HomeEducationAcaraFall 2019 Courses to Challenge and Inspire You

Fall 2019 Courses to Challenge and Inspire You

Who is thinking about what exciting, inspiring courses to take for the Fall semester? We are! And there are three opportunities to take an Acara course that we want to share with you as you plan out your Fall.


GCC 3003: Seeking Solutions to Global Health Issues

Often, the most progress on challenging issues such as health and equity is made when you apply an interdisciplinary perspective. The same is true for global health issues. Whether responding to emerging pandemics, food insecurity, maternal mortality, or civil society collapse during conflict, solutions often lie at the intersection of animal, environmental, and human health.


In this course, students will work in teams to examine the fundamental challenges to addressing complex global health problems in East Africa and East African refugee communities here in the Twin Cities. Together we will seek practical solutions that take culture, equity, and sustainability into account. In-field professionals and experts will be available to mentor each team, including Faith Nawagi who is based in Uganda.This exploration will help students propose realistic actions that could be taken to resolve these issues. This course will help students gain the understanding and skills necessary for beginning to develop solutions to global health issues.



GCC 3005: Global Venture Design: What Impact Will You Make?

Addressing many of the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges requires not only an idea, but a plan to establish a scalable solution. In this project-based course, multidisciplinary teams design innovative, sustainable solutions to global grand challenges related to water supply, energy availability, food/agriculture production, waste management, or public health.

Student teams will identify a specific challenge in Puerto Rico, India or Greater MN, design a product or service, and create a financially viable and impactful business solution. In-field professionals and experts will mentor each team. By the end of the class students will have a well-designed venture plan and will be well-prepared to compete in the Acara Challenge.

Students are expected to use a discovery process, design thinking, ideation and input from field research in solving the challenge. A primary focus of the course is up-front work to identify the “right” problem to solve. The model should be built around the customers’ needs and wants, as they will need to pay for the product or service to achieve a scalable model.


GCC 5034: How can we Transition Minnesota to a Carbon-Free Economy?

The science is clear that we need to decarbonize the economy on a global scale as soon as possible to prevent catastrophic effects of climate change on human health and the environment.


What does it mean to develop a prosperous carbon-neutral economy, while also improving people’s lives and the environment? How can this transition happen to make the benefits of societal wealth more equitable, and while protecting vulnerable populations? Will a transition to a carbon-free economy force us to change our quality of life?


Together we will seek practical solutions to address these complex challenges. This course will attempt to answer these questions through a series of lectures and discussions to build your understanding of key topics for creating a carbon neutral economy. We will also explore the conflicts that exist between solutions to rapidly reduce carbon emissions and create a clean energy future, and work in interdisciplinary teams to build upon lectures, discussions, and workshops and propose a well-developed solution to creating a carbon-free economy in Minnesota.



Learn more about these course opportunities on our website, and feel free to email any questions you have to acara@umn.edu

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