Master's in Applied Arts and Sciences

Courses by Semester

2017 First Fall Session: August 15–October 5

Dates to Remember

August 15: Classes begin
August 17: Last day to drop for tuition/fees refund
August 17: Last day to drop/add
September 11: Last day to withdraw without academic penalty
October 5: Last day of classes

The Contemporary World

MLS610c   CRN 86877


Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

Click here for calendar.

This course will examine contemporary global issues since World War II with a focus on the most recent past, since about 1990. What was the so-called American century? How has it shaped the experience of those who are not American? Is it still a valid concept? Has it changed, and if so, how and why?

We will examine the world by regions, with a number of developments in mind. Colonialism and its demise are obviously key for the years immediately following the Second World War. In addition to its continuing influence, recent themes of great importance include globalization and technological change. Readings will emphasize the perceptions of those who have lived through the events under consideration. Since it is impossible for us to escape our own bias entirely, however much we desire to be informed consumers of the news, papers and discussions will emphasize techniques of evaluating the information we are given and strategies for understanding our experience as Americans in a larger context.

Ann Saab (Ph.D., Harvard) is Professor Emeritus of History at UNCG. She has served as Associate Dean of the UNCG Graduate School and Head of the History Department. Her research interests focus on cross-cultural understanding and misunderstandings.

Global Arts: into the HeARTS of Other Cultures

MLS610d    CRN 86700


Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

Can we appreciate the arts of cultures foreign to us? Is a translation process necessary? Does a culture's sense of time and space affect its artistic expressions? Study of global arts provides a helpful window into the hearts of other cultures. In this course we will expand our understanding of our ways of thinking/sensing/feeling to prepare for a comparative exploration of the arts of four different cultural contexts beyond our own. We will survey the past and present arts of these countries in search of clues to common themes and ideas while attempting to discover the distinct world views represented.

Larry Lavender (Ph.D., New York University) is a Professor of Dance at UNCG. He holds an M.F.A. in Choreography from UC Irvine and a Ph.D. in Dance Education. Prior to coming to UNCG in 2002, Larry was Head of Dance and Director of the Interdisciplinary Undergraduate degree program at the University of New Mexico. Larry's primary areas of teaching are dance criticism, choreography, writing about art, and creativity studies.

Passion of the Western Mind

MLS610b   CRN 86701


Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

Click here for the course's book list.

There are many big stories in the history of western civilization, stories that unfold over centuries and across many periods of western history. This is one of them. It has to do with the formation of an enduring world view that connects human beings in intimate ways to the universe and proves a sense of meaning to human existence. This worldview also furnishes a direction and goal for human activity. Or, to put it another way, gives human existence purpose.

This worldview in its essential elements takes shape in the world of ancient Greece in the late 5th and 4th centuries BC and it lasts for nearly 2000 years in one form or another. We might thus see it as "the western outlook." But for a number of reasons, this worldview collapses—ends up being impossible to sustain by the late 17th century. This collapse produces part 2 of our big story—the quest for a new, equally satisfying worldview with an equally compelling picture of human meaning and purpose. The quest has gone on now for 300 years without success. These are the stories we will explore in this class.

Stephen Ruzicka (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is an esteemed historian and professor with a career in publishing and teaching spanning more than 35 years. Dr. Ruzicka has taught history at UNCG since 1980, and his research specializations include Ancient History, Classics, Early Christian Literature, and World History. A contributor to various academic journals and publications, his most recent book is Trouble in the West: The Persian Empire and Egypt, 525-332 B.C.

Systems Thinking

MLS620a   CRN 86704


Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

The purpose of this course is to familiarize you with the theories behind systems thinking and the practical methods of synthesis and analysis that have developed alongside systems thinking’s theoretical constructions. The course is designed as an online seminar with a praxeological element. In the course you will develop case studies based on systems methods of investigation. You also will be engaging in reading, in-depth discussion, and writing on the nature of systems thinking, its orientation, range of applicability, and worldview. The primary goal of the course is for you to become competent in applying the tools of systems thinking to real world systemic problems in order to enact genuine, lasting change.

Bennett H. Ramsey (Ph.D., M.Div., Untion Theological Seminary in New York) Dr Ramsey is Associater Professor of Religious Studies at UNCG. His current research interests are in spirituality and politics..

2017 Fall Ten Week Classes: September 11–November 21

Dates to Remember

September 11: Classes begin
September 13: Last day to drop/add
September 13: Last day to drop for tuition refund
October 17: Last day to withdraw without academic penalty
November 21: Last day of classes

London's Fictions

MLS610e   CRN 86878


Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

From the Restoration until the death of Queen Victoria the development of London as a metropolis, a national capital, and a center of empire made it the first truly modern European city. Writers in two “new” literary forms – the novel and manners comedy – described vividly the pleasures, perils, and problems of London life during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This course will look at London’s growth, as interpreted in Roy Porter’s London: A Social History, in relation to its fictional representations by novelists (Dickens, Fielding) and dramatists (Wilde, Sheridan, Congreve). These authors’ images of wealth and crime, entertainment and alienation, spectacle and terror shaped our sense of what it means to inhabit a city.

Joseph Rosenblum (Ph.D., Duke University) grew up in Connecticut in a family where the greatest sin was raising one’s voice, though buying retail ran a close second. Since 1980, he has taught at UNCG. Among his books are “Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography” (1992), “A Reader’s Guide to Shakespeare” (1998) and “The Greenwood Companion to Shakespeare” (2005). In 1990, he won second prize in the Oxford University Press English Detective Fiction contest with a story about a thief who leaves Shakespearean quotations in lieu of the objects he steals.

2017 Second Fall Session: October 6–December 4

Dates to Remember

October 6: Classes begin
October 9: Last day to drop for tuition/fees refund
October 9: Last day to drop/add
November 2: Last day to drop without academic penalty
December 4: Last day of classes

Design Thinking

MLS610a    CRN 86702


Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

Design Thinking
Graduate Course Description
Dr. Charlie Headington
Master of Liberal Studies

Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to problem-solving and innovation. It solves complex problems like a failing business, an outdated curriculum, inaccessible health services, launching a new product, switching to sustainable practices, and starting a new enterprise. It is being used by teachers, business people, designers, social entrepreneurs and activists for developing meaningful and useful responses to contemporary challenges.

Design thinking is unique among methods of innovation by putting the user first. A New York Times article described design thinking thusly, “You look at problems first through the prism of user’s needs, research those needs with real people and then build prototype products quickly.” Thus empathy or an empathetic understanding of the users is paramount.

In other works, DT upends normal innovation by putting the user in the foreground. They, the users, continue to collaborate with the designers until the product or service is just right for their needs. That insures the user’s satisfaction and the designer’s success.

The process used in this course moves from Inspiration to Ideation to Implementation. And you’ll be introduced to a set of tools that put these concepts in motion. Your main text will remain a trustworthy guide in this course and future innovations.

During these seven weeks you’ll move from user’s needs to entertaining diverse solutions, choosing and developing the best, and finally launching one. You’ll be immersed in design thinking, all the time being in dialogue with others and your professor. Your goal is to bring your project to the implementation stage. There are no formal papers.

Text The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design by IDEO. org (978-0-9914063-1-9)

Charlie Headington (Ph.D., University of Chicago) teaches a variety of courses at UNCG and in the community. Most of them encourage people to examine themselves and society, and make constructive changes in how they think and live. He likes to garden, walk, cook, be with his family, and learn Italian.

The Global Economy

MLS620b   CRN 86705


Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

For the past decade or so, “globalization” has been the media buzzword used to describe changes in the U.S. and world economies, perhaps second in recent years only to “the New Economy” in frequency of use. For the most part, this discussion of globalization has focused on changes that seem apparent in contrast to the period following WWII. According to one popular version of this story, in the 1970s the barriers to cross-border trade and financial transactions began to come down. By the late 1990s, as one commentator put it, we lived on the cusp of a “borderless world” where people, information, equipment and ideas would flow freely. In this context, it was imagined, the world would prosper as never before.

During the post-war period, global cross-border trade and financial transactions were a fraction of what they are today. For many developed countries, the increased trade of the past few decades has meant a decline in the importance of manufacturing, as production of everything from cars to shoes has moved to places where labor was relatively cheap. For a few developing countries, this has meant increased investment from rich developed nations. But for many—especially countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, to say nothing of the ex-manufacturing sectors of the developed world—so called “globalization” has bought few, if any, of the beneficial effects once imagined. Or so it would seem.

This course begins where the theory of the global economy and its reality meet. In general, the course highlights the theory of free trade, since it is on the back of this theory that the promise of globalization—or we might say, economic liberalization—rests. As we will see, the most recent episode of economic liberalization is but a small part of the whole story, although our recent experiences can tell us a good deal about how free trade might or might not work, and for whose benefit. The course is divided into eight basic units, each exploring an important topic for understanding the global economy.

Jeff Sarbaum (Ph.D., SUNY Binghamton) is Lecturer of Economics at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has specialized in experimental, labor international and urban economics and is an award-winning economics teacher.

Dangerous Minds: Terrorism

MLS620c    CRN 86706


Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

We live in dangerous times. Violence, mischief, and mayhem have long characterized criminal behaviors that represent humanity’s dark underbelly. While it may be possible to isolate certain psychological types susceptible to recruitment by terrorist organizations, it is simplistic to profile individual terrorists and religious extremists without understanding the true nature of the systems that spawn them. Because we cannot separate individuals from the societies they belong to, it is essential to understand the cultural, political, and economic conditions that encourage terrorism and violence. In response to pervasive frustrations or manifold abuses, violence can transcend the individual to become governmental policies or social movements, propelled and justified by revolutionary ideology or religious beliefs.

The course asks hard questions not only about the perpetrators of political and religious extremism around the world, but also about the social, economic, and political structures that give rise to violent acts against perceived enemies. The dangers we face in a liberal democracy are not imagined. The lesson of 9/11 is that our enemies are real. While we may easily identify one strand of radical Islamic orthodoxy as a legitimate enemy committed to our destruction, we must also ask what, if any, real differences separate a Christian fundamentalist who terrorizes abortion clinics in Florida from a Muslim suicide bomber intent on our destruction.

More than an analysis of individual personality types, the course examines the premise that all social, political, and economic systems have their darker sides. It seeks to engage those contradictions through films, readings, and dialogue to imagine creative solutions that enhance our lives as well transform the structures that encourage terrorism.

Carrie Levesque (Ph.D., Duke University) is a Lecturer in Liberal Studies at UNCG. With a background in Russian literature and Women’s Studies, she has a wide variety of teaching interests, from women’s memoirs of war and terror to social and economic issues in American motherhood. She spends her free time studying Norwegian (and Norwegians) after moving with her family to Bergen, Norway, in fall 2012.

Reason to Relativity: Revolutions in Scientific Thought

MLS630a   CRN 86707


Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

For centuries Aristotle's interpretation of the physical world stood as the gold standard. It shaped how generations of scholars and scientists saw and described their own world—until Newton arrived on the scene. Much later, Einstein filled in the gaps that Newton's vision didn't adequately explain. Today, Einstein's theories are being simultaneously verified and challenged by the next generation of scientists. This dynamic process has had its ups and downs since Aristotle's time—both revolutionary and evolutionary—while the search for truth goes valiantly on. Our goal is to view discoveries and revelations in the context of both their historical and scientific importance and discover what prompted great minds to take these leaps forward.

Bob Miller (Ph.D., Illinois Institute of Technology) is Professor Emeritus of Chemistry. As Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences he was instrumental in the founding of the MALS program in 1985.