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 / 38-132 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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66-137 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: You Make Me Sick: Causes and Consequences of Health Disparities

Why do some people live well into their nineties while others are more likely to die at an earlier age? The answer to this question can be more complex than one might think. Life expectancy can be influenced by a host of individual and population-level factors. This course…
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66-138 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Militarizing Freedom: Arms in American 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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66-139 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Reducing Conflict Around Identity and Positionality

Learning to reduce conflict requires understanding positionality and identities, and why and how societies build barriers in their populations. In this interdisciplinary course, students will learn how to talk to each other and strangers about identity: its defining…
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66-140 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Equitable Access and Success in Higher Education: A Case Study of Carnegie Mellon University

With the Supreme Court poised to rule on affirmative action, the challenge of equitable access to higher education is back in the public spotlight. Carnegie Mellon, as a university that brings together students from a wide variety of backgrounds, serves as a case study for…
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66-141 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Freedom of Speech & Academic Freedom

This Grand Challenge course offers a comprehensive exploration of the principles, controversies, and significance of Freedom of Speech (FOS) and Academic Freedom (AF). By exploring actual and hypothetical cases, students will analyze the complex dilemmas that arise when we…
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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: Realizing Human Rights: 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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66-144 Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: In Transit: Exile, Migration, and Culture

The world is currently experiencing the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II. Large numbers of people are forced from home for political, personal, or racial reasons, and many others leave home because of grinding poverty and need. Conflicts about the mass…
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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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