources, People and the Environment

Permaculture involves creating integrated systems of food production, housing, sustainable technologies, and community development. Originally conceptualized as an approach to creating permanent agriculture, the permaculture movement has developed into a whole systems approach with concepts that can be applied to social, cultural, and economic systems. Permaculturalists today include not only farmers, but also community organizers, social workers, and software developers. Beyond food systems... Continue Reading – Permaculture: Integrating Land, Resources, People and the Environment

Pets and Their Parasites

Over the last decade, there have been many studies putting parasites into the context of ecological effects in ecosystems, and these new ideas have altered our thinking on the treatment of parasites. This course will focus on parasites of our pets and wildlife. It will consist of many field trips to domestic animal farms, ponds and streams to collect parasites. Samples will be returned to hands-on labs where the students will learn standard parasitological techniques in worm recovery and... Continue Reading – Pets and Their Parasites

Pollinators and Garden Design

Explore the relationship between pollinators and garden design in the newest campus Living Lab. Can plantings at home, at work, and on campus enhance pollinator abundance and diversity? Do some gardens support more pollinators than others? Students will address these questions by monitoring plots installed by the Landscape Architecture Planting Design Course in the Living Labs complex located around the Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health on the Cook/Douglass campus. Class time will... Continue Reading – Pollinators and Garden Design

Quantum Computing: Qubits, Entanglement, Cryptography, Black Holes, and Firewalls

This seminar will introduce students to the ideas behind the coming quantum computing revolution. We will discuss foundations of quantum information including qubits, entanglement and modern interpretations of quantum mechanics; applications of quantum computing in cryptography and other areas; the technologies being explored for realizing quantum computing; and the quantum information aspects of black holes and gravity. In the seminar, we will discuss technical subjects but at the level of... Continue Reading – Quantum Computing: Qubits, Entanglement, Cryptography, Black Holes, and Firewalls

Radioactivity: What it Means for You

Radioactivity plays an important role in our everyday lives and impacts important societal decisions regarding our energy and climate future. It is important that the public be well informed about what radioactivity is and what its effects on us are. Despite its importance, there is a great deal of ignorance and misinformation surrounding it. In this seminar, we will explore the underlying nature of radioactivity. We will investigate its health and environmental effects and we’ll discuss... Continue Reading – Radioactivity: What it Means for You

RU3D? 3D Printing and the Future of How We Make Things

Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a manufacturing technique in which a 3D physical object is created by directly joining constituent materials. 3D printing has received significant attention in recent years due to its potential impact in industry, defense, healthcare, and even for hobbyists. This seminar series will introduce the principles of various 3D printing technologies, their capabilities and limitations, and emerging applications of 3D printing. In addition, recent implementations... Continue Reading – RU3D? 3D Printing and the Future of How We Make Things

The Arrow of Time: Studies of Decay, Entropy, and Timekeeping

In this seminar, we will investigate the concept of The Arrow Of Time by first understanding entropy. We will learn to use the Python programming language to calculate probabilities, and from that develop an understanding of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. We will discuss the ideas of entropy and decay as they appear in literature and culture, including the hold they have in the collective imagination that leads to the rejection of quantitative metrics that show disease, war,... Continue Reading – The Arrow of Time: Studies of Decay, Entropy, and Timekeeping

The Biology of Infectious Diseases

We live in a microbial world. Most of our focus has been on microbes as “germs”, for good reason. We will discuss some of the most important infections in the world, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, influenza and others, and then focus on how other microbes keep us healthy, and the biological costs of antibiotics. Students will be actively involved in their learning in this course by preparing seminars, among other activities. One useful reference will be the instructor’s book: Missing... Continue Reading – The Biology of Infectious Diseases

The Doctor Is In: Malevolent and Magnificent Microbes

Microbes are organisms too small to be seen by the naked eye. The best known cause diseases but most microbial species are an essential and beneficial part of the living world. The course will discuss the role of selected microbial species 1) diseases in human history (e.g., plague, syphilis, tuberculosis); 2) foods (e.g. bread, miso, yogurt) and beverages (e.g., beer, wine) fermentations; 3) sources of biologically active chemical compounds (e.g. hallucinogens, penicillin, streptomycin);... Continue Reading – The Doctor Is In: Malevolent and Magnificent Microbes

The Function of Love, Work, and Knowledge in Organic Food and Farming Systems

Nurturing the linkage between healthy soils, plants, animals, and people was the original motivation for organic agriculture. While its modern market share and organic certification is celebrated as the result of a phenomenally successful movement, others bemoan the discontents of industrialization. As a mechanical attitude towards life infects all of culture, organic agriculture risks becoming a machine to be similarly manipulated and exploited. As an alternative, functional organic farming... Continue Reading – The Function of Love, Work, and Knowledge in Organic Food and Farming Systems

The New Theory of Human Memory

Ask me to tell you the story of my life, and I will weave an answer based on what I best remember of my experiences. But are all of my memories true? Did they really happen? Thirty years ago human memory was believed to be the result of some sort of recording device in the brain. We now know that autobiographical memory is a narrative that is constantly being rewritten. So, some of our memories of past experiences are in fact false. In this seminar, we will examine the popular theories of... Continue Reading – The New Theory of Human Memory

The Raritan: A River and a Watershed

The Raritan River is interwoven with the history and development of this region. The River creates a boundary between our campuses. But the watershed of the river gives form to our local history and settlement patterns. This course will begin to disentangle the interactions between land use, human settlement patterns, and the Raritan River. We will use tools such as field trips, maps, and historic documents to understand the synergies of the interactions.

The Self and its Disorders

In this seminar, you will be introduced to current thinking about several personality disturbances or mental disorders that involve major alterations of the self or sense of identity: narcissistic, borderline, schizoid, and schizophrenic conditions. We will discuss theories from psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and existential psychology. We will pay special attention to the perspective of the suffering individual, the possible relevance of modern and postmodern cultural factors, and the... Continue Reading – The Self and its Disorders

The Wonder of the Human Machine

The human body is an amazing machine that has an amazing level of organization starting at the molecular level and continuing to the tissue and organ levels. In this class students will be introduced to the inner workings of this machine from the molecular to the tissue level. In addition we will discuss ways biomedical engineers are taking aspects of this organization and using it to build and replace tissues to improve the quality of life of victims of trauma and disease.

Trees, Your Campus and the Environment

Each week we meet on one of the Rutgers New Brunswick campus locations by a bus stop and walk around to explore the natural spaces and specific trees as individuals and as varied species of specific function. We use each campus as a thematic setting to discuss tree biology, design/cultural symbolism in tree use, the linkage between tree species and environment or products developed from specific trees. We'll collectively "meet" and learn about some of the 150+ tree species making up the... Continue Reading – Trees, Your Campus and the Environment

Water Resources Engineering: A Close-up Look at the Raritan River

Water quality science and engineering practices are based on measurement data and geospatial information systems and analysis. Water resources management, itself, depends on data, models, analysis of results and optimization of known or estimated system parameters. Understanding watersheds, and specifically the Raritan River watershed, requires integration of field observations, data, models, and critical evaluations of the combined field and modeled results. This seminar series introduces... Continue Reading – Water Resources Engineering: A Close-up Look at the Raritan River

Social Sciences

“Inner Engineering” for Wellbeing and Thriving in College, Work, and Life

“Inner Engineer” is a comprehensive science-based yoga and meditation program designed by Sadhguru (2016). The program equips one with effective tools to build competence on self-mastery of mind, body, emotion, and energy. With this self-transformation, students will be energetic, joyful, mindful, healthy, and fully functioning and realize their highest potential in college, work, and life. Students will learn the Inner Engineering tools and learn about the research project that examines the... Continue Reading – “Inner Engineering” for Wellbeing and Thriving in College, Work, and Life

American College Life for First Year International Students

Have you ever experienced any culture shock during the first year at Rutgers? In what ways is the college experience in the United States different from the experience if you studied in your home country? What do you expect from your college experience here and how do you look at the challenges that you will face? In this course, we will share our personal experiences, difficulties and our coping strategies. Topics to be discussed in this course include: speaking English as a second language... Continue Reading – American College Life for First Year International Students

Artists and Politics: The Intersections of Policy and Art in the 20th and 21st Centuries

This seminar will examine major American political controversies such as migration, war, urban transformations and gentrification, race, and globalization through the lens of photography, film, and other visual arts. The seminar explores Art (Gustafson) and Public Policy (Salzman) to examine how current policy issues have been and are represented in visual arts. We contrast contemporary policies and art with representations in the past. For example, how the arts reflected/were used in... Continue Reading – Artists and Politics: The Intersections of Policy and Art in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Collaboration for Learning and Performance

This course will introduce you to collaborative and cooperative learning. We will explore ways to create successful learning and work teams. The content of the course is intended to provide some practical help to people who wish to use cooperative and collaborative learning in their classrooms or in other situations. We will explore what it means to be collaborative or cooperative and what impediments there might be. The primary focus of the course is on understanding why one might use... Continue Reading – Collaboration for Learning and Performance

Criminal Court War Stories

We begin with reading a journalistic account of criminal justice in Chicago. This is followed by a more general discussion of criminal justice across many cities. Next a prosecutor, defense attorney , and judge speak to the seminar and share their experiences with particular emphasis on their most memorable cases and with their most poignant insights from their careers working in the courts. Students have the opportunity to carefully question the speaker, and test hypotheses derived from the... Continue Reading – Criminal Court War Stories

Culture Games: What Do Major Sporting Events Tell Us about Society and Culture

American spectacles surrounding sports, athletes, fans and their hero(in)es have articulated an exhilarating and complex narrative of American culture. What role does athletics play in a college education? What do major sporting events tell us about our American identities, communities, culture and society? A variety of sport controversies will be examined such as steroid use, body fascism, violence, power, and the role of media and the NCAA in American athletics. Sport spaces, the... Continue Reading – Culture Games: What Do Major Sporting Events Tell Us about Society and Culture

Examining Archives through the Lens of Popular Culture

In this course, students will learn about what archives and special collections are and how they can be used for research. We will be examining popular culture collections in Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives that document a wide range of topics such as the New Brunswick music scene, cookbooks from around the Garden State, magazines representing a wide variety of subcultures, protest movements posters, and Jersey Shore memorabilia. This hands-on use of archival materials... Continue Reading – Examining Archives through the Lens of Popular Culture

Fundraising Principles: Raising Money for Good Causes

How do nonprofit organizations raise money? In this seminar, you will gain knowledge and skills to help lead student-sponsored fundraising events on campus, in your community, and beyond. Building on fundraising experiences you may have already had in community, school, or faith-based organizations, this seminar will introduce you to the basics of fundraising theory and practice, including special-event planning, individual solicitations, and telethons. Participants will benefit from Rutgers... Continue Reading – Fundraising Principles: Raising Money for Good Causes

Getting It Done: Managing Information for Better Performance

With emerging information and communication technologies, the plethora of information constantly generated is overwhelming. Such an information environment directly affects the way you discover, keep, use, or re-use information for your research. How do you manage your bazillion files? What organizing schemes or strategies for managing information are out there? What works, what doesn’t, and why? This course will focus on understanding what information management entails; and how it requires... Continue Reading – Getting It Done: Managing Information for Better Performance

Immigration, Diversity and Student Journeys to Higher Education

Several recent studies have found that immigrant students perform better than U.S.-born students in college. What drives immigrant students to succeed in higher education? One factor appears to be the skills immigrant students learn while balancing keeping their family cultures alive and learning U.S. culture. Another is the “immigrant bargain” that forms between parents who sacrifice to bring their children to the U.S. for educational opportunities and the drive of immigrant students to... Continue Reading – Immigration, Diversity and Student Journeys to Higher Education

Information Inequality

In this course, we will develop an understanding of information as a commodity, with a richly contested value for both individuals and societies. This course will engage with different types of information inequalities, such as those between economically rich/poor societies, as well as situations where information is restricted or censored. From the level of societies, information is politically and economically charged. The ubiquity of information technology in the West makes it easy to... Continue Reading – Information Inequality

Making a Difference: Nonprofit Leadership in Sub-Saharan Africa

In this seminar students will work on capacity building projects with the co-instructors to support several civil society and nonprofit organizations in Kenya. Students will engage with the Mandela Washington Leadership Fellowship Alumni on their Civil Society Organization Projects in Kenya through the use of electronic media (e.g. Skype). The seminar will engage students with Johnson & Johnson leaders based both in the U.S. and in sub-Saharan Africa about best practices in managing and... Continue Reading – Making a Difference: Nonprofit Leadership in Sub-Saharan Africa

Media in the Digital Age

Understanding the nature and impact of digital technology on media and society is the focus of this seminar. Students examine the changing nature of media in the digital environment, including social media, and their consequences, especially implications for civility, democracy, journalism and beyond.

Prosecution: Practice, Ethics and Justice

This course focuses on the role of the prosecutor both as a protector of the community and as an agent of social justice.  At every step of the criminal justice process – from investigation to arrest to bail to charging to plea negotiations to trial to sentencing – the prosecutor must make critical choices.  Every one of these choices impacts not only the criminal justice system but also the citizens who face incarceration and the families and communities who rely on those citizens.  This... Continue Reading – Prosecution: Practice, Ethics and Justice

Resilience, Research, and Relationships

No matter who you are or where you come from, your life is bound to be crowded with challenges. How do individuals successfully overcome challenges? This is the central question of resilience research, research on how people “bounce back,” adjust to change, and overcome adversity. This research shows that having just one important personal relationship is the most important factor that promotes individual resilience. In this seminar, we will explore resilience and relationships in the lives... Continue Reading – Resilience, Research, and Relationships

Social Engagement in XR (Extended Reality)

Cities face challenges when it comes to messaging about available social services, historical curiosities, and creative culture. Community access isn’t necessarily limited by financial or bureaucratic barriers, but through wayfinding and navigation due to poor signage or a dearth of public information. Through web-based tools in XR (extended reality, inclusive of augmented and virtual reality), our smartphones can give us the ability to immediately reveal resources hidden in plain sight as... Continue Reading – Social Engagement in XR (Extended Reality)

Talking Politics: Disagreeing without Being Disagreeable

In order for democracy to work, citizens need to be able to talk to each other. Addressing public policy challenges, such as stable economic growth, health care, and college affordability, requires reasoned deliberation, critical thinking, and open and civil discourse. Unfortunately, such models of political discussion can be few and far between in contemporary American politics. This seminar considers why engaging in honest but civil political discussion is integral to American democracy’s... Continue Reading – Talking Politics: Disagreeing without Being Disagreeable

The American Governor: Dealing with Disaster

As the chief executives of their states, governors shape policy, set the state agenda, and act as their state’s representatives in the public eye. Put simply, the governor is usually the most important and powerful person in the state during his or her term(s) in office. No wonder, as we look ahead to 2020, that governors and former governors will once again be on the short lists of potential presidential candidates. Of all the tests a governor can face, however, perhaps none is as important... Continue Reading – The American Governor: Dealing with Disaster

The Art and Science of Positive Leadership

Throughout history, and certainly during the history of the United States and Rutgers University, progress has been synonymous with leadership. The revolutionary understanding of leadership is that it is everywhere and in everyone’s capacity. While some may be born with a number of the attributes needed for outstanding leadership, it is well accepted, that leadership is something that can be learned and that can be studied. This seminar explores qualitative and quantitative research “on... Continue Reading – The Art and Science of Positive Leadership

Urban Adventure

Adventure is usually associated with escaping community, leaving civilization, and “entering nature,” in part because of the common view that human beings are separate from nature. In this course we will assume the contrary—that the environment humans have built—cities, highways, bridges —is part of nature and also can be places of adventure and wonder. Reading select chapters from books of mine such as Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike and The George Washington Bridge: Poetry... Continue Reading – Urban Adventure

Visualizing Data to Tell a Story

Students will learn about the principles and techniques necessary to tell a story using data visualization tools. They will analyze examples of successful visual data stories and learn to create effective visualizations using tools such as Google Motion Charts and Tableau. Students will work in teams to collect and prepare a rich data set that can be visualized as an interactive and engaging data story.

Who RU @ the University?

What is the purpose of attending a university? What is your role as a college student? More importantly, who are RU @ Rutgers and what is the impact you want to make? This course will explore the relationship of higher education, society, and your role as college students. We will explore an emerging field called Critical University Studies (CSU), and use Rutgers University as a site of exploration. CSU serves as an approach to examine institutions of higher education in the United States in... Continue Reading – Who RU @ the University?

Yankee Stadium

Why did the Stadium cross the road? In this seminar we develop multiple perspectives on the history of Yankee Stadium and its epic journey from "The House that Ruth Built" to its current home in the Bronx, New York. We will observe and analyze a number of related themes and issues, including relationships between public finance, private enterprise, and urban development. The flexible, situational character of change and tradition is examined as well. Students will explore potential topics... Continue Reading – Yankee Stadium