New One-Credit Courses Explore Race, Public Health, and Career Preparedness

Over the past few months, URI students, faculty, and staff have seen the world change — from the overwhelming, far-reaching effects of a global pandemic to the much-needed return of global attention to the racial injustices woven deeply into the fabric of our nation’s history. In response to these current events, faculty in URI’s College of Arts and Sciences have created new additions to the typical roster of courses. “Arts and Sciences offers these one-credit, S/U graded courses for the fall in order to be responsive to urgent issues that need our attention — namely COVID-19 and racial justice — or to address practical concerns, like career preparation,” says Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Nedra Reynolds. “The dean asked the faculty to consider designing innovative offerings so that students can move one or two credits closer to graduation during a fall semester that may be challenging for all of us.”

These special topics courses are scattered across a broad spectrum of Arts and Sciences majors. Courses like AAF 120X: Rewatching the Watchmen, AAF 207X: Conversations on Race, CCJ 100X: Interrogating Criminal Justice Reform, HIS/APG 392X: The URI Campus: A Walk Through Time, and SOC/APG 140X: Anti-Black Racism and White Supremacy use a variety of mediums to tackle the complex issues of police brutality, racial injustice, white supremacy, and colonialism that continue to be problematic in America today. On a public health front, courses such as CSC 292: Exploring COVID-19 Data and ENG 105X: Tolkien, Wordsworth, and Escapism take two very different yet intertwined looks at the COVID-19 pandemic from both a STEM and humanities perspective. Even still, CSC 292: Being Human in STEM and SCM 351X: 2020TV: Broadcasting Contemporary Issues work to combine and tackle issues surrounding identity and public health, while PSC 101X: Workplace Readiness for Social Science Majors allows social science students to begin preparation for the future.

While no one truly knows what awaits us in the semester ahead, students can count on these courses to help them explore their interest in current events, no matter where they might find themselves studying. “The goal is to engage students without the demands of a 3- or 4-credit course,” Reynolds explains. “We appreciate how everyone pitched in to get these courses ready for students; both the A&S Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Senate Curriculum and Standards committees met over the summer to get these special courses approved.” 

Registration for these courses is now available for any and all current URI students on E-Campus, though space is limited. Students can find in-depth course descriptions here.

~ Written by Chase Hoffman, Writing & Rhetoric and Anthropology Double Major, URI Class of December 2020