KEYS - Global Keystone Seminars


Effective 1 June 2023 through 31 May 2024

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

Course Descriptions

Global Citizenship Program
Knowledge Areas
ARTS Arts Appreciation
GLBL Global Understanding
PNW Physical & Natural World
QL Quantitative Literacy
ROC Roots of Cultures
SSHB Social Systems & Human Behavior
Global Citizenship Program
Skill Areas
CRI Critical Thinking
ETH Ethical Reasoning
INTC Intercultural Competence
OCOM Oral Communication
WCOM Written Communication
** Course fulfills two skill areas


KEYS 4001 Real-World Survivor (3)

This course explores the contributing factors and ethical implications of global poverty. The United Nations Sustainable 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. This experience takes place over fall break.

Fall Semester Only

KEYS 4002 Water: The World's Most Valuable Resource (3)

Water concerns are among the most important and controversial global issues of the 21st century. Examples of current issues include water shortages impacted by political systems; difficulties for vulnerable populations in relation to water-borne diseases; and impacts of water pollution of ecological ecosystems. This course examines the many factors that have contributed to this global water crisis.

Experiential Component: Students could 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 (3)

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.

Applied real-world opportunities: 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 may also participate in transcribing interviews for the Bijlmer Project.

KEYS 4004 Design for Sustainability (3)

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?

Applied real-world opportunities: 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 (3)

This course will examine the status of women and women's rights locally, nationally and globally. This includes analysis 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: Interviews of NGO workers or service learning at homeless/women's shelters.

KEYS 4006 Placelessness (3)

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 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.

KEYS 4007 School on a Shoestring: Educational Inequities (3)

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 explore possible solutions to these issues 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 involving the design of an experiential project for students at a local school.

KEYS 4008 Leading From Where I Am (3)

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.

Applied real-world opportunities: Shadowing community leaders and/or 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 (3)

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. 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.

Applied real-world opportunities: Cultural plunges, overnight retreat, and portfolio development will be involved.

KEYS 4010 The Democratic Process (3)

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.

Applied real-world opportunities: 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 (3)

This course considers the relationship between language and power, particularly in the way global languages like English enable populations and societies in positions of power to protect their political, literary, philosophical and religious interests.

Experiential component: Students will design and present a conference addressing issues discussed within the course using social media to maximize audience outreach and impact.

KEYS 4012 City Life (3)

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 norms, 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, and ethnicity.

Applied real-world opportunities: 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.

KEYS 4013 Innovation and Creativity (3)

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.

Applied real-world opportunities: 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 the Impact of Technologies (3)

Students will explore social movement thematic topics including: the history of social movements, the connection between social justice and social movements, social movement theories, and ethics. Social movement case studies may consist of some of the following movements: American Civil Rights Movement, Black Panthers Movement, Apartheid, Student Activism/Vietnam Protest, Women's Movement, LGBTQ+ Movement, Environmental Movement, American Right-Wing Movement, White Nationalism, Antifa, Extremists Movements, Global Movement, and New Movements such as BLM. Those seeking social change have always made use of the communications technology of the day to promote causes. Hence, the impact of technologies will be an ongoing thread that weaves through each theme with an emphasis on technological systems including social networks and social media. Connections to current-event examples of social movement and protest activity will regularly supplement course material. 

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will conduct research on a current social movement issue(s) and contribute data to that topic. Research will also include the use of technology to reach a wide audience. Students will disseminate research findings to the Webster community or other appropriate stakeholder groups.

KEYS 4015 Food for Thought (3)

We all eat and most of us love food, but do we ever think about how and where our food is produced? In this course, we stop to think about both the practical and ethical issues surrounding our food choices, including culture, nutrition, economics, marketing and distribution, environmental and human impact, and the effect of personal choice.

Experiential component: Multiple trips to food production and distribution centers, food stamp budget or social welfare simulation, and/or service learning at foodbank/soup lines.

KEYS 4016 Business, Behavior, Health and Society (3)

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, and 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.

Applied real-world opportunities: 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 (3)

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.

Applied real-world opportunities: 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 (3)

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.

Applied real-world opportunities: 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? (3)

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.

Applied real-world opportunities: 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.

KEYS 4020 Future Human: Humanity and Technology A.D. 2100 (3)

One of the earliest fables that has come down to us is that of the sorcerer’s apprentice, where a bumbling assistant learns how to turn on his master’s creation, but doesn’t also learn how to turn it off. Whether it is a golem, Frankenstein’s monster, or the artificial intelligences of The Matrix movies, the fear that what we create will ultimately overpower us, enslave us, or even destroy us, is evident throughout literature and art. Yet, we live in a world where we can hardly exist without the constant assistance of computers. Every day, computers become more integrated into our daily lives, such as phones that talk to us, and even into our bodies, such as cochlear implants, gene therapy cures for cystic fibrosis, contact lenses that track blood sugar, and prosthetic limbs that respond to thought. In the future, when machines become ever more a part of our selves, what will it mean to be human? What will it mean to be a machine? And will we in control, or will they?

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will be offered the opportunity to tour at least one local facility that demonstrates, in some fashion, the future of humans and their daily interactions with technology, and will be researching and interviewing people from local firms who are designing the future today. 

KEYS 4021 Citizen Science (3)

This course will explore the methodologies and best practices that have been identified by the citizen science community. The course will model an integrative approach and involve the direct involvement of multiple institutions and departments to explore the relationships between the different disciplines involved such as biological sciences, education, social sciences, data management, and volunteer management. This course will also highlight and explore current citizen science projects from the global, national, and regional level through hands-on activities and projects.

Applied real-world opportunities: Participation in a class Bioblitz event, a group project, and a group presentation will be required.

KEYS 4022 Living Generously (3)

This course explores generosity as an essential component of a happy life and global citizenship. The different ways to be generous will be examined along with the benefits for both the giver and the receiver. Programs and organizations will be analyzed to determine which ones provide the greatest relief and the most impact in improving quality of life. A personal plan for generosity will be developed.

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will experience the joy of giving through acts of kindness and generosity. Students will affect positive change in the community as a volunteer and through participation in a team project.

KEYS 4023 Critical Issues in Global Health (3)

The focus of this course will be on the current state of global health. The Institute of Medicine defines global health as "health problems, issues, and concerns that transcends national boundaries and maybe best addressed by cooperative action." The course will explore the best ways to solve the many issues and problems associated with global health. Methods of furthering productive partnerships transcending cultural differences and political boundaries will be presented.

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will conduct an audit of their own "access" to health supports and environments and compare this familiar access to a different culture). Students will complete an agency review that offers services to immigrant and/or refugee populations. There will be a team project to collect health products for distribution.

KEYS 4024 Family Violence: A Global Perspective (3)

Family violence is a global problem that occurs in virtually every country and culture. Victims of family violence face many challenges in accessing protection, healthcare, social services, and legal assistance. From a global perspective, this course provides an overview of the current knowledge related to family violence and identifies services, programs, and policies to assist children, adults, and communities. Topics include: characteristics and consequences of family violence; violence as a human rights issue; types of family violence across the lifespan; services and programs to assist individuals, families, and groups affected by family violence; and global efforts to prevent and end violence.

Applied real-world opportunities: Students will participate in a community or campus event to increase their awareness of violence prevention programs and services. Examples of community or campus events may include plays, documentaries, art exhibits, presentations, agency interviews, high-profile legal cases, or campaigns (e.g., Take Back the Night March, V-Day activities, The Clothesline Project, Candlelight Vigil and Walk). For this event, students will be encouraged to work in small groups.

KEYS 4025 Political Activism in Sports

Raised fists, kneeling during anthems, and words on jerseys. The connections between activism and sports is not new, nor are they without controversy. This course examines the debate over sports as a platform for activism. Through scholarly and popular readings, film, and discussions, the class will critically examine historical and contemporary contexts surrounding this issue. Students will also evaluate the personal, systemic, and cultural factors that influence approaches to activism in sports. Students will share their own critically reflective perspectives through a combination of in-class discussion, assigned scholarly writing, presentations, personal reflections, and experiential projects. Prerequisite: Completion of all or a substantial number of GCP requirements, or an AA degree for transfer students not required to complete other GCP requirements.