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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nives Dolsak
B CUSP 115
Bothell Campus

Discovery Core II: Individuals and Society

Addresses an important social issue through an interdisciplinary perspective, continues to build creative and critical skills, and focuses on the relationship between the individual and society. Offered: W.

Class description

The goal of this course is to provide the tools to understand why people cooperate or compete across areas of life. A number of pressing current problems, including, but not limited to maximization of group productivity, consumer protection, health care provision, economic development, budget allocation, democracy, protection of human rights, sustainable development, public education, international trade, international and ethnic conflict, as well as national security depend on our ability to cooperate.

To understand and foster cooperation and mitigate conflict, the course will help students develop skills to: (1) Employ insights from a number of academic disciplines (biology, economics, management, psychology, and political science) to foster interdisciplinary learning; (2) Productively engage in a collaborative effort, examine its dynamics, identify potential barriers to achieving success in the group, and propose solutions; (3) Recognize patterns of behavior across social dilemma issues and levels of organization; (4) Identify interests of stakeholders using theoretical literature from a variety of disciplines, library sources and participatory research; (5) Write clearly and concisely about social dilemmas, starting from identification of the problem, articulation of the thesis, presentation of the evidence, and proposal of a solution; (6) Make effective oral presentations.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This class uses a variety of methods of in-class and field learning. While my lectures and guest-lecturersí presentations cover important theoretical concepts from a variety of perspectives and disciplines, students are expected to read the assigned readings prior to the class and come prepared to actively participate in class discussions. Further, students get engaged in a community of their choice to review a particular collective choice dilemma the community is facing.

Recommended preparation

Good reading skills are helpful.

Class assignments and grading

Students will submit a number of shorter individual assignments reviewing assigned readings. Further, they will devise a solution for a collective choice dilemma in a setting of their choice. They will also engage in a group research project in which they will be expected to submit a group report as well as reflect on the process of participating in a team effort.

Assignments and Evaluation (1) Group Research Project a. Draft b. Final report c. Oral presentation (2) Journal of participation in the group project (3) Review of assigned readings (5 assignments) (4) Community involvement a. Attend a meeting of a community (public meeting at a city level; UWB student governance meeting; neighborhood association meeting; or others); b. Write a 2 page double-spaced report on the meeting including: i. Description of the social dilemma addressed at the meeting; ii. Explanation whose cooperation is required to resolve the dilemma; iii.Identification of 3 major stakeholders and their interests; iv. Your recommendation for fostering cooperation in this case. (5) Class participation


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Nives Dolsak
Date: 10/17/2006