News Release icon Contact: Media Relations Office (518) 956-8150


Spring Semester Offers New Courses 

History and the Future, the New Jim Crow, Cybersecurity, Climate Change, Chemistry Sustainability 

Spring semester classes begin today at the University at Albany. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 20, 2016) – What’s a historian like David Hochfelder doing teaching a course on the future?

“My interest in teaching a course in foresight came about from a surprising statistic I encountered a few years ago,” he said. “If current health and life expectancy trends continue as they have for the past century, about one-third of our freshman class (the Class of 2019) will live to see the 22nd Century.”

Hochfelder was recently featured in Inside Higher Education for a new course he is offering this spring called History and Future. The course is one of several new and intriguing academic courses being offered for Spring 2016, and is a prime reason why the University at Albany has created a new General Education category: Challenges for the 21st Century.

“Simply put,” said Hochfelder, “our students will inhabit the future, a world that will present very different challenges and opportunities from today’s world.”

As a historian of technology and capitalism, Hochfelder cares deeply about the pace and direction of technological change, the evolution of our economic system, and the social effects of these changes. The new course fits well with his teaching and research interests.

Students will start by investigating the recent history of a topic, for example, the legalization of marijuana in the United States or the process of European integration. From there, they will develop a set of scenarios about their topic, to help them assess probable futures and help create preferred futures.

History and Future is just one of the new courses being offered at UAlbany this spring. A sampling of other new coursework includes:

Mass Incarceration: The New Jim Crow. (CRJ659) A cross-registration course with Albany Law, it is the first of many new courses that will be offered jointly by both institutions. The course will be taught by Mark Mishler.

     The New Jim Crow will examine the history of mass incarceration, the emergence of ‘the war on drugs,’ Fourth Amendment issues, barriers faced by ex-offenders, the impact of mass incarceration on families and communities, the role of race, police misconduct, and the parts played by police, prosecutors, judges, defense lawyers, legislators and others in perpetuating mass incarceration.

     The core text will be The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (2010) and Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis (2013).

The Threat Within. (UNI350) The course based on a very timely topic will enable students to analyze realistic case scenarios and identify the depth and breadth of a cybersecurity challenge from multiple perspectives. As the Edward Snowden case, one of the largest and most damaging data breaches in U.S. government history has taught us, insider threats can surface at the strategic, operational and tactical layers of an organization, and require a solution that is comprehensive, logical, and balanced. This course is in Interdisciplinary Studies and is taught by Ian MacDonald. 

     In this course students from a variety of disciplines will work in teams of six to eight with faculty, team faculty liaisons, and industry experts as mentors using an online/cloud communication platform.

Power Dialogue: Conversations on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment. (POS204) This course explores the current scientific and social understanding of climate change and responses to it, both locally and globally. It culminates with the Power Dialog, an organized public meeting including top state government officials discussing how to meet the goals of the Paris agreement, the national Clean Power Plan and New York’s commitment to clean energy. This course is in Political Science and is taught by Eleanor Stein.

     The Power Dialog is part of a national project to engage students in education and collaboration on this critical issue.

Chemistry and Sustainability. (CHM 100) Through the lens of the chemical world, the course discusses air quality, water pollution, green energy, food and drug safety, fitness and health, agricultural and household chemicals, and other topics related to sustainable chemistry. The basic concepts of chemistry, such as atomic theory, bonding, chemical reactions, gas laws, molecular structure and intermolecular forces will also be covered.  It does not yield credit toward the major or minor in chemistry. This course is taught by Alexander Shekhtman. 

RSS Link For more news, subscribe to UAlbany's RSS headline feeds

About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.