GCP Global Keystone Seminars
The mission of the Keystone Seminars is to provide an integrative experience that allows students to address complex problems using the practical and intellectual skills developed in the Global Citizenship Program (GCP). The Keystone seminar is designed to be one of the final courses students take in the GCP.
In Keystone Seminars students will:
- Engage in critical thinking and ethical reasoning
- Use an interdisciplinary approach in addressing a real-world project
- Integrate prior academic learning and personal life experiences
- Collaborate with a team to develop solutions to a real-world problem
- Effectively communicate their thinking and proposed solutions to an authentic audience.
Who needs to take a Keystone Seminar?
All undergraduate students completing Global Citizenship Program requirements must earn a C- or better in a Global Keystone Seminar. In the 2014-2015 academic year, these students should take a Keystone: juniors and seniors pursuing a BA or BS degree who started as freshmen at Webster in 2012 or 2013 and who have completed six of the eight required GCP (knowledge and skills) courses; students transferring in with fewer than 75 credit hours in Fall 2014 or later who have completed general education requirements (for example, by earning an A.A. degree); and students transferring in with fewer than 75 credit hours in Fall 2014 or later who have completed six of the eight required GCP courses.
Further questions about Keystone requirements may be directed to Dr. Victoria McMullen,
Keystone Seminar Director at email@example.com
Global Keystone Seminar descriptions
KEYS 4001 Real-World Survivor
This course explores the contributing factors and ethical implications of global poverty. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are used as a framework to explore issues of hunger, universal education, gender equality, child and maternal health, sustainability and development assistance.
Experiential component: Students will participate in
a global poverty learning simulation at Heifer Ranch Global Village or an equivalent simulation experience. This four-day trip takes place over fall break.
Fall Semester Only
KEYS 4002 Water: The World’s Most Valuable Resource
Water concerns are among the most important and controversial global issues of the 21st century. As evidence, recent years have witnessed: critical shortages of, and limited access to, water used for drinking and agricultural production; increasing incidents of local communities struggling with corporate control over water resources; difficulties for poorer human populations related to water-borne diseases; and significant increases in cost of water through utilities. This course examines the many factors that have contributed to this global water crisis.
Experiential component: Students will test water samples; explore different types of aquatic ecosystems; interview
people about water access, quality and usage; and then will compare their position
relative to water usage with the majority world position.
KEYS 4003 Contemporary Slavery and Human Trafficking
Slavery is illegal globally, yet more people are enslaved/ trafficked today than they were at any point in history. There are approximately 27 million slaves in the world, which is more than the total number of people taken from Africa during the three centuries of the transatlantic slave trade. Work performed by slaves has become an important part of the global economy; many of the products we use and consume, from children’s toys to clothes and electronic goods, are made from materials and components that have been produced by slaves. This course begins with a brief history of slavery in the ancient world through to the present time. The local, national and global economic, political, social, cultural and legal policies, structures, institutions, conditions and practices (or lack thereof) that sustain contemporary slavery and the trafficking of human beings will be examined. The question of what can and must be done to eradicate slavery will be addressed throughout the course.
Experiential component: Documenting and understanding one’s own slavery footprint will help students identify ethical dilemmas in counteracting modern day slavery in every day life. Students will have an opportunity to interact with local organizations involved in combatting slavery and human trafficking and will also participate in transcribing interviews for the Bijlmer Project.
KEYS 4004 Design for Sustainability
Although architects, artists, scientists and other community members have designed ingenious, innovative solutions to meet needs, we have not fully addressed how these solutions affect interconnected systems. What are the dynamics of these systems? How can observing the systems in nature to determine form and function drive a sustainable future? How do we take a systems-based approach to design from the micro to macro? How do we design individual products? How do we design cities and buildings to provide for the health and well-being of its citizens?
Experiential component: Participants will compare and contrast environmental, economic, and social aspects of community-based and global problems; will examine existing and green products and projects; design and implement green projects and products.
KEYS 4005 Global Gender Rights
This course will examine the status of women and women’s rights locally, nationally, and globally. This includes analyses of the economic, political, and cultural policies, structures, institutions, constraints, and conditions that affect the status and rights of women. Possible topics addressed may include: violence against women, women’s health women’s education and economic development, women in leadership and LGBT rights.
Experiential component: Trip to the United Nations Commission on Status of Women conference, interviews of NGO workers or service learning at homeless/ women’s shelters.
KEYS 4006 Placelessness
This course will explore what it means to have a place, whether that place is a nation, an ethnic identity, a physical dwelling or a valued and meaningful position in society. We will examine all dimensions of place starting at the highest levels of place such as citizenship and working our way down to the highly individual. Along the way we will investigate how many other social, cultural, environmental and political problems intersect with our understanding of place and the various meanings attached to it.
Experiential component: Students will construct and execute service-learning projects through available resources. Students will also produce a Public Service Announcement, ad campaign, documentary or game.
Not Offered Until Academic Year 2015-16
KEYS 4007 School on a Shoestring: Educational Inequities
Education is the foundation for economic, social, and personal success, and yet for millions of children primary education is inadequate or unavailable. In this course, educational inequities affecting elementary and secondary students and the systems contributing to these inequities will be examined at the local, national, and global levels. Students will consider populations particularly vulnerable to educational inequities and evaluate the unique effects they have on these populations. Students will collaborate to create recommendations to address educational inequities at the local, national, and/or global levels.
Experiential component: Multiple observations in formal and informal education settings as well as a problem-based learning project on a local, national, or international initiative addressing educational inequity.
KEYS 4008 Leading From Where I Am
This interdisciplinary course explores leadership styles and assists students in developing their strengths in order to develop a distinctive philosophy of leadership. Students will be given the opportunity to develop their leadership through an assessment of their own strengths, projects to develop leadership and learn how to exercise leadership in teams, and reflections on these experiences.
Experiential component: A team leadership project with a real-world application to address a challenge in the students’ community.
KEYS 4009 Through the Looking Glass: Discovering Identity, Purpose and Path
At this point in college, we are either firming up who we are or our lives are turning upside down. Identity is a fluid, ever changing aspect of who we are, what we want to be, and what we value. We see it in how we view others and how others view us. In this class, we will examine theories of personal, cultural, and societal identities and locate them in texts to create reflections of them in ourselves. Through this, we will move forward into examining what we love to do, what we are good at, and how we can use this to make a positive difference in our communities.
Experiential component: Cultural plunges, overnight retreat, and portfolio development will be involved.
KEYS 4010 The Democratic Process
Students in this course will explore democratic processes at the local, national, and international levels. This course will challenge students to define what a democracy is, and what cultural and political developments make democracy possible. It will give students the chance to reflect on their own responsibilities as citizens, and to put their insights into practice as they work as part of a team to advocate for a particular issue or position of their choosing.
Experiential component: In groups, students will choose a local or state issue that is important to them. With the guidance of the instructor, they will design a plan to advocate for a particular position. Possible activities could include participating in a political campaign, mounting a petitioning campaign, or lobbying local or state lawmakers. At the conclusion of the project, students will reflect on what effect their participation in the democratic decision-making process had.
KEYS 4011 Crossing Borders: Language and Power
How do you define torture for international law? How can the Christian Bible include references to homosexuality if the word homosexual did not exist until 1892? What are the ethical issues of teaching university courses in English in countries where English is not the native language of the people? This course will explore issues of language and power as they relate to global religions, literature, international law, and official language policies.
Experiential Component: Students will volunteer with an organization that works with international students or immigrants and journal at assigned intervals within their online workspace over the course of the term on the language and power issues they learn are of importance to the people with whom they are working.
KEYS 4012 City Life
Is space merely a container of social action? Is the city merely the background, the context, of urban research? In this interdisciplinary course, we will examine the city as cultural construct and the city as the site and object of local and global social struggles. Students will explore themes and concerns in the study of urban spaces/places, including how the city has informed imaginations of the social, inequality, justice, and the good life. For example, the city has nurtured modernist dreams of the perfectible society, and conversely, has fed rabid fears of social disorder and violent contagion. The city is an object of contention, complexly entwined with notions of class, gender, race, ethnicity and the global.
Experiential component: The experiential component will be tailored to fit the urban problem being investigated by the class. Some possibilities include: shelter and soup kitchens, work with refugees, work with local government agencies, interviews with stakeholders.
First Offered Spring 2015
KEYS 4013 Innovation and Creativity
Creu Gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen (Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration) —Gwyneth Lewis
What fires innovation and creativity? Often, creativity and innovation are seen as mysterious qualities that only certain people have, but creativity is a quality everyone possesses. This course offers an opportunity to learn about innovations of the past, to work creatively toward solving some problems of today, and to think about the effects of today’s new ideas on tomorrow.
Experiential component: Students will be encouraged to discover how innovation has affected their everyday lives in ways they have probably never considered – for instance, why are there wheels on their luggage? What historical, sociological, and situational forces have pushed for luggage that is small, lightweight and can easily be pulled along? Students will identify a current problem or inefficiency in the world, devise practical solutions/improvements, get feedback from users, and modify their inventions.
KEYS 4014 Social Movements and Technology: Can You Use Technology to Change the World?
Technology is an active participant in the creation and continuation of social movements. Those seeking social change through collective action have always made use of the communications technology of the day to promote causes. This course will examine the role technology plays in social movements. Students will explore subject topics including: an historical/comparative overview of technology and social movements, the anatomy and evolution of social movements, technology systems, civil disobedience, freedom of speech, open-source technology, threats to Net neutrality, ethical implications, and the downside of technology as a tool for social change.
Experiential component: Students will interact with speakers who have experienced significant social movements. Students will also create or work on a social movement and use technology to promote the cause.
KEYS 4015 Food for Thought
This course focuses on how and where food is produced, as well as issues of food scarcity, distribution, and pricing. It addresses local, national and international influences as well as the ethical issues surrounding these topics.
Experiential component: Multiple trips to food production and distribution centers, food stamp budget or social welfare simulation, or and service learning at foodbank/soup lines.
KEYS 4016 Business, Behavior, Health and Society
This course will examine the intersection of business, behavior, health, and society. We will consider the business of health (e.g., weight loss companies, 24 hour gyms, advertising of the fad-type health products and programs, advertising of health products and of unhealthy products such as fast food). We will also examine the culture of health and illness (e.g., comparing cultures to look at healthy and unhealthy behaviors and the cultural perceptions of those behaviors). Across these questions we will consider how these issues play out in the context of contemporary societies.
Experiential component: Students will conduct an audit of their own access to health-supporting environments (e.g., memberships) and compare this familiar access to something new (e.g., a different culture). The experiential component also includes options for assisting with human subject studies on the effects of advertising on diet or the success of weight loss or get-fit programs and creating a business plan for a health-related company.
KEYS 4017 Pedal Power
This course will look at the bicycle as transportation, as exercise, and as industry. The place of bicycles in different societies will be examined, including their social, economic, political, and cultural impact. Ethical concerns related to bicycling will also be explored. Students will analyze issues related to bicycling and participate in a local bicycling event or project.
Experiential component: Local bicycling events, such as a ride for charity, group project to identify an area of need and to plan actions/advocacy to fill that need.
KEYS 4018 Plays and Concerts and Inks, Oh my!: Encountering Art in Our Communities
What is art? What is community? This course explores how a community is reflected in art and how its arts are a reflection of that community. After developing an awareness of what kinds of artistic efforts exist in a particular community, students will bolster these efforts through practical, hands-on activities.
Experiential component: Multiple field trips to arts events, an arts advocacy team project focusing on identifying an arts lack in a community and rectifying it.
KEYS 4019 Art & Social Engagement: How Do the Arts Impact the World?
Whether visual art, performance art, music, film, dance, or theater — art surrounds our lives daily and mirrors our interactions as social beings. The arts are one of the principal drivers of social change, while social engagement also forms a fundamental motive for artistic expression. This course will examine the socio-political implications of art production. To approach the cultural settings of art and social engagement, students will consider (through readings, discussion, written essays, audience involvement, and personal projects) how art histories (i.e. essays/reviews/criticism, and the academic disciplines of art history, musicology, theatre history, etc.), art receivers (viewers/audience/ participants), and art producers (artists), interact in creating and experiencing works of art that address social and political events.
Experiential component: Students will reflect on the production of socially engaged art and on themselves as primary actor/audience via discussion, audience involvement (attending/experiencing), lecture/ presentations, and group and/or personal projects.
Global Keystone Seminars are interdisciplinary learning experiences for Webster University juniors and seniors. If you are not a Webster student, you'll have to apply for admission to take a Keystone Seminar.