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Issue of Life and Death and Issues of War and Peace 

Course Descriptions

Do humans act in their best interests? How can citizens in a developed or developing society evaluate and favor scientific evidence over beliefs, assumptions, and myths? How do individuals balance demands from various communities—families, schools, workplace, neighborhoods, cities, regions—to which they belong? As we create new solutions, we are often confounded by both expected and unpredictable problems that arise.

This course aims to examine contemporary issues of life and death through multifaceted approaches to problem solving and ethical dilemmas. Students will gain knowledge and understanding of challenges we face in the 21st century and, in teams, will develop a researched action plan in response to a societal problem.

For fall semester and spring semesters topics for study and class discussion will focus on local, national, and global issues: poverty, homelessness, and social services; vaccines and public health; opioid crisis; globalization and cheap labor; debt and higher education; jobs and wages; global climate change; population growth and sustainability. 

There is no textbook for these courses; readings will be available on Canvas. 

In our discussions we will consider the following questions:

  • What is a society or community?
  • How can individuals shape society through ethical choices and behaviors?
  • How do individuals’ beliefs, opinions, assumptions, and habits conflict with societal change or progress?
  • How can individuals determine what is ethical while making decisions within different communities (as citizens, parents, consumers, leaders, employees, etc.)?
  • What role do social scientists play in influencing public debate and policy?
  • How do social scientists study human behavior and gather data on demographic trends? How can institutions develop policies that align with analysis of scientific evidence?
  • How can individuals and societies analyze and respond to issues of globalization?


Grading and Assignments                                                                            100 Points


Homework (10/11)                                                                                              30
Undergraduate Experience Map                                                                        5
Midterm                                                                                                                15
Library Classes                                                                                                     10
Attendance                                                                                                           10
Team Action Plan and Presentation                                                                 15
Critique and Self-Reflection                                                                               15






LEAP Faculty

Meg Harper, PhD

801 581-4581





Last Updated: 1/23/19