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Geographic Focus for 2011-12 is Latin America and the Caribbean

Courses and Assignments

Each year, faculty across disciplines who participate in the Teaching International Program will have designed course curricula that has incorporated selected regions and themes.  Teaching International Courses that are being implemented during the 2011-2012 semester at Penn State Lehigh Valley include several faculty, courses, and disciplines.
Embedded Field Program
Biology 297E/497B (Online) - Global Climate Change: Sustainability of Select Tropical and Aquatic Ecosystems with Biology 297A/497A - A Field Practicum in Panama (chance.psu.edu)

Dr. Jacqueline McLaughlin
The overarching goal of this spring 2012 CHANCE embedded field program is to prepare current and future K-12 teachers to become effective environmental educators. Several Penn State undergraduates majoring in various disciplines will also be selected to participate in this field course; and, Panamanian K-12 teachers will be joining the CHANCE participants for a professional development workshop on the use of inquiry in the science classroom which will be held at the Smithsonian headquarters in Panama City to culminate the trip component. This course will also address the “Taking Action on Climate Change” environmental priority set forth by the United States Environmental Agency (EPA).  By working with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in selected biological field stations throughout Panama, field research activities will be used to explore ways in which the biodiversity of a wide variety of habitats is being affected by climate change and the ways in which conservation and sustainable development can be practiced in order to improve the global environment. As an indirect benefit the student will also experience the biogeography, culture, politics, economics, and history of this region.

Embedded into Individual Course Curriculum

SPAN 003 (Intermediate Spanish—Dr. Ana Figueroa-Coddou) is an advanced language course that introduces different types of readings, oral presentations and written compositions to improve Spanish skills in order to express more complex thought processes in Spanish both orally and in writing. Cultural and literary readings are used to expand vocabulary, stimulate discussion, and broaden understanding of the Hispanic world, in particular Peru. The field experience component of the course will allow students to engage with Costa Ricans and practice their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

PSYCH 432 (Multicultural Psychology in America—Dr. Kevin Kelly)  focuses on the central role of culture, race, and ethnicity in the human condition.  It will be focusing on Latino/Latina Americans as part of a unit drawn from the course text  Multicultural Psychology by Hall, G. C. N. 2 nd Edition . New York: Prentice Hall.

PSYCH 238 (Introduction to Personality Psychology--Dr. Peter Behrens)  focuses on past and recent conceptualizations of key issues and root ideas of personality psychology. Personality psychology involves examining theories of human nature and evaluating them in an empirical fashion.  It aims to cultivate in students a breadth of understanding through an analysis of some of the major intellectual statements concerning human nature, viz., psychoanalysis, humanism, existentialism, symbolic interactionism, and Darwinism. Questions considered within the course include: How can we determine what might be a part of fundamental human nature? What are the relative contributions of conscious rationality and unconscious irrationality to human behavior? Can human behavior be explained by a finite set of motives? Do explanations in psychology differ in kind from explanations in the natural sciences? Can personality be quantified? How does one distinguish between sincerity, dissembling, and self-deception?   This material is applicable to the study of Latin American cultures (as well as others) by incorporating cross-cultural perspective on values (individualistic vs. collectivistic cultures), the cultural conception of self and cultural variation in personality scores on the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire

ENG 185U (GH;IL)( World Novel—Dr. Barbara Cantalupo ) focuses on the development of the modern novel in the last century (outside the British Isles and the United States).   This course includes The Hour of the Star as part of its curriculum.   It is a novel by Clarice Lispector (orginally a Ukrainian Jew, but she grew up in Brazil).  It was written in Portugese and translated into English.  Along with the novel is the film version directed by Susana Amaral in Portugese with sub-titles.

SOC 013 /CRIMJ 013 (Juvenile Delinquency —Dr. Jennifer Parker Talwar) focuses on Juvenile conduct, causes of delinquency, current methods of treatment; organization and function of agencies concerned with delinquency.  Students write research papers using international comparative analysis on juvenile justice systems in the United States and various Latin America countries.   They will address the following questions: How did both systems arise and when?   What are the ideological underpinnings of both systems? How do we advance our theoretical understandings of juvenile crime and justice through international comparative analysis?

SOC 119 (GS;US) (Race and Ethnic Relations—Dr. Jennifer Parker Talwar) focuses on the historical patterns and current status of racial and ethnic groups; inequality, competition, and conflict; social movements; government policy.  The course emphasizes critical thinking about issues related to race and ethnicity in American society, fostering a dialogue between and among students and faculty about racist and ethnocentric attitudes and actions, and encouraging students to explore their own racial and ethnic identity to understand how this identity reflects and shapes life experiences.  The course, by its nature, incorporates the historical relationships between the United States and Latin America, as well as, the Latino experience in the United States.  But it will hold a special unit on the diverse Latino immigrant experience in the United States including having a campus wide event “Immigration and the Diverse Latino Experience” with panelists representing five different Latin American countries.  

SOC 496 (Independent Study between faculty and student)  This study examines, in part, the role "symbolic ethnicity" (Mary Waters) plays in the upward trajectories and identities of Latino professionals in the Lehigh Valley. (Latinos are the fastest expanding ethnic and immigrant group here and now comprise about 40 percent of our downtown/inner city populations.) They would examine sociological literature in the areas of ethnic identity, race and discrimination, and social mobility, to understand the role "ethnicity" continues to play and is reshaped in the lives of Latinos who are aspiring, rising, or already risen up the professional ladder. They will conduct extensive primary based research which will be a continuation of fieldwork that was begun in another class entailing qualitative interviews with Latino professionals (coordinated by a member of our Spanish faculty who sits on the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board).

*This project is supervised by a faculty committee that includes Dr. Jennifer Parker Talwar (Sociology), Dr. Ana Figueroa (Spanish) and Dr. Mary Hutchinson (Elementary Education).