A theory and practice track is a group of two courses that engage a single topic from different methodological orientations. Typically designed by a University of Maryland faculty member in collaboration with an industry expert based in Washington, D.C., each track is comprised of a "theory" seminar and a "practice" seminar.
Together, this pair of seminars enable students to consider a given topic from both a scholarly and a pragmatic perspective. To complete a theory and practice track, students must complete both the theory seminar (3 credits) and the practice seminar (3 credits), for a total of 6 credits. Except where noted below, theory and practice seminars may be completed in any order and at any time during the track’s multi-year lifespan.
It is anticipated that 1-2 additional tracks will be introduced during the 2021-22 academic year.
Institutions by their very nature are built to sustain their processes over time. Many of the ways we do things in government and higher education, for example, have evolved slowly over centuries. Recognizing untapped potential in a stable organizational structure requires insight. Identifying solutions requires ingenuity. In this track, students focus on the University of Maryland’s own institutional processes, identify challenges, and propose innovative solutions for improvement. After a semester of developing their theoretical understanding and honing their practical skills, students devote a semester to working in partnership with University leadership to effect real change on our campus. (This track will be offered at least throughout 2020-22.)
Tempests, wildfires, melting glaciers, and rising oceans speak to the increasing vulnerability of our planet and its systems due to climate change. The United Nations calls this predicament a race we must win. But what kind of race is climate change and what form should our political and moral responses take? Is it more similar to smallpox and the coronavirus or to a looming catastrophic asteroid strike? How do we weigh our actions against our impact on nonhuman animals and biodiversity? We can be sure that changes in Congress will impact how we orient to these issues as a nation in the coming years. But what role can advocacy play in the form Federal policy takes? In this track, students will acquire the knowledge they need to evaluate crisis response and the advocacy skills they need to be part of the solution. (This track will be offered at least throughout the 2021-22 academic year)