May 2019: Approved Courses

  • APAN 5470: Introduction to Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies & Analytics;
  • SCOM 5020: The Strategic Storyteller;
  • ACTU 5823: Actuarial Models;
  • NECR 5105: Introduction to Negotiation;
  • NECR 5207: Advanced Mediation (Block Week);
  • HCM 6011: Business Partnerships
  • HCM 5200: Finance for Effective Human Capital Management;
  • HCM 5100: Introduction to Human Capital Management;
  • BIET 5475: Journalism & Bioethics;
  • NMED 5045: Race, Narrative, and Medicine: Descripting Non-Compliant African American Bodies

APAN 5470 Course Overview

This is an introductory course on Blockchains and Crypto-currencies. Blockchains have created a new paradigm in decentralized management among various entities securely without requiring trusted intermediaries. Applications to various fields abound including Crypto-currencies (e.g., bitcoin, Ethereum), banking (ripple), insurance, logistics, etc. The course introduces concepts of blockchains using bitcoin as the main example. It will go into the details related to underlying fundamentals including cryptographic protocols, hash, digital signatures, chaining of blocks of transactions, decentralization using mining based on proof of work, etc. It will also cover data mining of transactions using machine learning and social network methods and “smart contracts”. This course will help you understand blockchains and its applications as a key peer-to-peer technology and its uses in smart contracts.

SCOM 5020 Course Overview

The ability to find, craft, and tell a story is an essential tool in the professional communicator’s arsenal. Contrary to the notion that storytelling is just a nice “add on” to strategic communication, this course will show how it’s actually at the very core of our work. Used strategically, a well told story can convey an organization’s mission and culture, attract the attention of the media, raise funds, sell a product, influence decision makers, and even help societies embark on new paths. Stories that resonate propel political candidates into office, move a business ahead of the competition, and form the basis for social movements and causes that effect lasting changes. While narrative is a powerful strategic tool, learning how to communicate a story in and across different media is a skill requiring intense discipline and effort. An average presentation, annual report, marketing brochure, or website will always become more compelling through established and emerging techniques for applied storytelling. Your ability to tell effective stories is also a critical part of your professional development and continuing career trajectory. As Marshall Ganz underscores, “if you don’t author your public story, others will.”

The purpose of this course is to provide you with a deep and broad understanding of stories and how they can be used in strategic communication. Drawing from a wealth of evidence-based and field-tested work on storytelling from both local and global contexts, students will learn why stories tend to be so powerful and—with a focus on the written, performed, and transmedia aspects of storytelling—gain experience in telling stories to achieve organizational objectives. Your skills will be sharpened through lively seminar discussions, storytelling exercises, workshop-style coaching, and presentations and on-camera practice. We’ll take full advantage of the blended hybrid format of this course, using in-person intensives to bring storytelling practices to life, while using synchronous and asynchronous online sessions to deepen our understandings and continue building on enduring and emergent themes raised from class sessions. By the end, you will walk away with a new orientation and a host of strategies that can be immediately implemented in your everyday work.

ACTU 5823 Course Overview

This course provides an introduction to modeling and covers important actuarial methods that are useful in modeling. The student will be introduced to useful frequency and severity models beyond those covered in Models for Life Contingencies (MLC) and Models for Finance and Economics (MFE). The student will be required to understand the steps involved in the modeling process and how to carry out these steps in solving business problems. The student will perform data analyses, build or use actuarial models, and estimate and quantify confidence regarding model parameters. To conclude this process, the student will use a variety of tools for the calibration and evaluation of the models.
This class covers the material of the Short Term Actuarial Mathematics (STAM) examination of the Society of Actuaries. This is a core class of the Actuarial Science program. Students who have already taken and passed the STAM exam for the SOA are exempted from this class and can substitute an elective.

NECR 5105 Course Overview

On a daily basis we are involved in numerous negotiations.  Some of these are simple and easy to resolve, while others are complex and may take place over several sessions (or even years and centuries).  Some of our negotiations take place with one other person and others take place with several parties.  In this course we will explore negotiation from several points of view and approaches as listed below under the session headings.  Broadly we will look at key orientations to conflict and negotiation; individual factors affecting the course of negotiation (e.g. emotions, culture), group factors (e.g. multiparty and intergroup dynamics), and interpersonal factors (communication, power).

The course will be a blend of concepts and skills, theory and practice.  On some occasions you will be introduced to a concept and then asked to apply those concepts in an experiential activity.  At other times you will be asked to engage in an activity or simulation and then relevant concepts will be elicited based on your experience.  You will have opportunities to practice developing your skills throughout the course, in terms of enhancing your practice and honing your analytical and conceptual understanding.

NECR 5207 Course Overview

On a daily basis we may encounter conflicts and seek to resolve them through negotiations and other forms of conflict resolution. Some of these are simple and easy to resolve, while others are complex and may require the support of a third party, or mediator. In this course we will explore mediation from several points of view and approaches, as listed below under the session headings. We will build on what you have learned in Introduction to Mediation (PS5107) both conceptually as you expand your knowledge of the field and practically as you further develop your skills as mediators.

This course will be a blend of theory and practice. As adult learners you will be expected to situate this learning and development within your own current status as third party interveners or mediators. Some of you have already embraced mediation as something you would like to do in your future work. while others may be interested in this work as a compliment to your present professional activity. We encourage you to be open-minded and learn the skills to use as mediators conducting formal mediations and as you can apply these communications skills and mindset to almost any interaction you encounter. Once again, there is a strong emphasis on self-awareness and self-development. This course is designed in accordance with the guidelines established by the Unified Court System’s Office of ADR and Court Improvement Programs for The Community Dispute Resolutions Program and qualifies as the prerequisite for the Mediation Fieldwork (PS) course in anticipation of certification through the Westchester and Rockland Mediation Centers of CLUSTER and the Institute for Mediation & Conflict Resolution in the Bronx.

You will work individually, in small groups for role-plays, and as a whole class, depending upon the assignment or activity. On the final day of the course, mediation role-plays will be recorded to provide you with an additional learning tool. You will receive a link to your own mediation video for your future growth and, if useful, for your final assignments. This video is not graded and is for your use exclusively.

HCM 6011 Course Overview

As strategic business partners, human resources and human capital management (HCM) professionals must be able to predict, design, and execute complex business solutions that enable the growth and innovation objectives of the organization. Aligning business objectives with employees and senior management across an organization’s business units requires a new level of business acumen and strategic competencies. In this core foundations course, students will review the strategic importance of and approaches to aligning workforce and workplace strategies to corporate strategy, and the critical advisory skills that are required to establish true business partnership for high-impact performance.

Students will examine a range of complex business scenarios while working to develop the knowledge, competencies, and communication skills necessary to take on the role of strategic business partner/consultant. Through this course students will receive an overview of the tenets of effective business partnership, build consulting skills to help position themselves as trusted advisors, discuss how to manage and resolve complex employee relations issues, practice offering guidance and solutions, and apply effective communication. Students will receive peer and instructor feedback throughout the semester and use real-time challenges to ground their practical work in theoretical best practices.

This course is a required core course in the HCM program and is not currently open to cross-registrants from other fields and/or Columbia University programs. Specific competencies/prerequisite knowledge or course work in the discipline is not required.

This course supports the following programmatic goals:

  • Develop integrated workforce strategies and talent solutions that are responsive to a diverse and dynamic marketplace, sustainable, and aligned to organizational goals.
  • Analyze the role HRIS plays in achieving organizational priorities and simplifying operations and support.
  • Demonstrate leadership competencies required to serve as a trusted and agile advisor on human capital implications relating to the talent lifecycle and to organizational opportunities and challenges.
  • Use meaningful patterns in HR data to create clear and cohesive stories that have an action-driven people analytics strategy
  • Develop rationales grounded in financial and business acumen and connected to organizational objectives for investments in human capital management initiatives

HCM 5200 Course Overview

Effective human resources (HR) leaders and leading human capital management (HCM) strategists rely on financial acumen to use financial data to make decisions, allocate resources, and justify budget expenses. Through a rigorous combination of theory and practice, students will explore in this core course the basics of financial management and measurement and their connection to efficient, effective, and operationally sound HCM strategies and solutions. 

This course is unlike HCMPS5160 (People Analytics and Decision Making) in that we are not addressing predictive analytics and the skills in building analytic models—statistical analyses, etc.  Instead, this course focuses on human capital metrics, which are akin to financial metrics (ROA, ROI, Quick Ratio, etc.) in that the students will rely on simple algorithms to calculate company performance.  This is an important distinction as metrics are a “shorthand” to understanding the company’s human capital health and are not indicative of any causal or correlative relationship between variables, as the People Analytics course addresses.

This course is not currently open to cross-registrants from other fields and/or Columbia University programs. Specific competencies/prerequisite knowledge or course work in the discipline is not required for this course.

This course serves the following programmatic goals:

  • Develop integrated workforce strategies and talent solutions that are responsive to a diverse and dynamic marketplace, sustainable, and aligned to organizational goals.
  • Demonstrate leadership competencies required to serve as a trusted and agile advisor on human capital implications relating to the talent lifecycle and to organizational opportunities and challenges.
  • Develop rationales grounded in financial and business acumen and connected to organizational objectives for investments in human capital management initiatives.

HCM 5100 Course Overview

In this required core foundations course, students will examine the impact of industry dynamics (i.e., external industry trends, shifting workforce and workplace challenges) on human capital management (HCM) solutions and the competencies required of human resources (HR) professionals. Students will learn about effective strategies for designing human capital solutions and people development programs, including business-aligned and integrated approaches to talent management and cross-functional collaboration with organizational leadership. Students will be introduced to the latest practices related to advancing human capital implications for high-impact organizational performance and have an opportunity to apply practices to current industry and organizational challenges. The course will also introduce foundational approaches to measuring the effectiveness of human capital investment.

This course is not currently open to cross-registrants from other fields and/or Columbia University programs. Specific competencies/prerequisite knowledge or course work in the discipline is not required for this course.

This course serves the following programmatic goals:

  • Develop integrated workforce strategies and talent solutions that are responsive to a diverse and dynamic marketplace, sustainable, and aligned to organizational goals.
  • Analyze the role HRIS plays in achieving organizational priorities and simplifying operations and support.
  • Demonstrate leadership competencies required to serve as a trusted and agile advisor on human capital implications relating to the talent lifecycle and to organizational opportunities and challenges.
  • Use meaningful patterns in HR data to create clear and cohesive stories that have an action-driven people analytics strategy
  • Develop rationales grounded in financial and business acumen and connected to organizational objectives for investments in human capital management initiatives

BIET 5475 Course Overview

News outlets have always been key portals for the dissemination of bioethics news and thought. Laypersons and lawmakers rely upon popular publications and newscasts for much of their understanding of ethical issues and challenges in medicine and health..

The Associated Press told laypersons of the “Tuskegee” syphilis study in the early 1970s, and the Staten Island Advance alerted the world to the dangerous and unethical research conducted at Willowbrook State School in the 1960s. News media revealed and publicized the birth defects in the wake of thalidomide’s research failures that led to the crippling of 12,000 children, revisions of procedures for testing medications and a threatened lawsuit by the drug’s US manufacturer. Newspapers exposed the abusive research that led to the dramatic constriction of prison research in the mid-1970s, they alerted the nation to the experimental transplantation of a baboon’s heart into “Baby Fae”, to the uses of unwitting African mothers in research with subclinical doses of HIV medication, of euthanasia debates, the wartime injection of plutonium into unwitting Americans, and the revocation of human BRACA gene patents.

In this elective course, we will discuss and acquire the training, healthy skepticism and tool mastery that permits the most extensive, profound, and fair ethical analyses of contemporary medical and public health issues. The course also provides practice in writing opinion pieces, becoming a source of media expertise and recognizing hidden sources of error, which often carry important moral consequences.

This course will acquaint students with the various ways in which traditional and novel publications shape national ethical opinion and discourse. Students will also learn the internal approaches to the ethics of medical coverage and acquire ability to write and place clear and compelling essays, including opinion pieces and Op- Eds, that allow them as ethicists and clinicians to interact directly with readership and to shape news coverage and public policy.

This course supports the following goals: 1) To enhance students’ understanding of challenges that arise in how journalists and the media present bioethical issues, 2) To give students knowledge and insight on how challenges that journalists confront in writing about bioethical issues can be addressed, and 3) To give students skills in interacting with journalists to improve media coverage of bioethical issues. There are no prerequisites for this course. This course is open, space permitting, to cross-registrants from other Columbia schools; instructor permission is required.

NMED 5045 Course Overview

This course explores representations of the impact of structural racism on health and health outcomes.  In this endeavor, this course examines historical issues and theories, emphasizes critical analysis and the application of knowledge, and asks critical questions about authors’ decisions to depict illness and health in specific ways.  Scholarly readings in the areas of narrative and critical race theory will not only illuminate the relationship between social conditions and health outcomes but also provide the necessary insights and concepts to articulate how authors and directors represent health risks and outcomes in cultural contexts.  Written and visual texts will provide a context for reflecting on specific personal and cultural experiences with structural racism and the narrative strategies that authors employ to depict the effects of structural racism on African American bodies.