PROFESSOR: Gabriela Medina, M.S.
“Fire and fury!” Words or weapons? Heart or fist? How we choose to handle difficult situations is influenced by the world around us and the world within us. However, is it possible to “train the mind” and change the brain to become more resilient, persistent, and compassionate? In other words, is it possible to grow grit and grace? And, if so, how? Join us for the Signature Course Growth, Grit, and Grace: What Brain Plasticity Can Do for You! We will explore connections between brain plasticity and psychology in order to tackle questions about social issues, such as can our brains be manipulated to dehumanize others, and is it possible to program our brains to develop more kindness and compassion? We will also create a service-learning project that encourages others in our community to learn about and celebrate the brains' amazing ability to change in ways that lead to positive and productive outcomes.
PROFESSOR: Puneet Gill, Ph.D.
ABSTRACT: Climate change is an often-discussed issue in the news, politics and in local communities. Recent events have indicated meaningful discussions about climate change can be strengthened with sustainability discussions. In Half Earth: Our Planets Fight For Life, Dr. E. O. Wilson puts forth the proposal that if we commit half of the planets surface to biodiversity we will be able to stabilize the environment necessary for our survival. Paired with the documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, you will evaluate evidence claims through a lesson plan methodology, evaluate the long term impacts of climate change and the fragile relationship between biodiversity and the impacts of climatic events. Towards the the end of the course, you will argue in defense or support of the Half- Earth proposal set forth by Dr. E.O. Wilson and analyze the feasibility of sustainable solutions to issues that relate to your major or future career aspirations.
PROFESSOR: Hayley Kazen, Ph.D.
ABSTRACT: Why do we fear the “other”? How does fear impact policy? How are groups negatively impacted? In this course, students will learn the negative consequences and ethical issues that fear of the “other” has on marginalizes groups. We will examine how forced relocation, assimilation attempts, discrimination and religion has had a lasting negative impact on marginalizes groups’ physical and mental health, culture, and educational attainment. With both nationalism and immigration on the rise, nationally and globally, it is important to understand how nationalistic attitudes and policies have affected people historically.
ABSTRACT: Signs and symbols tell a story the viewer may be able to understand its meaning and purpose. This course will teach the diverse uses of semiotics, its applications, forms of use in non-textual style (messages), non-sounding (memes) signs and symbols and how individuals encounter semiotics on a daily basis. Western hegemony, however, has established dominance through the acquisition and control of goods that have certain value. Throughout history, cultures have developed unwritten rules to establish classism, which, arguably, has evolved into racism. Hispanic—with particular emphasis on Mexican-American—culture, demonstrates how they place and label individuals within their respective societies.
ABSTRACT: This course provides students with an overview of the factors that constitute resilience and examines the interchange between physical fitness and psychological health. The course reviews how one’s physiological responses to specific physical activity programs lead to improvements in physical fitness. Students also learn about common mental health disorders within a prevention framework. Through a careful examination of the relationship between physical fitness and psychological health, students obtain knowledge and skills for promoting positive change within themselves, thereby, increasing their levels of resilience. This course utilizes an applied approach in teaching the concepts and include practical steps for improving well-being.
PROFESSOR: Deborah Scaggs, Ph.D.
ABSTRACT: What we choose to eat is shaped by several factors: cultural traditions, social surrounding, economic status, geography, advertising, and federal laws. Known as “food politics,” the intersection of these factors shapes with what we actually eat, and what we “choose” to eat is not as democratic as we think. Not only is human health at stake, but also the impact on our environment. Examining food politics as the reflection of one's individual, national, and global identities will allow students to consider the interconnectedness of several components of food beyond what is on their plate.
PROFESSOR: John Kilburn, Ph.D.
ABSTRACT: Each of us has our own definition of what is socially just in society. Various types of people appear to be competing for finite resources. In most cases, this competition manifests itself through a form of individuals looking out for their own self-interest and offering less regard to the interests of others. This course examines how basic needs are regulated in terms of opportunities for employment, educational attainment, access to health care, and governmental benefits. Public perception of unfairness leads to significant discord that ranges from petty interpersonal incivilities to violence and war.
PROFESSOR: Virginia Watkins-Grayson, M.S.
ABSTRACT: Today’s online environment provides a world of information at our fingertips; unfortunately, this world is polluted with falsehoods, fake news, and misinformation and disinformation: a “digital swamp.” Furthermore, with so much polarizing information in the digital ecosystem, students must responsibly evaluate digital content as well as their sharing of information, whether in academic or social media settings. Therefore, this course invites students to examine connections between skills they need to identify fake news, misinformation, or disinformation, and psychological factors. Student will build digital literacy by completing an interdisciplinary research project to fact-check, analyze, annotate, and provide context to digital information.
PROFESSORS: Joe Gutierrez, M.A.
ABSTRACT: We live in a time of prosperity but also in a time of deep divisiveness in America. People often distrust our political leadership at all levels; thus having a low desire to participate in civics. However, when we think of virtuous political leadership several names come to the forefront: - Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt – but what made these leaders great? Were they actually considered great during their time? We will explore some of these well-known figures, by examining at what challenges they faced, how they overcame times of adversity, and led America to greatness.
PROFESSOR: Jerry Thompson, Ph.D.
ABSTRACT: The course will present the rich cultural uniqueness and history of Laredo from the earliest times. The original Native Americans, the Coahuiltecans will be studied as well as the establishment of Laredo as part of Jose de Escandon’s “Villas del Norte” in the province of Nuevo Santander Tomas Sanchez de la Barrera y Garza’s struggles to keep the village safe will be discussed. Mexican independence and a series of wars that swept over the town and region will be presented, especially the struggle between the Centralists and Federalists that lead to the creation of the Republic of the Rio Grande. The 1846-1848 war between the United States and Mexico and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo that made the Rio Grande the boundary will be emphasized as well as the Civil War that followed. The difficult era of Reconstruction and how Samuel M. Jarvis named the streets and changed the city will be another topic of discussion. The bloody election riot in 1886 between the Botas and Guaraches is another topic to be explored. The origins of the patron system and the domination of the Independent Club (Partido Viejo) should be of interest to students. The collapse of the Old Party in 1978 and the emergence of Aldo Tatangelo and the paving of the streets will be another topic. The course will end with NAFTA and the emergence of Laredo as a major city. The course will include guest lecturers, class presentations, and walking tours.
PROFESSORS: Geoffrey Hubona, Ph.D.
ABSTRACT: This course introduces students to the accelerating use of data analytics in both contemporary American society as well as in other countries around the globe. It is a survey course designed to present a sampling of the myriad of data analytics applications from a non-technical point of view. The course traces the history of date analytics and emphasizes contemporary uses of data analytics in business, in government, and in the international community. Course content informs on the pervasive applications of data analytics, at home and in the community, and within various professions. Virtually all large organizations use data analytics today to strategically extract business intelligence from raw data: trends, patterns, and actionable information which serves to better align and move the organization towards designated goals and objectives. These organizations include for-profit businesses, as well as not-for-profit organizations, such as healthcare and government at the state and federal level.
Zaffirini Student Success Center 223
Phone 326-2134 Fax 326-2129