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Prof. William Burgos

City: Brooklyn

Country: US


Impact Narrative

Professor Burgos’ proposal for OVER:

“For the past few years I have been teaching a seminar course required of all students. Each section of the course has its own topic. Mine has been “the ethos of place.” We explore the ethical issues of participating in various communities tied to specific places. We start locally, by examining the University itself, and then expand to look at downtown Brooklyn, New York City, and, finally, the planet. As I’ve taught the course, I’ve been including more materials about the planet. One of the texts we read is The Tragedy of the Commons and lately I’ve included recent works by McKibben and Kolbert. This unit has a powerful impact on the students and I plan to develop a seminar that would focus mainly on the environment and the human impact on it. I heard an interview about the book and NPR and I thought this would be a perfect resource for the class.

The course is team taught and it would facilitate working with my colleagues to develop common assignments and joint sessions with our students if we all had a common resource to work from and to share with the students. Aside from charts and graphs I’ve used, visuals have a great impact on our students and this is what interested me about the book. We have a diverse student population, many of them from the various places photographed in the book and this would connect them more to the issues. In addition to the book providing a basis for class discussion, I would assign students photo essays, in which they photograph locations in NYC which illustrate the same issues discussed in the book. This student work could also become the basis for presentations during our campus-wide Discovery Day, in which students and faculty present work that has come out of classes or collaborative research.”

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