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Winter Courses

October 18, 2019

Explore creativity in research, the history of the Earth, globalization and more in these new and noteworthy winter courses!

Bioscience & Biotechnology

Mobilizing the Scientific Method (BIO 305)
Students in this Community-Based Learning course will learn cooperatively with local high school students who will come to Drexel campus weekly. Drexel students work with instructors to develop approaches to ask and answer scientific questions. Drexel students then guide high school partners using a mentor-teacher model. We will use fast plants as our model organism to ask questions with controlled experiments, collect and interpret data, draw conclusions and redesign experiments based on those results. The goal of this course is to encourage collaborative learning through experimentation and mentoring.

This course, led by Karen Kabnick, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays from 4 – 5:50 p.m. and Fridays from 1 – 2:50 p.m. Location: PISB 214.


The Chemistry Behind Drugs (CHEM 375)
This interactive course covers basic concepts of general and organic chemistry that constitute the foundation of medicinal chemistry and biochemistry. It focuses on applications and problem-solving through active-learning and offers a comprehensive overview of potential roles for science majors on a medicinal chemistry team. Students will make interdisciplinary connections while applying nomenclature and physicochemical properties of functional groups (e.g., water/lipid solubility, electronic effects, acidity/basicity, ionization and salt formation at physiological pH) to predict drug-target and drug-drug interactions, as well as drug metabolic pathways.

The course is intended as a primer for students interested in pursuing a career in bioorganic chemistry, chemical biology, biotechnology, medicine, pharmaceutics or health sciences. The ultimate goal of this course is to foster critical, analytical and creative reasoning while increasing professional confidence and expanding the list of considered job options after graduation. This elective also lays the groundwork for a better understanding of:

  • Chemistry of Biomolecules (CHEM 371)
  • Biochemistry (BIO 311)
  • Pharmacology (BIO 314)
  • Structure and Function of Biomolecules (BIO 404)
  • Protein Dysfunction in Disease (BIO 453)
  • Pharmacology I (HSCI 301)
  • Pharmacology II (HSCI 302)
  • Pharmacology for Health Sciences (HSCI 303)
  • Fundamentals of Toxicology (HSCI 375)

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Monica Ilies, PhD, is open to undergraduate students who took CHEM 242 and CHEM 245, or CHEM 243 or CHEM 249. CHEM 243 and CHEM 249 can be taken concurrently with CHEM 375. The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 – 5:50 pm (30-40 min of interactive lecture and 50-40 min of recitation/student journal club discussions).

Enhancing the Creativity of a Research Project (CHEM T580)
This course is designed to infuse greater creativity into a student's major research problem. The course specifically addresses an understated problem; seldom are graduate students explicitly taught how to identify, develop and judge the value of an independent research project. Frequently research projects are derivative because students lack the creative-thinking training that leads to original, high-impact ideas. The course emphasizes a team approach, which may seem counter-intuitive for individual research proposals; yet, extensive research shows that the collective intelligence of small groups is greater than that of a smart researcher working individually.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Paul Gondek, PhD, is open to graduate students. It will meet Mondays from 5:30 – 8:20 p.m.

Environmental Policy

Environmental Justice (ENVP 875)
This seminar course focuses on the concept of environmental justice and injustice; empirical evidence of inequalities; theories of environmental injustice; politics of environmental health and illness; legal remedies at local and international level; and the environmental justice movement.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Diane Sicotte, PhD, is open to all graduate students. It will meet Tuesdays from 6:30 — 9:20 p.m.

Environmental Studies & Sustainability

Delaware River Issues and Policy (ENSS 348)
This course examines the various elements of watershed management including the governance structure of the Delaware Basin, what science can and cannot tell us, how policies may differ by state, how toxic pollutants are managed and impacts of climate change. Other topics addressed include the protection of various species  and the challenges of maintaining the natural world in a densely populated watershed.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Carol Collier, PhD, is open to pre-juniors, juniors and seniors. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 – 6:20 p.m.

Sociology of the Environment (ENSS 244/SOC 244)
This course examines environmental problems through a sociological lens, focusing on the ways that social practices, social structures and economic and political systems drive environmental change, degradation and preservation. We will explore the following questions: Why do humans keep re-creating environmental problems that threaten human and ecosystem survival even with the development of advanced technologies? What are the social barriers that stand in the way of solving the environmental problems of the 21st century? What has kept environmental movements from enjoying more success?

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Amanda Lequieu, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 – 11:50 a.m.


History of the Earth (GEO 102)
In this course, the history of the earth and the evolution of life on earth are examined. Geological and biological processes that allow us to reconstruct the past are emphasized. Topics include geologic time, plate tectonics, and the nature of the fossil record. Lab exercises include hands-on fossil identification and the use of fossils as tools to explore the history of the earth.

This 4.0 credit lecture/lab course, taught by Jocelyn Sessa, PhD, is open all undergraduate students. Its lecture will meet Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 – 1:50 p.m. The labs (choose one) will meet Wednesday 1 – 2:50 p.m. or 3 – 4:50 p.m.

Natural Disasters (GEO 111)
This course is an overview of natural disasters and hazards. Students will learn the geology behind major natural disasters and how society best mitigates risk. Topics include volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods. Students will review case studies of past (and any concurrent) natural disasters through journal articles and media coverage.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Amanda Lough, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 – 4:50 p.m.

Global Studies

Reform & Resistance in China (GST 241)
Possibly the most important phenomenon in the world during the decades around the turn of the 21st century was China’s transformation into an urbanized, economic juggernaut, brought about by far-reaching administrative and economic reforms. This course discusses many of the inherent contradictions and new social issues that have emerged as a result of China's rapidly changing economic environment. The course will explore the modern historical factors that have contributed to these contemporary issues and look at how particular pockets of society, such as rural populations, migrants, and ethnic minorities, have been marginalized, and how these pockets respond with actions such as protests and online activism. After completion of this course, students will have an understanding of the challenges facing China's leaders as the nation forges through the 21st century. 

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Rebecca Clothey, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 – 3:20 p.m.


Disability, Sport & Paralympics (HIST T180)
This class places the 2020 Paralympics – to be held next summer in Tokyo, Japan – in the context of both historical and contemporary social values. Through short readings, films and visits from guest speakers, we will consider the origins of the Paralympics, the place of sports in different global cultures, dramatically changing ideas about physical and intellectual disabilities over recent decades, and the geopolitics of international athletic competition. A Special Topics Travel Course, involving travel to the 2020 Paralympics, is planned for next summer, and students considering taking that class are encouraged to enroll in this course. 

This 1.0 credit course, taught by Jim Bergey, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays from 9 – 9:50 a.m.

Policing Homosexuality (HIST T280)
This course surveys the medical and penal criminalization of homosexuality from the late 19th to early 21st century in the United States. It also traces the varied historical responses of LGBTQ+ people and other individuals who engage in same-sex sex to the policing of homosexuality. The course will approach policing (both medical and penal) with particular emphasis on how race, gender performance and class impact policing and the formation of homosexual identities through time.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Nic John Ramos, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 — 5:50 p.m. 

Political Science

Sex, Gender & the Law (PSCI T280/WGST T280)
This special topics course will examine the legal and political regulation of, as well as social movement activism around, matters such as contraception and abortion, sexual conduct, sexual harassment and discrimination, and the rights of LGBTQ people.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Rose Corrigan, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 — 11:50 a.m.

International Environmental Politics (PSCI T380)
Environmental problems increasingly impact the health, wealth and security of people around the globe. The interdependence of states means that many of these challenges cannot be overcome by local or national policy alone, but rather require international or global solutions. This course offers students an introduction to international environmental politics. We will survey challenges to collective action, consider interdisciplinary perspectives on why and how international environmental problems emerge, and assess proposed solutions. Along the way, we will familiarize ourselves with international institutions designed to manage ozone depletion, ocean resources and climate change, and consider how global environmental issues are intertwined with trade, migration and national security concerns.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Erin Graham, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 — 3:50 p.m.

Public Opinion Research Methods (PSCI T380)
This course is designed to address the methods, history and role of public opinion research. The course will address how public opinion research is conducted domestically and internationally. This will include the process of study design, variable identification, level of measurement, data collection (telephone, web, mail, and in-person), data analysis, hypothesis testing and the reporting of findings. This material has important implications for policy research, evaluation and politics.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Bill Rosenberg, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 12 — 1:50 p.m. 


Gentrification and Neighborhood Change (SOC T280)
This course examines the rise, fall and change of urban neighborhoods. Students will be introduced to key debates surrounding processes such as neighborhood disinvestment/decline, urban renewal and gentrification. Course content focuses on the consequences of neighborhood change for urban communities. Students will learn to weigh the positive and negative aspects, and the real and perceived consequences, of gentrification, and will evaluate urban policies for managing neighborhood change.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Sarah Hosman, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 – 3:50 p.m.

Social Networks and Health (SOC 318)
This course introduces social network analysis to undergraduate students, emphasizing its theoretical, substantive and methodological foundations. It shows how social networks (types, manner, size and strength, and other dimensions of interpersonal connections) affect a wide array of health outcomes including, illness (flu, STDs, depression), access to and utilization of health information and resources. Students will acquire a sufficient grasp of both the classical and the contemporary network literatures to enable them to pursue independent advanced study in social network analysis.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Emmanuel Koku, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 – 3:50 p.m.

Globalization (SOC 340)
This course investigates the causal factors for the emergence of what is known as globalization, global economy, global village, etc. It covers the effects of global changes on national political systems, on ecology and on local cultures. The role of the U.S. and reactions to the new world order will also be considered.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Sonali Jain, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students above the freshman level. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 – 11:50 a.m.

Science, Technology & Society

Innovation and Social Justice (SCTS 202)
This course draws on literature from the field of science and technology studies (STS) to examine how technologies and social justice intersect, and the role of technological innovation in fostering a more just society. We will examine structures of injustice and how technology can reinforce, worsen, or mitigate them. We will look at the impacts of concrete design choices and design processes on various indicators of social justice. And we will learn from examples of self-conscious attempts by innovators to create technology with social justice aims in mind.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Gwen Ottinger, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 – 5:50 p.m.