Below is a sampling of courses that included an integrated civic engagement or community-based learning component. 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 Conversations (102)
Beginning with the interviews developed in AmCon 101 (see above) and now working in collaboration with Art 238: "Intermediate Photography," students will create photo/audio essays that aim to distill community participants' civic stories. This final multi-media product will then be put to use by the League of Women Voters in their social media initiatives to encourage voter registration and informed civic participation.
Arts Management (MGMT 229)
Teams of students will write grants for various local arts organizations and present their projects at the ACE Showcase. Partner organizations include Cannon Valley Youth Orchestra, Children's Culture Connection, English Language Learners Performing Arts, Northfield Arts & Culture Commission, Save the Northfield Depot, Vintage Band Festival and So How Are the Children.
Community Engagement in Social Work (SW 381)
Students complete a community-based project to demonstrate their ability to further planned change processes with a community partner. Students work with a local agency/organization/department to address a need that they identify.
Ethnographic Research Methods (SOAN 373)
Students will have the option to utilize ethnography skills and knowledge to complete community-based research in partnership with community organizations. Groups will conduct interviews and produce a final report for the partner organization. Students will learn research, political, civic engagement skills; community-based research experience; and knowledge of Northfield and Rice County. Students will partner with the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, HealthFinders Collaborative and So How Are the Children (SHAC).
Environmental Studies Senior Seminar (ES 399)
Groups of students utilize skills and knowledge informed by environmental studies courses to conduct research and complete projects for various local organizations. Projects titles include EGGPlants (Everyone Gets to Grow Plants) with St. Dominic School, The Future of Ames Mill Dam: Community Responses, High School Environmental Clubs and their Communities, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) in Northfield and SEED's Farm Mobile Chicken Coop.
Inclusive Practice with Groups, Organizations and Communities (SW 261)
Students will participate in a community project that advances social and economic justice through community building, community/locality development, social action/reform, and/or social planning. Students use the social work problem solving process to do some or all of the following: identify community strengths and problems, gather information about the selected problem, develop a mutually agreed upon plan for change, enact the intervention and evaluate and terminate of change effort. This semester students partnered with the Friends of Lashbrook Park to plan a community event at the park. See here for Northfield News article about the event.
Examining Community Need: Perspectives of Key Informants (SW 274)
Intermediate Photography (ART 238)
For one project this spring, students will collaborate with students in AmCon 102 to create photo/audio essays about the "civic passions", political involvement and especially the practice of voting in the lives of Northfield community members. Students in AmCon will conduct interviews and photography students will be responsible for photographing the interviewees. The multi-media product produced by the two classes will then be put to use by the League of Women Voters in their social media initiatives to encourage voter registration and informed civic participation.
Marketing (MGMT 250)
Student teams 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.
Race and American Politics (PSCI 244)
Students conduct community-based research on housing issues experience by Somali immigrants in Faribault in collaboration with Growing Up Healthy.
Research Methods (PSYCH 230)
Students will continue research on stress, loneliness and well-being with the St. Olaf After Dark Committee that was initiated by students in the fall PSYCH 230 course. Other students will examine the effectiveness and benefits of the Quo Vadis Sophomore Retreat. Specifically, students will look at outcomes such as identity exploration and achievement, existence of and confidence in future plans, use of college-sponsored vocational resources, and connections to the St. Olaf community.
Urban Economics (ECON 249)
American Conversations: Declaring Independence 1607- 1865 (AMCON 101)
Eric Fure-Slocum & Colin Wells
AmCon 101 will work in partnership with the League of Women Voters to explore community activists' civic stories. During this year-long project (AmCon 101/102), students will begin a conversation with community participants, asking them to tell their stories of civic engagement and political involvement in the Northfield community and beyond. In these interviews, students will seek to understand the "civic passions" that animate activists' engagement and especially consider the ways in which the practice of voting and the concept of the "the vote" figure into interviewees' civic lives.
Introduction to Environmental Studies (ES 137)
Small groups of students will present educational materials aimed at their peer group and community members that illustrate how eating is an environmental act. Topics include: following a meal from cradle to plate, investigating the environmental impacts of a given food or food product's supply chain, the environmental impacts of locally produced goods compared to distributed goods from supermarket chains, compare/contrast various levels of environmental certification for a given food product, and the environmentally significant differences between the same food or food product sold at different outlets.
Community Health (NURS 388)
Mary Beth Kuehn
Local partners including Rice County Public Health, Steele County Public Health, Steele County Human Resources and St. Lucas Health Care Center (Faribault) identified the need for a health fair for specific target populations. Students will utilize the nursing process, civic engagement skills and service-learning experience to plan, implement and evaluate a health fair. Students will draw from the American Nursing Association and course theories to reflect on their service-learning experiences. They will also present their project at the ACE Showcase.
First-year Writing (GE 111)
As part of an exploration of food topics, students work at one of two locals farms (STOGROW or Spring Wind Farm), visit local farms for a tour, do research in Northfield related to grocery stores and food-buying and consuming, and get connected to their college food service, Bon Appetit, through talks and observation. Students write about all these experiences.
Ideals to Action: Cultivating Social Change (AMST 208)
Students explore social change academically and practically. Students create plans for developing or improving a project in collaboration with various community organizations. Students assume leadership in implement a defined project that they develop in collaboration with a community partner. Students will present their projects at the ACE Showcase. Community partners will likely include the Rural Enterprise Center, Tackling Obstacles Raising College Hopes (TORCH), Laura Baker Services, Northfield-area League of Women Voters, Growing Up Healthy, Friends of Way Park, City of Northfield, Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy and the Middle School Youth Center.
Immigration and Citizenship (PSCI 350)
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak
Building on previous original research on immigration and diversity in Faribault, students will explore how participatory citizenship is practiced in Faribault and how it intersects with juridical citizenship. Students will complete community-based research in collaboration with Growing Up Healthy by attending a sample of public events and using ethnographic methods in attempts to capture the micro-foundations of citizenship, with special attention to participation of recent immigrants.
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.
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 to conduct research on stress, health and play in partnership with the St. Olaf After Dark Committee, a committee of the Student Government Association that seeks to provide unique, interactive programming for students after 10:00pm.
Urban Economics (ECON 249)
Doing Public History (HIST 293)
Students will learn the craft of public history by partnering with local historical societies and other civic organizations. The class will work to develop specific historical projects (including a collective biography and social history of early 20th-century school-aged children in Northfield) and prepare materials that can be used for public displays and in K-12 classrooms.
I Want to Help People (SW 120)
Students explore service to human beings as a profession, a vocation, and a volunteer commitment. Who needs help? Who helps? Where? How? What motivates people to help? Using the liberal arts as a foundation for helping people, students study vocational opportunities in areas such as health care, social services, ministry, youth work, and the arts. The class includes lectures, discussions, speakers, and field visits.
Schools and Communities (ED 170)
In this course, students examine how a Minneapolis school and community interact to provide support and developmental opportunities for school-age children. Through readings, discussions, lectures, field trips, and in-school and co-curricular placements, students gain an understanding of how race, class, ethnicity, national origin, and gender shape the complex character of urban youth and schools. Students spend one week on campus in orientation activities and then two weeks in a Minneapolis elementary school and after-school program. The last week of the program will be spent processing the experience back on campus.
Urban Education Practicum and Seminar (ED 379)
During interim 2012, five St. Olaf students helped high schoolers at Community of Peace Academy (CPA) charter school in St. Paul design, implement, and present civic engagement projects. The Oles were integral members of the CPA community, serving as judges at a poetry contest, teaching math and social studies lessons, tutoring students in English skills, and highlighting the importance of a college education.