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'Divided Baltimore: How Did We Get Here, Where Do We Go?': New Course Explores City's Major Issues, Emphasizing Solutions, Citizen Involvement, and a 'Bold Future'

August 3, 2015
Contact: University Relations
Phone: 410.837.5739

A new course, "Divided Baltimore: How Did We Get Here, Where Do We Go?," will be launched this fall at the University of Baltimore. With sections designed for undergraduate and graduate experiences, the semester-long course—taught by veteran UB faculty members and guest lecturers in both physical and online environments—will focus on a broad-based, multi-disciplinary approach to address the city's long-standing issues regarding segregation, economic and racial inequalities, and untapped potential. The overarching goal of the course is to explore the city's problems and prospects from a variety of perspectives, and begin the process of positive change.

"Our city is great, but we have serious work to do to make it a more livable, viable environment in the years to come," said UB President Kurt L. Schmoke. "The University of Baltimore, with nearly a century of educational and real-world experience in business, law, public affairs and the arts and sciences, is ideally suited to deliver a course that looks at how we can fix what is broken in Baltimore. Our home is the city, our classrooms are of and for the many communities around us. We believe in a bold future for the city, so you can count on UB to both lead the call and do the hard work for a better Baltimore—one Baltimore for all."

UB professors, administrators and local experts have been planning the course for some months now, but intensified their efforts in the wake of the city’s civil unrest in April. From the beginning, their goal was to go deeper than a historical examination of the city, but to consider how some of its seemingly intransigent problems, e.g., education, employment, crime and justice, access to health care, proper nutrition, etc., could be addressed: What are the root causes of these issues? What successes and failures has the city experienced in recent years? What are other cities doing to address their own problems, and could some of those approaches work in Baltimore?

Darien Ripple, manager of UB's Experiential Learning Program in the Office of Academic Innovation, said the "Divided Baltimore" course will unfold in different ways, depending on whether the student enrolls at the graduate or undergraduate level. For the undergraduate version, classes will be available at the freshman/sophomore or junior/senior levels. All versions of the course will be credit-bearing if the student is academically qualified and formally enrolled at the University. Some spaces will be available to both visiting students and those who seek to audit the course content.

Topics covered during the semester include infrastructure, public transportation, food deserts, homelessness, racial imbalances, effective government, the war on drugs, cross-generational poverty, and Baltimore's emphasis on neighborhoods vs. citywide perspectives. WYPR's 2012-13 series, "The Lines Between Us," serves as a basis for the course.

Learning outcomes for "Divided Baltimore" are "absolutely essential," Ripple said.

"UB has high expectations of every course we teach," he said. "But it's especially true in this case, because the future of Baltimore is at stake. We can't claim our efforts will make all the difference in the world, but this is what we should be doing as a city-based institution, and I believe that it can and will help us overcome our problems."

To learn more about the "Divided Baltimore" course, contact Darien Ripple at 410.837.6538, or send an email.

Read about the course in The Daily Record.

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Public Affairs and the Merrick School of Business.


Last Published 6/9/16