Civic Engagement Courses (CECs) 2007-2009 by Discipline

Civic Engagement Courses (CECs) 2007-2009 by Discipline

From 2007-2009, Project Pericles provided matching grants to fund 44 Civic Engagement Courses (CECs) at 16 Periclean colleges and universities listed below.

American Studies

American Ways of Life
Hendrix College - Jay McDaniel, Professor of Religion
This course introduces traditions of civic engagement to international students, with special focus on students from the People's Republic of China, for whom the course was required.


Applied Anthropology: Meeting Human Needs
Elon University – Kimberly Jones, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
This course applies anthropological theories and methods to local, national, and global human needs, such as adequate nutrition and health care, freedom and power, adequate educational supplies and well-trained teachers, and access to work that allows workers to provide adequately for themselves and their families.

Art and Art History

Topics in Native American Art History: Native California
Pitzer College – Bill Anthes, Assistant Professor of Art History
Through the study of material in museums, Indian casinos, cultural centers, and other institutions, students will examine Native American art and cultural history, focusing on patterns of contact, conflict, accommodation, government relations, education, economic revitalization, and cultural and political activism.

Museums and Their Communities
Ursinus College – Susan Shifrin, Assistant Professor of Art
This course examines the concept of the museum as a site of civic engagement, i.e., the museum as a partnership between the institution and its communities, between museum professionals and museum audiences.


The Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of the Genome
Wagner College – Ammini Moorthy, Professor of Biology; John P. Esser, Associate Professor of Sociology
This course examines scientific concepts and basic research that underlies the decoding of the Human Genome and explores the resulting biomedical revolution that has created a need for answers to questions such as what we can and should do with genomic research and calls into question the way people think about family structure, life expectancy, quality of life, expectations of health and medical care, privacy, the way food is grown, and attitudes toward religion.

Business Law

Business Law and Environmental Action
Widener University – Sandra K. Miller, Professor of Accounting and Taxation
In the course of examining contemporary law and ethics in relation to the formation and management of businesses and other organizations, students work with community and nonprofit groups to help alleviate environmental problems.

Communication Studies, Speech Communication, and Theatre

Political Communication
Berea College – Billy Wooten, Assistant Professor of Speech Communication and Director of Forensics
Students design and execute a media campaign based on their study of communication theories, media influence on policy development, core issues for the 2008 presidential election, and the importance of speech writing for candidates.

Introduction to Effective Oral Communication
Bethune-Cookman University – Paula McKenzie, Assistant Professor of Speech Communication and Theatre
This introductory course is designed to help students develop thinking, research, organization, and speaking skills through study and analysis of a social problem of their choice, resulting in an informative speech, a speech of controversy, a problem-solution speech, and a motivational speech.

Communication Analysis of Presidential Candidates' Nomination Acceptance Speeches
Hendrix College – Mary M. Richardson, Adjunct Instructor of Speech
Students examine selected nomination acceptance speeches at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions from 1980 to 2008, exploring the historical context, the candidates themselves, the outcome of the election, and the impact of the speeches on the election. In a forum setting, students compare Obama and McCain's speeches in 2008, and predict the winner of the election based on those speeches.

Youth, Media, Democracy
Pace University – Emilie Zaslow, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
In the context of historical and current debates about media and youth, this course explores, through readings, discussions, screenings, and service, how contemporary youth use the media to document their lives, produce social change, and put democracy into action.

Criminal Justice

Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice
Widener University – Nancy B. Blank, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Students in this course, which provides academic grounding in such topics as theories of delinquency, the evolving concept of juvenile justice, the roles and duties of courtroom players, and the effectiveness of community-based treatment, detention, and diversion programs, assist with a community-based youth court in which young people deliver justice to first-time youth offenders.


Agriculture, Ecology, and Society
Hampshire College – Brian Schultz, Associate Professor of Entomology and Ecology
This course uses readings, discussions, field work, assignments, and independent and group projects to examine ecological systems and issues of agriculture, covering such topics as crop pests, pesticides and alternative methods of pest control, soil erosion and conservation, agricultural inputs and water pollution, food production, problems of local farmers and of developing countries, social issues, and community-supported agriculture.


The Economics of Discrimination
Wagner College – Jayne Dean, Associate Professor of Economics and Department Chair
In the classroom and an optional service component, this course explores the proposition that the market reproduces and can reinforce economic inequality based on gender, race, and ethnicity and will examine the effects of globalization on these inequalities in developing countries and the U.S.

English and Literature

Literature and Writing
Bethune-Cookman University – Nancy Zrinyi Long, Associate Professor of English
This writing and composition course encourages social awareness and activism through a study of relevant literature and current events, and through participation in community projects such as tutoring, voter registration, and letter and editorial writing on social and environmental problems.

The Individual and Society: Folklore and Fairy Tales
Pace University – Patricia Hamill, Adjunct Professor of Writing and Literature
Through the study of literature and through reading to children who are clients of service organizations, students explore how individuals relate to literature according to age and culture and how literature may influence ideas of acceptable and deviant social interaction.

Non-Citizens in Wartime America: A Periclean Course in Civic Understanding
Pitzer College – Edith Vásquez, Assistant Professor of English and World Literature
This literary and cultural studies course examines how immigration status, race, and class bear the signs of a wartime society in the present-day US, in order to understand democratic values in the context of these particular junctures. Students undertake analytical discussions on contemporary civic institutions and discourses, and pose ethical questions of democratic social processes and political governance in the post-9/11 world.

General Studies

Questioning Authority
Berea College – David Porter, Professor of Psychology and General Studies
This introduction to college reading, writing, and thinking is taught from a framework of free thought and skeptical inquiry to help students recognize and resist corporate, governmental, religious, and individual oppression, skills that the students will be expected to use in service projects, such as working with small business owners displaced by corporate mega-stores.

Stirring the Pot: Food Politics, Gender, and Globalization
Berea College – Peggy Rivage-Seul, Associate Professor of Women's Studies;
Chad Berry, Associate Professor of Appalachian Studies

This course examines food from a variety of interdisciplinary and global perspectives, with special attention on the role that women play in global food economies. Students designed their own research project exploring an aspect of food politics, often involving a presentation to community members or research about a local food issue, such as a nearby local-foods-only restaurant.
This course is cross-listed in Women's Studies

Development Issues in Ghana
Elon University – Heidi G. Frontani, Associate Professor of Geography
This seminar, the foundation course for Elon's Periclean Scholars program and open only to Periclean scholars, focuses on socio-economic development in Africa, especially Ghana, using case studies that address uneven development and access to resources by vulnerable ethnic groups, women, peasant farmers, and fishers. Its primary objective is to improve the lives of Ghanaians.

Volunteerism, Social Justice, & Civic Engagement in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
Elon University – Ocek Eke, Assistant Professor of Communications
Through reading, research, reflecting, and engagement in service activities, students in this course examine responsibilities of and interrelationships among public, federal, state, and local governments and the media in times of natural disasters and engage in projects that relate their service activities to assigned reading.


Urban Geography Field Seminar
Macalester College – David Lanegan, Professor of Geography and Department Chair
GIS: Concepts and Applications
Macalester College – Holly Barcus, Assistant Professor of Geography
Cities of the 21st Century
Macalester College – Daniel Trudeau, Assistant Professor of Geography
Students in three courses share field trips, guest lectures, and faculty expertise as they collectively prepare a public document that addresses selected issues concerning local watersheds. The report includes quantitative and qualitative research by students in the Urban Geography Field Seminar; maps of social and economic variables by students in GIS Concepts and Applications; and analyses of policy issues and proposed solutions by students in Cities of the 21st Century.
This course is cross-listed in Urban Studies


Citizenship, Democracy, and the French Revolution
Allegheny College – Barry Shapiro, Professor of History
Students will study the French Revolution through role-playing, which will allow them to experiment with modes of civic engagement including elections, parliamentary maneuvering, lobbying, street demonstrations, and protests and help them understand historical contingency and cause and effect.

Seminar in Modern European History: Social Responses to Poverty
Berea College – Rebecca Bates, Assistant Professor of History
This course introduces students to European responses to poverty from the 17th through 20th centuries, covering criminalization of poverty, definitions of family, socialist critiques of capitalism, the rise of voluntary associations, and the relationship between philanthropic organizations and the state. The course employs an individual-focused historical analysis, exploring the engagement of those who wrestled with the rise of industrial capitalism. Students use forms of public writing to address these issues.

Leadership in the Face of Conflict: Twentieth Century Crises
Wagner College – Lori R. Weintrob, Associate Professor of History and Department Chair
Students identify exemplary models of leadership by examining case studies of select political and civic issues in the 20th century that prompted the mobilization of communities in the U.S. and abroad. The course focuses on the possibilities and liabilities of feminist activism, and involves a leadership project in partnership with local refugee groups.
In collaboration with Patricia Moynagh's Political Science course, "Crossing Boundaries, Raising Voices: The History and Politics of Feminist Activism"

Interdisciplinary Studies

Envisioning Environmental Futures
Allegheny College – Amara Geffen, Professor of Art
From an artistic, literary, ethical, political, economic, scientific, or spiritual point of view, students analyze contemporary environmental problems, create a project that provokes discussion of possible solutions, and collaborate with local residents to improve responsiveness of local planning to the environment and quality of life.

Environmental Geology
Allegheny College – Ron Cole, Associate Professor of Geology and Department Chair
Global Health Transitions
Allegheny College – Caryl Waggett, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science
Health Policy
Allegheny College – Melissa Kovacs Comber, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Rhetoric and Civic Engagement
Allegheny College – Vesta Silva, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric
These four courses form an interdisciplinary collaborative spanning the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to address Water and Health from multiple perspectives. The collaboration is part of a larger effort at Allegheny, where more than 20 faculty members incorporate some aspect of public health into their courses, using specially developed case studies that include such issues as health disparities, environmental exposures, effective prevention, and the impact of globalization.

Middle Eastern Studies

Civil Society and the State
Hampshire College – Berna Turam, Associate Professor of Sociology and Middle Eastern Studies
This course, in which students critically rethink classical and contemporary theories of civil society, uses actual case studies from the West and Middle East to explore civil society's links to the state and other political institutions, examining alternative interactions between the state and a wide-ranging sphere of collective action and paying particular attention to the relation between civil society, religion, and nationalism.


Civic Engagement, Ethics, and Community
Macalester College – Amy Ihlan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy
This philosophy course, in addition to using traditional tools of reading, writing, and discussion, involves students as community volunteers to help them explore issues such as what it means to "do good" or "make a difference," whether civic engagement is essential to a good life and a good society, whether citizens have a moral obligation to "give back" to their communities, and what opportunities exist for meaningful and effective social involvement.


Energy Conversions and Resources
Occidental College – Adrian Hightower, Assistant Professor of Physics
This course, which introduces students to the physics of energy conversion and its application to global energy resources, includes field trips to energy-generating facilities, student assessments of the energy needs, costs, and policies of community partners or of partners' recycling programs and student recommendations for reducing partners' energy costs.

Political Science

Presidential Campaigns and Elections
Macalester College – Julie Dolan, Associate Professor of Political Science
This course uses a combination of academic theory and focused field experiences to expose students to the complexities and inner workings of U.S. presidential elections. Students examine state primaries, caucuses, nominating conventions, and the Electoral College, especially focusing on the 2008 election, and conduct a community education project to share their knowledge with the larger community.

Campaigns and Elections
New England College – Wayne Lesperance, Associate Professor of Political Science
This course combines traditional coursework, which will be focused on candidates, the media, campaign finance, party politics, the internet, and voter turnout, with the opportunity to work on a presidential campaign and also with role-playing, a mock election, and a mock debate.

Disaster Politics: New Orleans in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
Occidental College – Caroline Heldman, Assistant Professor of Politics
This course uses both academic study and on-site participation in the New Orleans recovery effort to introduce students to the politics of disasters, including disaster recovery, federalism, local politics, grassroots politics, activism, race, and public policy through the lens of response to Hurricane Katrina.

Crossing Boundaries, Raising Voices: The History and Politics of Feminist Activism
Wagner College – Patricia Moynagh, Assistant Professor of Government and Politics
This course introduces students to topics in feminist theory, especially contemporary debates. The course also examines feminism in relation to issues raised by African-American, Third World, postcolonial, and poststructuralist thought. In partnership with a history course, students make connections between the history and politics of feminism, leadership, and community, and work in a leadership role with local refugee groups.
In collaboration with Lori Weintrob's History course, "Leadership in the Face of Conflict: Twentieth Century Crises"


Community Psychology
Allegheny College – Elizabeth Weiss Ozorak, Professor of Psychology
With attention to local and national issues, the course is an introduction to the dynamics of how communities function and how citizens can create change for the common good. Students' learning is enhanced by observation of, and participation in, community institutions.

Returning to Hampshire
Hampshire College – Kimberly Chang, Associate Professor of Cultural Psychology
Students returning from international programs or community internships in the U.S. or abroad examine their off-campus learning experiences and their multiple identities/positions within different community and institutional contexts, and then develop and conduct an independent research project based on questions derived from that examination.

Multicultural Psychology
Widener University – Lori Simons, Associate Professor of Psychology
The course introduces students to the principles, theories, and applications of multiculturalism so that they can acquire the necessary competencies for working with children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds. To enhance these competencies, students work as mentors or tutors in public schools and community-based organizations.

Social Work

Generalist Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations
Widener University – Marina Barnett, Associate Professor of Social Work;
Chad Freed, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science

Students in this course develop macro practice skills in social work, including organizing, building relationships with communities, and planning for community and organizational change. To exercise macro practice skills, students work with an Environmental Studies class to conduct an assessment of civic engagement by adults aged 55 and older to create an asset map of civic engagement resources in Chester, PA.


Introduction to Sociology
Bethune-Cookman University – Linda Scola, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Students examine institutions that comprise society, explore how people perceive and relate to the world around them, and investigate ways to apply sociological principles to improve the quality of life in local and global communities. Students elect to take this course in either a standard classroom format or in a separate on-line course.

Social Issues and Problems in the Local Community
Elon University – Angela Lewellyn-Jones, Associate Professor of Social Justice and Department Chair of Sociology and Anthropology;
Pamela Kiser, Professor of Human Services

Students learn to use an interdisciplinary framework, grounded in sociological theory, to discover the interconnections between local, national, and global problems. Students work with local organizations in order to understand specific issues and apply sociological theory and analysis to these problems.

Nonviolent Social Change
Pitzer College – Kathleen S. Yep, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies
This class examines the history, philosophy, and practice of nonviolent social change, drawing on examples from both the U.S. and abroad. Students apply their knowledge by teaching about this form of democratic participation and social change at a juvenile detention center.

The Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of the Genome
Wagner College – John P. Esser, Associate Professor of Sociology;
Ammini Moorthy, Professor of Biology

This course examines scientific concepts and basic research that underlies the decoding of the Human Genome and explores the resulting biomedical revolution that has created a need for answers to questions such as what we can and should do with genomic research and calls into question the way people think about family structure, life expectancy, quality of life, expectations of health and medical care, privacy, the way food is grown, and attitudes toward religion.

Urban Studies

The Crafted City: Art, Urban Regeneration, and the New Cultural Economy
Hampshire College – Myrna Breitbart, Professor of Geography and Urban Studies
This seminar explores the role of aesthetic practices in the politics and redesign of urban space, drawing on case studies of the use of art, culture, branding, and design to address urban economic problems and to contribute to area regeneration. Students work in groups to assist local arts and cultural organizations.

Engaging Urban Homelessness
The New School – Jürgen von Mahs, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies
This course introduces students to the nature and extent of urban homelessness, the root causes of homelessness, and the principal societal and political responses to the problem. Upon placement in homeless service and advocacy organizations, students are encouraged to examine their field experiences critically and to think about creative, innovative, and unconventional ways to address the multifaceted problem of homelessness.


Art of the Essay: Making the Personal Public
New England College – Douglas Haynes, Assistant Professor of Writing
This course explores the different ways that essayists have employed personal reportage and the personal essay to engage with prominent civic issues of their times, particularly related to cultural identity, the environment, social justice, and political action. Students practice immersion journalism, positioning themselves in an area of local civic life, studying techniques for interviews and information-gathering, and considering the ethical questions that arise.