Below is a sampling of courses that included an integrated a civic engagement or community-based component. During the 2010-11 academic year over 500 students from 27 courses participated in academic civic engagement courses. The Piper Center for Vocation and Career provides consultation, support, coordination and training for faculty and students involved with academic civic engagement courses.
Please click here for more information about academic civic engagement at St. Olaf.
American Culture: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (AMST 100)
Students read Paul Loeb’s The Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times, a book that uses the stories of a number of social activists to encourage readers to get involved in their communities, both socially and politically. As a follow-up to the book, students interviewed local activists, probing for the ideas and commitments that have led them to opt for community involvement instead of “couch potatoism.”
Arts Management (MGMT 229)
Teams of students wrote grants for various local arts organizations, including Cannon Valley Youth Orchestra, VocalEssence, Northfield Youth Choir, Archibald Mill and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota. Students also evaluated the WITNESS program for VocalEssence.
Introduction to Environmental Studies (ES 137)
As part of an exploration of food systems, students assisted two student farms (STOWGROW and SEEDS) and learned from local food leaders.
First-year Writing (GE 111)
As part of an exploration of food topics, students provided assistance to the STOWGROW Farm, participated in local farm/food tours and wrote about their experiences.
Ideals to Action: Cultivating Social Change (IS 216)
Students explored social change academically and practically. Students created plans for developing, improving or marketing a program in collaboration with various community organizations. After presenting their project plans to the organizations and receiving feedback, the students assumed leadership in implementing the initial stages of the projects. Community partners included Three Rivers Community Action Center, Three Links, Growing Up Healthy, SEEDS Farm, St. Dominic’s School and the Hati Justice Alliance. Project Titles and Descriptions
Inclusive Practice with Individuals and Families (SW 254)
Each student in the class meet for nine weeks with a resident at the Northfield Retirement Center that they do not know and engaged in conversation. The student told a short personal story to engender a reciprocal story from their “partner” elder. Students participated in training sessions with a community professional and reflected on their experiences in writing and in class discussion.
Journalistic Writing (ENGL 289)
Students chose one of two ACE project options to help gather and write community news, feature stories, or community member profiles. Some students collaborated with the Healthy Community Initiative to help Latino middle school students in the TORCH program write stories for a newsletter that goes home to families. Others students interviewed longtime members of the League of Women Voters to capture their stories online for the national LWV’s “Story Bank” project.
Law, Politics and Morality (PHIL 254)
Students wrote op-ed pieces relating to social issues and submit for publication.
Marketing (MGMT 250)
Student teams developed a strategic marketing plans for various local for profit and nonprofit organizations, including St. Olaf Financial Aid office, Compatible Technology, Sirius Software, Redoux Home, Nicollet South Bike Shop. Students presented their recommendations to the community partners at the end of the semester.
Community Applications of Psychology (PSYCH 224)
Students learned about theories, skills and methods that psychologists use to address social problems and community needs through research, practice and policy. As part of the course, students completed service-learning internships (32 hours on-site) with local schools and nonprofit organizations such as the Northfield YMCA, Faribault Early Childhood and Family Education, Northfield Montessori, Middle School Youth Center, Laura Baker Services and ARTech School.
Nationalism, Regionalism, Globalization in Asia (PSCI/AS 245)
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak
Responding to a research challenge from the Minnesota Trade Office of the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development, students researched and presented country profiles that could be used as resources by businesses interested in expanding their markets to these countries. At the end of the semester, students presented their country profiles to members of the Minnesota Trade Office in St. Paul.
Advance Statistical Modeling (STAT 316)
Students analyzed Minnesota Department of Education data on test scores of students in the Faribault School District and presented to members of the Faribault School Board.
Community Engagement in Social Work (SW 381)
Students examined community-based research project as a social work practice of planned change. Students completed community-based research projects for agencies/organizations/departments for a need or benefit that they request.
Development in Diverse Families (PSYCH 350)
Students conducted research on adoptive families for the Catalyst Foundation and identified protective factors such as the role of heritage and culture camps in promoting the wellbeing of international adoptees. Student reports were shared with the Catalyst Foundation and utilized for grant-writing and project development.
Ethnographic Research Methods (SOAN 373)
Students had the option to utilize ethnography skills and knowledge to complete community-based research in partnership with community organizations. Groups conducted interviews to complete an environmental scan of the nonprofit sector for the Northfield Area Foundation, an assessment of the economic impact of the arts for the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission and assessed the impact of academic civic engagement courses on student learning for the Center for Experiential Learning. Students learned research, political, civic engagement skills; community-based research experience; and knowledge of Northfield and Rice County.
Environmental Health (BIO/ES 228)
Students developed and taught curriculum on food, nutrition, healthy eating, plant growth and sustainable agriculture for 3rd graders at Greenvale Park Elementary. Collaborated with students in Research Methods of Psychology who developed and administered surveys to evaluate the impact of the food and nutrition curriculum on 3rd graders. Connected to Food and Nutrition Service-learning Collaborative Grant Project.
Environmental Studies Senior Seminar (ES 399)
Groups utilized skills and knowledge informed by environmental studies courses to conduct research and complete projects for organizations for groups such as the Rice Creek Concerned Citizens, SEEDS Farm, the City of Northfield and Spring Brook Farm. Connected to Food and Nutrition Service-learning Collaborative Grant Project.
Inclusive Practice: Groups, Organizations and Communities (SW 261)
Students collaborated with Friends of Lashbrook Park to develop a website and plan a community event.
Food and Community Agriculture (ES 281)
Students completed community projects related to local food movements in collaboration with one or more community partners. Students produced educational materials on the Farm to School program for the Northfield Public Schools Child Nutrition Services and curriculum related to the development of a school garden at St. Dominic School. Connected to Food and Nutrition Service-learning Collaborative Grant Project.
Immigration and Citizenship (PSCI 350)
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak
Operating at as a research team, students completed original community-based research on integration and incorporation in Fariabult in collaboration with the Faribault United Way. Students collectively conducted approximately 40 interviews with community leaders and presented findings at a community forum that was attended by over 60 people. See final report, "After the Welcome Center: Renewing Conversations about Immigration & Diversity in Faribault," that two students wrote as part of a CURI research project following this course project.
Intermediate Photography (ART 238)
Students worked with youth on the autism spectrum to make photographs and document the activities of the Art and Autism Club. Students and club members collaborated to design and produce a book of photographs that includes photographs by each of the participants in the club. It will also be used as a record of the club for future fund raising and to inform potential participants about the program.
Intro to Environmental Studies (ES 137)
Students will work in groups to develop simple brochures, PowerPoint presentations, etc that highlight food items or meals along a supply chain with special consideration of environmental impacts. Connected to Food and Nutrition Service-learning Collaborative grant project.
Marketing (MGMT 250)
Student teams will develop a strategic marketing plans for various local for profit and nonprofit organizations. Students will present their recommendations to the community partners at the end of the semester.
Neuroscience of Addiction (PSYCH 336)
Students will develop educational materials on the neuroscience of addiction in partnership with the Rice County Chemical Health Coalition. Materials will be geared specifically toward the science of recovery and will be used by area agencies in September, 2011 as part of National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month.
Research Methods (PSYCH 230)
Students learn how psychological research is conceptualized, designed, carried out, interpreted, and disseminated to the public. Use of library resources, ethical guidelines in the conduct of research, and the skills of good scientific writing are emphasized. Students work in small groups on a semester-long project for which they will design and conduct research. One section of the class will partner with the Northfield YMCA on program evaluation and the other section will evaluate healthy eating outcomes of K-12 students associated with the Food and Nutrition Service-learning Collaborative grant project. Food and Nutrition Service-learning Collaborative Grant Project.
Urban Economics (ECON 249)
Students examined and presented the economic and social context of a number of local community issues.