LSTD 3343: Challenges in a Changing World
We must be innovative and rational in our thinking to effectively deal with the consequences of an ever-evolving society. Challenges in a Changing World familiarizes students with some of the most challenging problems facing society today and encourages critical thinking regarding these social issues.
This class is cool because it invites students to critically examine many of the taboo topics that people are often hesitant to discuss openly. In the class, students talk about sex, pornography, prostitution, marriage equality, drug legalization, crime, immigration, environment, terrorism and so forth. These are all topics about which many people have passionate opinions, and they can easily lead to disagreement. The issues are complex and there are a variety of perspectives to consider. Students won’t solve all of society’s problems in one class, but can make progress by creating an awareness of biased, uninformed or prejudiced information.
“In this class, I hope students gain an appreciation for differing points of view and a deeper understanding of their own perspective,” said current instructor, Michelle Shults. “In addition, I hope that students come away with a sense of responsibility regarding these issues. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of adults over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree currently hovers just under 30 percent. Being in that 30 percent comes with responsibility. Those degreed individuals often find themselves in leadership positions where they may have an opportunity to influence social policy or advocate for change. That necessitates a better understanding of social issues.”
Students in this class are constantly asked to question what they read. At its core, this class is about problem solving and critical thinking. Knowing how to examine information and arrive at a reasonable conclusion is a skill that can be applied on the job, in the home and in civic duty as voting citizens. The problems facing society will continue to evolve. The benefit lies not only in understanding the problems of today, but in knowing how to think about the problems that will inevitably arise in the future.
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