The coolest UMD electives to take this fall

By Bryan Gallion
Staff writer

Class registration for fall 2016 is under way. Instead of scrambling to find electives to take next semester on the day of your registration, take a look at these interesting classes (that also fulfill General Education requirements):

HIST134 – “Spies, Assassins, Martyrs and Witches: Famous Trials in American History” – is a three-credit Humanities and i-Series class instructed by history professor Michael Ross. This history course examines some of the most famous American trials, many of which didn’t produce important legal precedents. Some cases discussed include the Anne Hutchinson, Salem Witchcraft and Boston Massacre trials. Students will use historical context to analyze why these trials fascinated the nation when they took place.

“This course serves as a broad introduction to central themes of American history and will help [students] gain a basic understanding of recurring themes of American history, from Puritan New England to the present day,” Ross said.

If you’re looking for a four-credit Natural Science Lab, consider enrolling in “Amazing Green: Plants that Transformed the World” (BSCI135). This interactive plant biology course taught by professor Edgar Moctezuma is designed for non-science students. It also doubles as an i-Series. The class highlights the biology and use of major plants in today’s culture and how they have impacted human history. Some crops discussed include corn, coffee and chocolate. (Editor’s Note: Highly recommend)

GEOG130, “Developing Countries,” introduces students to the geographic characteristics that lead to problems in developing countries. The three-credit course can be considered a History and Social Science class or a Scholarship in Practice. Instructed by Ronald Luna, students will better understand human condition through different perspectives of cultures. Topics explored include globalization, urbanization and migration.

“Black Culture in the United States” (AASP202) is a three-credit History and Social Sciences and Understanding Plural Societies class that will have sections taught by professor Renina Jarmon and professor Robert Choflet. Students will learn about varying aspects of African American life through cultural expressions such as art, drama, literature and music. Following black heritage from the 19th century to present-day, students will analyze how expressive black creativity has evolved over time.

“It’s a really interesting course because it looks at history through an African American perspective instead of the typical white man’s perspective,” freshman secondary education major Samira Konte said. “It’s humanizing black people, relaying the message that they do have culture from West Africa that they brought over and didn’t just appropriate into white culture.”

Psychology professor Nazish Salahuddin created the i-Series and History and Social Sciences course “Living the Good Life: The Psychology of Happiness” (PSYC289D) in 2013. Salahuddin said students in this class learn about how psychologists study happiness in terms of research methods and theory development. Students are also taught how to apply the science of happiness to their personal lives and those around them. At the end of the semester, students create an attainable personal happiness plan. Psychology professor Dylan Selterman will be teaching the class next semester.

“Through the course, students engage in a great deal of self-reflection, practice good happiness hygiene and design and implement a group project to increase happiness in their communities,” Salahuddin said.

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