ACADEMIC CIVIC ENGAGEMENT COURSES 2008-09
Many courses provide opportunities for students to collaborate with community organizations, apply skills and knowledge and address public issues. This list includes academic civic engagement courses that utilized resources and/or expertise connected to the Civic Engagement Program in the Piper Center for Vocation and Career. During the 2008-09 academic year, more than 14 courses, impacting over 250 students included an academic civic engagement component.
American Conversations- Freedoms: 1607-1865 -
Students explored voting and participation in elections as key elements of American citizenship. As part of the course, teams of students were required to engage in at least one of the following; register voters (on and off-campus), present to Northfield High School students on the importance of political participation, serve as an election judge or work for a political campaign. As part of the course, students also participated in voter registration training, kept a log of their work, reflected on their experiences in class and presented at a post election forum, "Reflections on the Election: A New Generation? A New Coalition?"
Biomedical Ethics -
Five students coordinated, facilitated and presented at an on-campus event titled, “What's Wrong With Our Health Care System and How Do We Fix It?” Prior to the event, the students also met with members of a Northfield citizen group focused on health care reform. The event featured a panel of experts on the various aspects surrounding our U.S. health care system, such as health care disparities, insurance dilemmas and the rising costs of health care. The event was attended by approximately 90 people, including ten people from the community.
Immigration and Citizenship -
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak
Eight students completed community-based research projects in collaboration with Rice County Growing Up Healthy (GUH), an organization that attempts “to increase the level of community connectedness experienced by marginalized families in Rice County with children under the age of five.” Students investigated organizations and institutions that interface with immigrants and refugees in Rice County and gathered information from GUH staff and neighborhood leaders, as well as from a variety of public officials. Students created a variety of research reports and project proposals relating to housing, education and bilingual early childhood education. At the end of the semester the projects were shared with GUH and other community organizations that could benefit from the research.
Inclusive Practice with Individuals and Families - SW 254
Each student in the class met with persons at the Northfield Retirement Center that they do not know and engaged in conversation, learned about nursing home/care center, and told a short personal story to engender a reciprocal story from their “partner” elder. Students participated in a training with Story Circles International. Students also reflected on the experiences regularly in class.
Infant Behavior and Development -
The entire class collaborated with the Faribault Early Childhood and Family Education (ECFE). After a series of site visits and conversations, the students decided to support the program by creating educational resources for the Faribault ECFE. One project, “Play and Motor Development in Somali and Sudanese Cultures,” consisted of a literature review, handout and educational DVD that included interviews with Somali and Sudanese families. The other project, “Language and Literacy,” also included a literature review, handout and educational DVD. Throughout the course, students learned about, compared and reflected on cultural differences in parenting beliefs and practices and utilized oral and written skills to communicate to scholarly and community audiences. At the end of the semester the students presented the DVD’s to representatives from Faribault ECFE and Rice County Growing Up Healthy.
Introduction to American Politics -
Students explored voting and participation in elections as key elements of American Politics. As part of the course, teams of students were required to engage in at least one of the following; register voters (on and off-campus), present to Northfield High School students on the importance of political participation, serve as an election judge or work for a political campaign. As part of the course, students also participated in voter registration training, kept a log of their work, reflected on their experiences in class and presented at a post election forum, "Reflections on the Election: A New Generation? A New Coalition?"
Student teams developed marketing plans for one major product (or service) offered by the client to which the team is assigned. Clients included the Northfield Historical Society, the Cannon River Watershed Partnership and Laura Baker Services, as well as a variety of other for-profit initiatives. Students presented their recommendations to the community partners at the end of the semester.
Statistics for Sciences -
Teams of students analyzed stream monitoring data for the Cannon River Watershed Partnership and data from a residential survey for the Dakota County Office of Planning, Evaluation and Development. Students learned about the projects through conversations with the community partners, prepared a paper based on the analysis of the data and then presented their findings to the representatives of the organizations and the end of the semester. Learning outcomes related to these projects included; increased interest and engagement, improved ability to analyze results and communicate to a non-technical audience and exposure to the wide applicability of statistics.
American Conversations- Democratic Vistas: 1800- 1900 - AMCON 102A
Students will work with a group to research and prepare a presentation about a Northfield-area site. They will approach this site as a dense fact, examining it from a number of different angles and at different points in time. Students will be expected to look closely at this site – historically, culturally, socially, environmentally, physically, etc. –and consider what the site can tell us about both the 19th -century development of this area (especially 1850-1900) and the longer-term use and sustainability of this landscape.
Ethnographic Research Methods -
Students will complete community-based research projects for Tacking Obstacles Raising College Hopes (TORCH) and various after school programs in Northfield. Students learn research, political, civic engagement skills; community-based research experience; and knowledge of Northfield and Rice Co.
Environmental Politics -
Students will learn about the complexity of environmental politics by examining the Cannon River as a case study. Various community leaders will be serving as guest speakers. Some students may work on projects for the Cannon River Watershed Partnership.
Ideals to Action: Cultivating Social Change - IS 216
Students will explore social change academically and practically. Students will work on "social change projects" for various community organizations. Specifically, students will be required to create plans for developing, improving, implementing or marketing a program or initiative that would help to foster social change.
Senior Seminar: Environmental Studies -
Students will work on various local environmental projects, with a emphasis on projects connected to the Northfield Energy Task Force Report.
Social Policy -
A small group of students will critically examine a draft of a book written by Rep. David Bly and present their findings to him.
Community Engagement in Social Work -
Students will understand community-based research project as a social work practice of planned change. Students will complete community-based research projects for agencies/organizations/departments for a need/benefit that they request.