City Seminar

The two City Seminar courses will be the anchor of your studies during your first year at Guttman Community College. With content rooted in issues of historical and current importance to the city, they will introduce you to the variety of perspectives used by different subjects in the liberal arts and sciences.

In City Seminar I during the Fall I semester, we will jump into critical issues that contribute to New York City’s distinctive character as a complex urban system. Building your critical thinking and analytical skills, the course will challenge you to explore the historic and social context of an issue, survey multiple perspectives, and analyze the evidence driving key decisions. Topics will include education, urban policy, environmental issues, business and industry, public health, work and labor markets, immigration, and public arts and culture. Working independently and in teams, you will explore how these complex issues impact our lives in New York City.

The seminar will focus on:

  • the origins and contexts of a critical urban issue
  • the exploration of diverse perspectives through literature, film and other media, primary sources, political opinions, and historical artifacts
  • experiential learning and meetings with various New York City professionals
  • critical analysis and proposals to address the issue

You will gain experience using spreadsheet and presentation software, and you’ll build your reading and writing skills through close readings of various social science and literary texts. Focusing on the math and science behind the critical issues you explore, you’ll develop quantitative reasoning skills needed for your major. Our group workspace will provide opportunities for individualized feedback on your assignments.

In City Seminar II during the Spring I semester, you will explore in depth a single case on a critical issue such as immigration, public health, the environment, education, social services, business or industry. You will examine the impact of the issue on our lives in New York City as you meet with practitioners from the public and private sector. Taking this class alongside Composition I, you will be introduced to the CUNY library system and learn to conduct research and incorporate outside evidence in your writing. The two courses will link their content and final projects, and you will continue to work in your learning community.