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TMD 103G –
Criteria for Grand Challenge courses
Inclusion of complex issues of contemporary
significance. Course addresses areas of contemporary
significance including, but not limited to:
multiculturalism and diversity, economy, climate change,
peace and nonviolence, health, renewable energy, social
media, international policy, entrepreneurship,
sustainability, social justice, and emerging technologies.
Consistent with the objectives of general education,
grand challenge courses provide students the
opportunity to explore, question, and wrestle with the
current and complex issues of our world.
Please explain how your course will meet each of the criteria
Readings, lectures, in-class assignments, and student writing will revolve
around examining the nature of the textile and apparel trade, its global
networks of supply, manufacturing, and marketing, and its social and
environmental impact. Investigating the complex structure that is the global
textile and apparel industry involves looking at and addressing global
systems and economies.
This course includes a look at the global network of trade and its impact on
cultures, ecologies, and economies. The place and power of textile
manufacturing and trade in creating and structuring systems affecting
economics, social structures, politics and both personal and ecological health,
gives ample opportunity to engage students with real-time issues of global
Interdisciplinary approach. Interdisciplinary study
draws on disciplinary perspectives and integrates their
insights to produce a comprehensive understanding. It is
a process of answering questions, solving problems, or
addressing topics that are too broad or complex to be dealt
with adequately by a single discipline. There are two
possible ways for your grand challenge course to meet this
expectation: (1) providing evidence that the course
incorporates at least two disciplinary perspectives or (2)
teaching with one or more faculty from different
Recognition and application of ethical principles.
Course presents the ethical challenges associated with
the issue and provides students with the skills to
recognize such challenges as well as apply ethical
concepts/frameworks in considering the ramifications of
alternative actions.
The nature of the topic and the investigation requires an interdisciplinary
approach as the textile and apparel business touches on a very wide range of
fields: History, textile sciences, ecology, marketing, design, and supply-chain
analysis will all be brought to bear. The instructors will be of different
disciplines: History and Textile Science, and contributions from other TMD
faculty will further broaden the disciplinary scope: economics, anthropology,
marketing, and construction, to name a few.
A significant amount of time in the course will be devoted to discussion on
the problems of sustainability and the ecological impact of the textile trade.
This will afford investigations into the ethical dilemmas of the textile trade,
specifically focused on labor practices and ecological impact. These
discussions are backed up with readings from NGO’s, notably the UN and the
World Wildlife Fund. Students will be prompted to question current practices
and examine alternatives to the status quo.