Carnegie Mellon University

Current Grand Challenge Seminars

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66-122 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Beyond Earth: Reaching into the Cosmos through Science, Science Fiction, and Language

The aim in the course is to foster in students a planetary perspective, to see Earth in its context of the cosmos and to see humans in their relation to real or possible forms of life in the universe. The obsession with outer space is found among scientists, business…
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66-132 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Health in Unhealthy Times

We live in times when health is a major global concern, whether we worry about the development of novel Covid-19 mutations or continue to grapple with chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer as well as depression and anxiety. Health and…
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66-133 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: We're Not Beyond Race: Race and Identity in America

Race matters. How have social institutions and historical factors led to the belief systems and stereotypes that shape how race is experienced in American society, and how do these belief systems affect the way individuals come to view and define themselves and others?…
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66-134 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Native Americas: Facts and Fictions

How did Indigenous people respond to the challenges of populating the American hemisphere and creating complex, diverse and dynamic cultures, languages and political entities? How did they survive, adapt to, and resist the conquest and colonization of their lands, and…
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66-138 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Militarizing Freedom: Arms in U.S. Culture

This seminar examines the way American culture and politics have utilized the tools, tactics, and values of the military during both war and peacetime. Utilizing several disciplinary perspectives, including history, rhetorical criticism, fictional narrative, and the…
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66-140 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Equitable Access and Success in Higher Education: A CMU Case Study

Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action have reignited the debate about equitable access to higher education. Affirmative action has been challenged many times over the past 50+ years, and these challenges highlight the complex nature of providing…
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66-142 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: The Mirror of Technology: Exploring Biases in Computation and Cognition

The title of the show, Black Mirror, refers to the blank screens of tech devices that reflect back an image of the human user. The image captures some parts of us, say our facial expression, while deemphasizing, distorting or missing others, say the color of our eyes or…
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66-143 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: The Challenge of Achieving Justice, Equity, and Freedom in a Complex World

This course will introduce first year students to the challenge of protecting and promoting human rights in a world fraught with conflict, political strife, economic exploitation, and environmental hazards. We will focus on how human rights frameworks can be used to make…
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66-145 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Appalachia: Development, Decline, and Identity in American Culture

The Appalachian region, which stretches from Georgia to New York's southern tier, has a particular place in American history and memory. This course will examine the political, literary, economic, and historical narratives that surround the region, as well as examining the…
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66-146 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: From Pandemics to Politics: Modeling Complex Social System

Most of the major issues confronting humanity–such as injustice, discrimination, climate change, financial collapse, ecosystem survival, and disease epidemics–are the result of complex social systems. Such systems have multiple interacting parts that…
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66-147 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: (Mis)Trust in Research

Why is there declining public trust in research and expertise? What kinds of skills are needed to assess the quality of research, and how prevalent are they in the general public? Finally, what can experts do to address the erosion of trust in research? This course will…
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66-151 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Equity and the Environment: Exploring Global Challenges and Local Solutions

How does air quality in one city differ from air quality in another? Do citizens have a right to clean air, regardless of where they live? How does global climate change impact the discussion of environmental and human health? The answer to these and other questions about…
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