Community Based Learning Summer Institute Recap, July 1, 2010
July 01, 2010
The idea was pretty straightforward: Create a retreat-esque space for faculty to meet with a student leader and a community partner to design a course that would have the greatest impact on the community while forcing students to think about their studies in a more realistic manner.
We did not want to host another workshop on course creation but rather our main focus would be to have the community partner contribute significantly so that the results would have the greatest benefit for the community itself. In a way, the representatives from the community organizations acted as "experts in the field" so that our faculty could have a chance to consult and devise projects and volunteer work for students to do as part of their grade.
The institute itself was 2.5 days. We knew it was important to have part of the institute take place at a few different community locations so that the faculty and student participants, who may never have been to Brockton, would have the chance to feel as if they were a part of the community. We also thought that if faculty are sending students to volunteer in downtown Brockton, they should have some idea of what Brockton is like.
The institute took place the first week of June. Applications were due in April and we had double the amount of applications than we had slots. This made for some unfortunate trimming, seeing how all the applications were excellent. In the end, we had 6 different courses to develop, all diverse in terms of strengths, subject matter and partners.
For new courses, we had a STEM (science, technology, mathematics) for Educators course. This professor picked an affordable housing complex that hosts an after-school program to be her community partner. Her college students were going to work with youth to help them understand science and maybe even create a club. We also had an Environmental Ethics course that partners with a local environmental agency and a Business Marketing course that planned on working with the Chamber of Commerce on a direct mailing campaign.
For re-vamping existing Community-Based Learning courses, we had a Communication Theory course working with a homeless shelter, a gender & religious studies course working with a local Women's shelter, and sociology course that was going to work with certain YMCA programs.
We were delighted by how new and innovative all these courses were and that they all had such different learning outcomes. However, they were all united by the concept of community benefit.
For more information, contact the Office of Community-Based Learning, (508) 565-1904.