Justice Brandeis Semester

Last updated: April 15, 2015 at 4:26 p.m.

Objectives

University offers the Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS), an intensive, immersive experiential learning option through which small groups of up to 12-15 students may earn credits while focusing on such varied topics as Brand Marketing & Communications, Food, Lifestyle and Health, and Voice, Web and Mobile Applications. The courses offered as part of these programs include experiential learning components, such as fieldwork, internships, or outside research.

JBS internships, field-based research, creative work or community-engaged learning allow students to:

  1. gain real-world experience through experiential learning.
  2. build close relationships with professors and small groups of students.
  3. acquire skills that will make them stand apart from their peers after Brandeis.

The distinctive elements of a Brandeis education include the intense intellectual engagement students share with our cutting-edge faculty; the rich experiential learning opportunities students encounter in studios, archives, research labs, work settings and the community; and the University's longstanding commitment to global engagement and social justice. All of these elements are embodied in the new Justice Brandeis Semester.

Programs Offered

Current JBS Offerings

Summer

Bio-Inspired Design
Brand Marketing and Communications
The Business of Show Business
Connect to Change: Social Media for Social Movements
Food, Lifestyle and Health
Health, Law and Justice
Storytelling as Social Practice
Voice, Web and Mobile Applications

Fall

Environmental Health and Justice

Past JBS Offerings

Brand Marketing and Communications
Civil Rights and Educational Equity in the U.S.
Food, Lifestyle and Health
Health, Law and Justice
Real Estate Development and Investment
Voice, Web and Mobile Applications

Courses of Instruction

Bio-Inspired Design

BIOL 43bj Comparative Anatomy
[ sn ]
Prerequisite: BIOL 15b or 22b.
Drawing from comparative anatomy and functional morphology, this course is designed to provide an overview of the form and function of organisms and provide a base on which to build further study organismal biology. Students will be introduced to the basics of the development, cellular make-up, evolution and function of the anatomy of many eukaryotes including vertebrates, fungi and plants anatomy. While the focus will be to examine these topics at the level of organs, organ systems and whole organisms, connections will be made to the molecular and cellular levels of organization. It is expected that students who pass this course will understand all concepts such that they may integrate them with each other and apply them to novel situations. Laboratory dissections, an end-of-term oral presentation and short answer tests will aid in this goal. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Miara

BIOL 46aj Biomechanics
[ sn ]
Prerequisites: BIOL 15b and 16a or 23a.
Introduces biomechanics at all scales and within a variety of taxonomic groups. Students will explore fluid and solid mechanics applying their knowledge to understand how physical properties impact our day-to-day lives. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Miara

BIOL 153aj Project Lab in Biomimetics / Bioinspiration
[ sn ]
Prerequisites: BIOL 15b and 16a or 23a.
Explores how the natural world has been used to inspire designs solving real-world problems, identify a problem themselves, learn techniques to plan and build their own bio-inspired designs and present their products in a clear and accessible manner. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Miara

Brand Marketing and Communications

BUS 154aj Branding Strategy
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: BUS 152a.
Learn about the strategies marketers use to build and sustain brands that consumers truly value. Some of the brands we’ll cover include: Lady Gaga, IKEA, Pokémon and Vans. You will also compete in online, team-based marketing simulation game to give you the feel of a real-world branding experience. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Zimmerman

BUS 157aj Marketing Communications
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: BUS 152a.
Learn how to use a wide variety of social media and marketing communications techniques to effectively market products and brands. Develop advertising and social media campaigns, evaluate word-of-mouth and corporate blog promotional activities, and refine search engine optimization and marketing plans. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Zimmerman

BUS 195aj Field Projects
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: BUS 152a.
Enhance your resume with real, hands-on marketing experience. Spend four weeks applying your marketing skills and knowledge to solving actual client problems in a team-based consulting project for a local company. These high quality marketing projects, sourced and mentored by the professor, serve a variety of companies, from marketing agencies to Fortune 500 and start-up companies. Projects culminate in client presentations. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Zimmerman

The Business of Show Business

THA 15bj Public Speaking
[ ca oc ]
Aims to give students the tools to speak confidently in any circumstance. One on one interviews, business presentations, or impromptu address, this class will foster a safe supportive environment for students to create articulate presentations, exploring and developing skills in audience analysis, research and informational organization and speech anxiety management. The essential tools gained here will be reinforced and applied in each section of this program. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Hinson, Mr. Jacobs, and Mr. Walsh

THA 132aj The Collaborative Process
[ ca ]
What does it take to become a master collaborator and be able to work with ease and expertise in any team situation? Under the guidance of the instructors, students work together to discover innovative solutions for real-life obstacles in the business world. A focus is placed on developing small group communication skills and a sense of ensemble through team-based, physically-intensive, fun activities. Students develop an awareness of the unique personal strengths that they can offer when called upon to work within a group. Through a progression of improvisational exercises, role plays and other interactions students will learn how to think quickly and then transform those thoughts into action. This version of the Collaborative Process is specifically curated for students in this JBS and will incorporate skill sets being fortified in the concurrent sections. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Hinson, Mr. Jacobs, and Mr. Walsh

THA 138aj The Business of Show Business
[ ca ]
Provides students with an in-depth, engaging investigation of the many different facets of what is necessary to produce live entertainment in America today and gives them the unique opportunity to explore local for-profit and non-profit arts companies as a lens through which to view the world of business on a macro level. Students will learn about organizational structure, aesthetic and artistic goals, facilities management, budgeting and revenue streams, public relations/marketing/advertising and communication as it relates to both for-profit and non-profit arts companies. From brainstorming to barnstorming, this course will give students the step-by-step process of delivering live, professional entertainment. Provides the practical context for students to actively employ the skills they are learning in the concurrent sections of this program. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Hinson, Mr. Jacobs, and Mr. Walsh

Connect to Change: Social Media for Social Movements

COSI 98aj Independent Study
In this JBS capstone course, students will work together in small teams to create web and/or mobile applications that are designed to support specific social movements, using the knowledge they have gained from both the COSI and POL courses they have completed. By the end of the program students will create and launch a beta version of the site and will study the potential effectiveness of the site in its goal of supporting a social movement. The teams will present their products at a JBS Product Showcase during the last week of class. Offered as part of JBS program.
Staff

COSI 152bj Web Application Development for Social Networks
[ sn ]
Prerequisites: COSI 11a and 12b, or previous programming experience and permission of the instructor.
Students will learn how to develop social network appications using Javascript and HTML interacting with databases on the client and server. We don't assume any previous experience with Javascript. We will also create a taxonomy of social networking systems to determine the role of each feature of such systems in their design and operation, and we will explore the use of particular web app features to support social movements. The course covers a variety of topics in web architecture, such as system security, scaling and deployment, REST interfaces, and others. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Hickey

POL 98aj Independent Study
In this JBS capstone course, students will work together in small teams to create web and/or mobile applications that are designed to support specific social movements, using the knowledge they have gained from both the COSI and POL courses they have completed. By the end of the program students will create and launch a beta version of the site and will study the potential effectiveness of the site in its goal of supporting a social movement. The teams will present their products at a JBS Product Showcase during the last week of class. Offered as part of JBS program.
Staff

POL 108aj Social Movements in American Politics
[ ss ]
Provides a practical introduction to the causes and effects of movements seeking social justice, with a focus on how communication technologies affect the way that activists mobilize groups, and how authorities respond to such mobilizations. We will seek to understand the evolution of social movement theory and concepts through a consideration of historical and contemporary cases, and search for mechanisms to apply to our own experiments in creating social networking applications that can matter in the real world. We will read case histories and do independent research so as to write accounts of successful and failed cases of movements for reform. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Kryder

Environmental Health and Justice

AMST 102aj Environment, Social Justice, and Empowerment
[ oc ss wi ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation.
This community-engaged course involves students first-hand in the legal, policy, science, history and social impacts of current environmental health issues challenging individuals, families and communities today, with a particular focus on low-income, immigrant communities and the profound and unique roles played by women. Students will engage directly in the topics through field trips, visiting speakers and discussions with stakeholders themselves, taking on vital issues with some of the most disadvantaged communities from inner-city Boston and Waltham to the rural coal mining mountains of Appalachia. Students will address issues such as toxic exposure, access to safe housing, healthy food and clean water. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Goldin

BISC 6bj Environmental Health
[ sn ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation. Does not meet the requirements for the major in Biology.
Introduces the science and tools of environmental health, giving students skills to explore current issues experienced by local communities. Students will become familiar with the environmental health paradigm, the conceptual model of the field, including underlying principles of hazard identification, exposure assessment, toxicology, risk assessment, and characterization and interpretation of epidemiological studies. Students produce a publishable environmental health study. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Fragala, Ms. Goldin, Mr. Myatt, and Mr. Stewart

ENVS 102aj Field Research and Study Methods: Environmental Health
[ ss ]
Comprises the skills and methods component of the Environmental Health and Justice JBS. Students will be trained in environmental health study design, sampling methodology, field research and equipment techniques, data interpretation, statistical analysis, risk communication and presentation. The course will equip students to design and carry out a semester-long environmental health research study integral to the themes of Environmental Health and Justice JBS. Students produce a publishable environmental health study. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Fragala, Ms. Goldin, Mr. Myatt, and Mr. Stewart

Food, Lifestyle and Health

BISC 4bj Food, Nutrition, and Health
[ sn ]
Does not meet the requirements for the major in Biology.
Nutrition is the science of food and its role in health and disease. This course will introduce the biological background to provide students with tools to better understand everything from how we choose food to how our diet influences our long-term health. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Lai

BISC 10aj Diabetes
[ oc sn ]
Does not meet the requirements for the major in Biology.
Studies the rising prevalence of diabetes that has taken an alarming human and societal toll. This course explores the science behind Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes plus gestational diabetes, the contribution of modern Western lifestyle to disease development, current diabetes treatments including insulin and non-insulin drugs and bariatric surgery, future treatment such as stem cell therapy, the increasing diabetes treatment cost and impact on current healthcare policy. Emphasis will be placed on discussion of molecular genetic research that has illuminated our understanding of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. A new food lab is included to further inform about the importance of food and nutrition (together with exercise) in the management and prevention of Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the focal example by which we investigate the biological, behavioral, environmental, social and policy factors that influence our health and health care. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Lai

HSSP 120bj Health Care Landscapes
[ ss wi ]
Through the lens of diabetes and obesity, students will explore the health landscape and gain insight into current "healthy environments", including how we are - or are not - addressing population health needs. Students will use a social determinants of health lens to critically analyze how our systems and environments (e.g. health care, food, schools, built environment/neighborhoods, community organizations and more) are situated within a context of local, national, and global inequities and struggles for justice. In using this lens, students will learn how to critically explore what impact race, gender, socioeconomic status, neighborhoods, and more have on health. Guest lectures, site visits, participatory discussion, hands-on experiences/assignments. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Rosenfeld

Health, Law and Justice

LGLS 98bj Independent Research
Through experiential fieldwork, students will engage with policy makers, providers, insurers, advocacy groups and regulators, as well as health care consumers and patients confronting complex health care choices. These hands-on experiences will enable students to ask critical questions about “what comes next for American health care?” The choices that we make - as individuals, groups, and policy makers - influence the kind of society we have today and in the future. By interacting directly with stakeholders, students--as future leaders and global citizens-- will gain the experience, confidence, and connections to promote positive changes in both policy and practice. Offered as part of the JBS program.
Ms. Curi and Ms. Noble

LGLS 114aj American Health Care
[ ss ]
Emphasizes the interplay of law, public policy, and social justice, focusing on health care reform. After considering the background leading up to passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the policy innovations it promotes, particularly with regard to cost, quality, and access, students will consider the current challenges to implementing this ambitious law. By examining the complex structure of the American health care system, in contrast to systems in other advanced countries, we will explore to what extent the ACA promotes the just distribution of quality health care. Offered as part of the JBS program.
Ms. Noble

LGLS 131bj Patient Autonomy
[ ss ]
Focuses on patient rights, examining how difficult health care decisions are made, and by whom. Together, by examining the law and a range of ethical theories, we will explore current issues in biomedical ethics, including informed consent, reproductive rights, physician-assisted suicide and the right-to-die, personhood, end-of-life care, and genetics and other emerging technologies; consider the conflicting roles and responsibilities for medical professionals, caregivers, and family members; analyze hard and often tragic choices involving life, quality of life, and death; and assess the ability of the legal system to set meaningful standards and resolve conflict. Offered as part of the JBS program.
Ms. Curi

Storytelling as Social Practice

ENG 40bj The Birth of the Short Story
[ hum wi ]
How did the genre of the short story emerge and what distinctive work has it performed in its long and protean history? What unique publication and reading practices have been a part of this history? And why does the short story still matter? With a focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers such as Irving, Poe, Hawthorne, Twain, Chekhov, Mansfield, Hemingway, O’Connor, García Márquez, Johnson, Wallace, and Moore, we will work through the techniques and craft that have defined the short story tradition. And we will consider recent experiments in short stories, mapping where the genre is going next. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Sherman

ENG 60aj Storytelling Performance
[ hum ]
This experiential course is a workshop for students to craft and perform stories as part of the Brandeis Storytelling Brigade. Through a series of collaborative exercises and rehearsals, students will develop a repertoire of at least four stories: one fictional story for young children, one folk tale for young children, one story based on historical research for young adults or adults, and one autobiographical or fictional story for young adults or adults. We will tell our individual and group stories, as a team, at youth summer programs, libraries, teen centers, open mics, and other public spaces. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Sherman

ENG 111aj Narrative Theory
[ hum ]
Explores fundamental concepts in narrative theory and narratology, from Aristotle until today. We will consider the formal features of plots, characters, and narrative discourse. And we will read theoretical accounts of the role that narrative plays in personal identity, community belonging, moral judgment, historical knowledge, and political authority. As a prominent body of scholarship within literary studies, narrative theory offers insights into a fundamental way in which we organize our experiences and make sense of our world. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Sherman

Voice, Web and Mobile Applications

COSI 115bj Spoken Dialog Design
[ sn ]
Explores fundamental concepts underlying spoken dialog applications. Topics include principles of human dialog, speech recognition and synthesis, and VUI design. Students will use industry standard tools in speech recognition, natural language, and dialog design to build interactive applications. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Meteer

COSI 152aj Web Application Development
[ sn ]
Prerequisites: COSI 11a, 12b, or permission of the instructor.
An introduction to web programming that covers the fundamental languages and tools, including HTML/CSS for page layout, javascript/ajax for client-side integration, and server-side programming in javascript using Node/Express, Mongo, and MySQL. The course also discusses security, scaling/optimization, and multi-tier architectures. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Hickey

COSI 154aj The JBS Incubator
[ sn ]
Prerequisite: COSI 11a.
An introduction to software engineering for web and mobile applications. Covers agile programming techniques, rapid prototyping, source control paradigms, effective software documentation, design of effective APIs, software testing and analysis, software licensing, with an introduction to business plans for software entrepreneurs. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Hickey and Ms. Meteer