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Check out some interesting courses to add to your spring semester schedule

Though the fall leaves on campus may make spring feel far in the future, Case Western Reserve University students will be thinking about the season in the coming days—undergraduate registration for the spring semester begins next Monday, Nov. 16 (depending on the school; graduate program registration may already have started or may begin in the coming weeks). 

Students are able to register for a wide range of courses regardless of their majors. From studying music cultures around the world to investigating ethics as it relates to artificial intelligence, coursework for the spring semester has plenty to offer. The Daily wanted to highlight interesting (and sometimes unexpected!) class topics available at CWRU next spring.

The courses highlighted here—many suggested by departments—are categorized in the following subject areas:

  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Business, Law and Politics
  • Health and Wellness
  • Science and Tech

Curious for more ideas? Head to the Registrar’s website for additional course listings.

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Special Topics in Ethics course on Ethics and Artificial Intelligence

PHIL 330/430 
Instructor: Shannon French
Open to undergraduates

This course will explore ethical issues concerning the development and use of Artificial Intelligence, ranging from deferring to automation as an authority to the effects of bias embedded in algorithms to vital questions of autonomy and accountability, all the way to an examination of possible rights for advanced AI systems in the future. AI is currently used in many settings, from businesses to health care to the military, all of which have an impact on human lives. There are risks and opportunities associated with this, including the intriguing possibility that we could use AI as augmentation to make us more ethical, not less. This course will give students the opportunity to consider and debate how AI can be designed and deployed in ways that promote the common good and avoid causing harm, especially to the most vulnerable among us.

History of Nature

HSTY 294
Instructor: Aviva Rothman

What is nature, and what counts as natural? This course will examine the complicated and varied historical relationships between people and the natural world in the west. Like humans, nature, too, has a history, and its meanings, boundaries, and uses have changed dramatically over time. By studying those changes, we gain insight not merely into the world we inhabit and the ways that we have shaped it, for better or worse, but also into ourselves—our beliefs, values and ambitions. The course will cover approaches to nature from the ancient Greeks to the modern anthropocene. We will look at how nature has been understood over time not only through texts but also through art, objects, and film. The course will include visits to various local sites in order for us to pursue these themes in a hands-on way.

Russian Literature in Translation

RUSN 375/WLIT 375
Instructor: Tatiana Zilotina

This course explores the “Golden Age” of Russian literature—the 19th-century Russian classics. Works by Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol’, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov will be discussed in the context of Russian history and culture. Students will look for answers to the following questions:

  • Why did Russian literature gain such prestige?
  • What can Russian literature still teach us today?
  • How do Russian classical writers depict the most essential aspects of human experience?

No knowledge of Russian required to take this course, which may count toward the Russian minor. It counts for the CAS Global & Cultural Diversity requirement.

Music Cultures of the World

MUHI 310
Instructor: Andrew Kluth

This course is an introduction to musics of the world, focusing on the relationship of musical traditions and practices to culture and society.

Art at the Crossroads of Religion: Polytheistic, Christian and Islamic Art in Antiquity

ARTH 325, ARTH 425 and CLSC 325
Instructor: Elizabeth S. Bolman

HoloLens will be an important part of this class. Students will work with the Interactive Commons to allow for a mixed reality exploration of a late fifth-century monastic church in Upper Egypt. HoloLens engages with monuments in completely new ways, and promises to become a fundamental part of high-quality remote instruction in the future. This course counts for the CAS Global & Cultural Diversity requirement.

Women and Medicine in the United States

HSTY 373, HSTY 473, WGST 373
Instructor: Renee Sentilles

Students in this seminar will investigate the experiences of American women as practitioners and as patients. Students will meet weekly at the Dittrick Medical History Center for discussion of texts and use artifacts from the museum’s collection. After a unit exploring how the female body was viewed by medical theorists from the Galenic period to the 19th century, students will look at midwives, college-trained female doctors and nurses, and health advocacy among poor populations. Students then will look at women’s experiences in terms of menstruation, childbearing and menopause, before exploring the cultural relationship between women and psychological disorders. This course counts for the CAS Global & Cultural Diversity requirement.

Business, Law and Politics

Introduction to Programming for Business Applications

BTEC 420 and DESN 210
Instructor: David Stanek

This course will introduce students to the basics of programming logic using the Python programming language and environment. It will teach the fundamentals of programming logic, which could be applied to any programming language available today or into the future.

Economics of Negotiation and conflict resolution

ECON 431 and ORBH 413
Instructor: Roman Sheremeta
Prerequisites: Graduate students only

Students frequently enroll in a negotiation class with one thought in mind—negotiating a better job offer from an employer. They soon learn, however, that negotiation skills can do far more than improve a paycheck. Negotiations occur everywhere: in marriages, in divorces, in small work teams, in large organizations, in getting a job, in losing a job, in deal making, in decision making, in board rooms, and in court rooms. The current wave of corporate restructuring makes the study of negotiations especially important for MBAs. Mergers, acquisitions, downsizing and joint ventures call into question well-established business and employment relationships. Navigating these choppy waters by building new relationships requires the negotiation skills students will learn in this class.

Health Care Controversies

LAWS 5220
Instructors: Maxwell Mehlman
Prerequisites: LAWS 4201

In this experiential two-credit course, students will be confronted with a series of current, controversial, real-world problems in health law and policy, such as:

  • How to allocate transplant organs;
  • How to ration expensive health care services;
  • “Reforming” the medical malpractice system; 
  • How the employment of physicians by hospitals alters the legal nature of the patient-physician relationship; and
  • Legal issues associated with accountable care organizations under the Affordable Care Act.

To approximate real-world experience in the practice of health law, students will be teamed with other students on a rotating basis and required to produce a team response and present and defend it in class. 

For each problem, the student also will be required to write a short memo (approximately five pages) describing their own personal solution or response. Six memos are due over the course of the semester, approximately one every two weeks. The students’ grade will be based on the grades they receive on the memos. Students from other health professional schools may enroll in the course and will be included in the teams. In addition to the law instructor, there will be an outside medical or policy expert assisting with each problem.

Political Movements and Political Participation

POSC 322 and POSC 422
Instructor: Karen Beckwith

Political Movements and Political Participation is concerned with the variety of ways citizens engage in collective activism in the United States and across national boundaries, and with the conditions under which citizens identify common concerns and join together in political movements to bring about change. The course begins with an examination of three general bodies of theory and research on political movements: resource mobilization, political opportunity structures, and cultural framing. 

Students also will investigate frameworks of political participation for understanding the relationships among different expressions of collective activism and representation. In the context of these sometimes competing theories, students will consider:

  1. The conditions under which political movements are likely to emerge, as well as the circumstances in which collective political action is precluded;
  2. How citizens come to recognize collective grievances and shared political identities;
  3. The strategies and tactics of organized movements, and their likelihood of political success; and
  4. The relationship between political movements, political parties and the state.

Health and Wellness

Global Food Systems: Environmental Issues, Sustainability, and Health

NTRN 340
Instructor: James Swain

Environmental changes impact humans worldwide, with an influence lasting many generations into the future. An in-depth understanding of the interplay between food systems—global food production, distribution and selection—and environment and sustainability issues, as related to human nutrition, health and well-being has never been more important. 

This course will provide an in-depth analysis regarding how food systems and the environment are interconnected in a multitude of ways. Additionally, the course will examine how issues of sustainability affect food production, distribution and quality. Further, how environmental and sustainability issues directly affect the nutritive qualities of foods. Course topics initially include a review of environmental factors impacting food systems, types of sustainable food systems, historical perspectives and aspects of human nutrition. Once students master the initial concepts, then into more detailed topics related to production approaches, biotechnology, soil/water quality, and food security on a local, national and global level will be studied.

Health Care in the Community

NURS 160
Prerequisites: First-year BSN students

This course is a seminar focused on the delivery of culturally appropriate, community-based health care and on selected issues contributing to the growing disparities in health care outcomes. Students will engage in a field experience in a Cleveland community health facility or school system. The seminar will include sessions devoted to reflection and evaluation of the field experience related to issues contributing to disparities in health care and content related to public health nursing.

Science and Tech

Introduction to Life in the Universe

ASTR 107
Instructor: Jeffrey Kriessler

This course is intended to introduce the non-scientist to the field of astrobiology—the interdisciplinary study of, and the search for, extraterrestrial life and the conditions for extraterrestrial life in the universe.

Introduction to GIS for Environmental and Earth Sciences

EEPS 355
Instructor: Nicholas Sutfin

This course introduces students to the analysis of spatial data in the context of Earth’s environment. Students will engage with modern environmental science questions while learning the leading approach to mapping and analyzing spatial data: geographical information systems (GIS).

Climate Change Science and Society

BIOL 205, EEPS 205 and HSTY 205
Instructor: Sarah Diamond, Beverly Saylor and Peter Shulman

This course provides a synoptic, multi-disciplinary understanding of the past, present and future of anthropogenic climate change by integrating three distinct fields: the earth and environmental sciences, biology and ecology, and history. 

What is changing in the global climate? Why? How do we know? What should we expect in the future? What can be done? No single discipline can answer these questions fully, and by organizing the course around these big questions, students will demonstrate how different disciplines each contribute essential answers. This course covers diverse sources of evidence for climate change in the past and present, the core mechanisms of climate change at different timescales and their consequences, the impact of climate change on human history and history of the discovery of climate change, climate models and ecological forecasts, the modern politics and diplomacy of climate, climate communication, and multiple paths forward for the earth’s physical, ecological, and social systems.