Big Questions

Student asking Big QuestionsConsider taking an innovative course that asks and answers the Big Questions of our day and age.

Big Questions courses offer an opportunity to explore the breadth and depth of unique topic areas - creating cross disciplinary opportunities and breaking curricular boundaries for students. They are taught by UNM faculty who specialize in cutting edge topic areas and supported by other faculty or community professionals who look at the same issue through a different lens. Think of it this way - the Big Question is: What does it take to make life on Mars possible? We'll have to check-in with a variety of experts: biologists, agriculturalists, mathematicians, engineers, the list goes on. These courses give students an opportunity to engage in inquiry and analysis and work with a variety of professionals to answer the world’s biggest questions.

How does it work?

One faculty member will be the primary instructor of the course. Up to four visiting faculty from other disciplines (or community professionals) will spend several weeks at a time with students to discuss the course topic through the lens of their fields. Students will develop research projects over the course of the semester to incorporate information learned from various participants. Research projects will be professionally presented at the end of the semester (a great resume builder!) and can be used at future research events. There are no special requirements to participate and all courses count toward UNM graduation.

Click here to download a PDF summary sheet of Fall 2021 Big Question courses!

Visit our faculty page to meet your Fall 2021 Big Questions professors!

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Courses for Fall 2021

Section 650 is intended for students who entered the University in Fall 2020 or prior.

Throughout American history, iconic public images of specific groups of people have been used to shape public discourse, support racial stereotypes, and justify political disfranchisement, social notarization, and economic exploitation.  At times, these images were even used to excuse ritual violence against non-white groups in America.  These things have been especially true of public images of Blackness used to depict African Americans.  From19th century advertisements for American minstrel shows to 20th-century photos of lynching's and violence against Civil Rights protestors, to contemporary images of urban resistance used to characterize the Black Lives Matter Movement, the public image of Blackness has been a powerful factor in shaping American race relations.  In this innovative multidisciplinary course, UNM professors Leon Howard (UNM Law), Dr. Kathy Powers (Political Science), Dr. Nancy Lopez (Sociology), and Dr. Finnie D. Coleman (Africana Studies / English) collaborate to illuminate the role and function of these potent images at various points in African American cultural history.  Students will find themselves immersed in a lively interdisciplinary discussion of how these images were deployed and the incessant, pitched struggle to secure control of these images.  In this course, Zora Neale Hurston, Augusta Savage, and Langston Hughes help us to understand the public image of Blackness during the Harlem Renaissance.  Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, and Malcolm X join Dr. King to help us understand how these images were used during the Civil Rights Movement.  The work and words of Angela Davis, Curtis Mayfield, Sonia Sanchez, and Huey P. Newton shape our study of the imagery of the Black Power and Black Arts Movements.  Brother Ali, Queen Latifah, Dead Prez, Queen Pen, Public Enemy, Kendric Lamar, and J.Cole highlight the list of artists that guide our work in Hip Hop culture and the images that have been used to identify that movement.   Activists Alicia Garza, Brittney Packnett, Patrisse Cullors, DeRay Mckesson, Opal Tometi, and Netta Elzie help us make sense of the loss of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Jones, Philando Castile, Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray and so many more.  We will pay special attention to political climate and images of Blackness associated with the 2020 Presidential election campaign.

Course: ENGL 2996
Meets: TR 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Dane Smith Hall 224
CRN: 71406
Instructors: Finnie Coleman

Section 651 is intended for first-year students entering the University in Fall 2021.

Throughout American history, iconic public images of specific groups of people have been used to shape public discourse, support racial stereotypes, and justify political disfranchisement, social ostracization, and economic exploitation.  At times, these images were even used to excuse ritual violence against non-white groups in America.  These things have been especially true of public images of Blackness used to depict African Americans.  From19th century advertisements for American minstrel shows to 20th-century photos of lynchings and violence against Civil Rights protestors, to contemporary images of urban resistance used to characterize the Black Lives Matter Movement, the public image of Blackness has been a powerful factor in shaping American race relations.  In this innovative multidisciplinary course, UNM professors Leon Howard (UNM Law), Dr. Kathy Powers (Political Science), Dr. Nancy Lopez (Sociology), and Dr. Finnie D. Coleman (Africana Studies / English) collaborate to illuminate the role and function of these potent images at various points in African American cultural history.  Students will find themselves immersed in a lively interdisciplinary discussion of how these images were deployed and the incessant, pitched struggle to secure control of these images.  In this course, Zora Neale Hurston, Augusta Savage, and Langston Hughes help us to understand the public image of Blackness during the Harlem Renaissance.  Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, and Malcolm X join Dr. King to help us understand how these images were used during the Civil Rights Movement.  The work and words of Angela Davis, Curtis Mayfield, Sonia Sanchez, and Huey P. Newton shape our study of the imagery of the Black Power and Black Arts Movements.  Brother Ali, Queen Latifah, Dead Prez, Queen Pen, Public Enemy, Kendric Lamar, and J.Cole highlight the list of artists that guide our work in Hip Hop culture and the images that have been used to identify that movement.   Activists Alicia Garza, Brittney Packnett, Patrisse Cullors, DeRay Mckesson, Opal Tometi, and Netta Elzie help us make sense of the loss of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Jones, Philando Castile, Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray and so many more.  We will pay special attention to political climate and images of Blackness associated with the 2020 Presidential election campaign.

Course: ENGL 2996
Meets: TR 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Dane Smith Hall 224
CRN: 71407
Instructors: Finnie Coleman

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Section 652 is intended for students who entered the University in Fall 2020 or prior.

Digital Media Storytelling introduces students to digital storytelling and explores ways marketers can use digital stories to inform, educate, connect and engage audiences. The primary focus of this course will be on crafting compelling brand stories using Adobe Creative Cloud tools such as Premiere Pro and understanding how to share your stories on social media and other platforms to maximize reach. You will have the opportunity to explore both theory and practice of these topics through hands-on projects. This course is intended to give students insight into the skill sets needed for professions in marketing communications, branding and social media.

 

Course: BUSA 1996
Meets: MW 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
McKinnon Center 2010
CRN: 67377
Instructors: John Benavidez

Section 653 is intended for first-year students entering the University in Fall 2021.

Digital Media Storytelling introduces students to digital storytelling and explores ways marketers can use digital stories to inform, educate, connect and engage audiences. The primary focus of this course will be on crafting compelling brand stories using Adobe Creative Cloud tools such as Premiere Pro and understanding how to share your stories on social media and other platforms to maximize reach. You will have the opportunity to explore both theory and practice of these topics through hands-on projects. This course is intended to give students insight into the skill sets needed for professions in marketing communications, branding and social media.

 

Course: BUSA 1996
Meets: MW 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
McKinnon Center 2010
CRN: 71297
Instructors: John Benavidez