Course Offerings

Current Courses Offered at Penn State-Altoona

AMST 100: Introduction to American Studies

What does it mean to be an “American”? How did we (do we) become Americans? In what ways does the “story” of the United States manifest a particular narrative about who we are allowed to be as Americans? Why are some people’s stories and identities erased or otherwise marginalized in the telling of United States history? These are overarching questions for American Studies 100, an introductory course of American history and culture for students in a variety of majors. This course is unlike many classes you may have previously experienced because it seeks to bust the myths, falsehoods, and stereotypes of U.S. history. Students in this class are expected to participate in critical conversations about the intersections of U.S. history with races, classes, genders, sexual identities, political affiliations, and other aspects of “identity” that bring about lasting implications for who we have been in the past and who we struggle to become in the future.

EDTHP 115: Education in American Society

EDTHP 115 is designed to provide students with an introduction to the history and contemporary issues in education in the United States. Throughout the semester students are expected to engage such topics as educational inequalities and school choice, poverty, religion, racism, LGBTQ and safe spaces, teachers as professionals, and the politics of education. 

SSED 430W: Teaching Elementary Social Studies

Social studies education transforms the social sciences into curriculum for schools across the United States. Social studies has been a subject area in flux since its inception over 100 years ago, and as such the teaching and learning of social studies content areas are under constant scrutiny and debate. As a study of how people live and interact with the world around them, social studies education provides teachers and students lenses through which they can engage history, geography, civics, and a host of other topics. Opinions abound as to how best to teach social studies in our schools and our teacher education programs. Experts continue to argue about the content, goals, and best methods of instruction. The lack of uniformity provides an opening for social studies teaches to define what social studies will look like in their individual classrooms. Throughout the semester teacher candidates will engage such topics as standardized curriculum and testing, racism, settler colonialism, poverty, and the politics of social studies in schools.

SSED 497: Teaching with Film in Elementary Social Studies

How do movies, both documentary and motion picture, shape how we see and understand the world around us? How do they shape how we see and understand ourselves? In what ways can film be used as a pedagogical tool for elementary social studies education? These are central questions we will address during the semester in SSED 497. This course is unlike many classes elementary education majors may have previously experienced because it seeks to complicate the role(s) of movies in our lives. Students in this class are expected to participate in critical conversations about the images films project and the messages they send and the impact those images and messages have on the lives of children.

SSED 596: Independent Studies (Graduate Level Only)

This course is offered on an “as needed” basis for graduate students in social studies education at Penn State-University Park. Students enrolled in SSED 596 work closely with me to design a reading-intensive syllabus and end-of-semester project. The goals of this independent study option vary from student to student, but could include preparing for comprehensive exams or moving a study toward publication.