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Community-Based Learning

Students from the LIFT Program

The College of Arts & Sciences offers students the opportunity to engage with community partners and to develop a strong academic foundation in, and critically reflect on, issues of social justice and the human condition. Keeping with Drexel’s mission of experiential learning and civic engagement, the College offers students the chance to explore these issues through a unique blend of classroom and “real-world” learning.


Course Opportunities Fall 2014

Constitutional Controversies (PSCI 280)

Constitutional Controversies (PSCI 280) is a Side-By-Side Community Based Learning course.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects rights to speech, religious expression, and free associates, but what are --and should be--the limits of those protections? This class, which meets off campus with students incarcerated at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility as part of Drexel's Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, -will use Supreme Court cases to explore enduring tensions over individual freedom and the public interest. Permission of the instructor required; free transportation provided.

Community Partner: Inside-Out/Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Rose Corrigan, PhD, will meet Thursdays from 1-3:50 p.m. at the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility.

Project Footpath (ENVS 280)

Project Footpath (ENVS 280): This course is a multidisciplinary introduction to scientific communication through a community - based learning platform focused around urban ecology. The goals of this course are to develop an understanding of urban ecology, civil planning, and public outreach about science, graphic designs, and social media technology. Over the term, students will plan, design, and potentially implement an informational and engaging walking pathway to connect Drexel's Main Campus with Center City Campus including a segment along the Schuylkill Banks.

Community Partner: City of Philadelphia

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Ted Daeschler, PhD, will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:50 p.m. Location: TBA.

Nonprofit Communication (COM 400/690)

Nonprofit Communication (COM 400/690): All nonprofit organizations must develop and maintain effective communication strategies in order to survive in a competitive economy. Nonprofits have unique needs and limitations in their longterm goals and short-term operations that relate to communication. This course introduces students to the ways nonprofit communicate with both their constituents and their benefactors and the ways researchers have examined these practices. Students will explore these two perspectives on nonprofit communication through a combination of scholarly readings, dialogues with local representatives in the nonprofit sector, and direct contact and work for a local nonprofit organization (as coordinated by the Drexel Center for the Support of Nonprofit Communication).

Community Partner(s): Variable. Past partners have included Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture. Lil Filmmakers, Project for Nuclear Awareness, Norris Square Civic Association, BuildaBridge, Jewish Dialogue Group, Roxborough Development Corporation, Usiloquy Dance Designs, Generocity, U. C. Green, Inc., Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall, AchieveAbility, Green Sanctuary Earth Institute of Pennsylvania.

This 3 credit course will be taught by Lawrence Souder, PhD, and will meet Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:20 p.m. Location: TBD.

Reconsidering our Code - An Ethnography of 33rd Street (CJ 380)

Reconsidering our Code - An Ethnography of 33rd Street (CJ 380): This course utilizes the Side-By-Side Community-Based Learning format to explore the relationship between Drexel students and community students. The CBL format is an evolving set of projects that will create opportunities for dialogue between Drexel, Mantua and Powelton Village community members. The course demonstrates the potential for dynamic collaborations between students and members in the community.

Community Partner: Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships (3509 Spring Garden Street)

This 3 credit course will be taught by Cyndi Rickards and will meet Mondays from 5 to 7:50 p.m.  Location: TBD.

Gleaning, Food Security and Agriculture (Eng 323.001)

Gleaning, Food Security and Agriculture (Eng 323.001): Gleaning is "the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest" (Wikipedia). Students in this course will experience gleaning in the field, as well in films, novels, television shows and historical studies. In addition to the hands-on experience in the fields, the course will focus on gleaning in other ways. We will study and discuss agriculture, food security, and gleaning from a variety of critical perspectives, while examining the cultural context of the works we read. We will tentatively be in the fields on the following days: 9/29, 10/6, 10/13. On those days we will meet in New Jersey, at A.T. Buzby Farm in Woodstown, NJ. There will be transportation from Drexel, leaving at 7:30 AM and returning to Drexel at 1:00 PM. The rest of the time we will meet at the Dornsife Center, 3509 Spring Garden Street.

Community Partner: Philabundance

This 3 credit course will be taught by Eva Thury, PhD, and will meet Mondays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.  Location: Dornslife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.



What Students Are Saying About Community-Based Learning


"As an anthropology major, I gained a great deal of real research experience and learned a great deal about core sociological concepts. The elements found in a community-based learning course taught me about the background of the issues I was working with. While volunteering I was able to see the impact I can make on my community and I had the opportunity to interact with people whom I would never normally be able to talk to. Through these incredible interactions I learned the importance of a symbiotic relationship. As much as I have been helping those in need, they have been helping me. Their knowledge and experience has taught me so much and has made me grow immensely." -- Nora Meighan, '14


"I can't put into words how amazing this course was and how it affected my life as a whole… The way in which the course brought together such a diverse group of people and showed us all that we are all the same, was life-changing. I am forever grateful for the experiences I have had and the people I have met in this class. I will never forget it." -- Student, Talk'n the Walk Course


"Through this course I was able to travel outside of my comfort zone physically and mentally. It enabled me to not only meet community members, but also to get to know each and everyone one of them on a personal level." -- Student, Talk'n the Walk Course


"I loved this class. I enjoyed being of campus and with a diverse group of students." -- Student, Talk'n the Walk Course


"The opportunities offered in community-based learning at Drexel were the most rewarding and significant aspects of my education. They enabled me to get involved with the surrounding community of West Philadelphia and opened my eyes to the hardships that inner-city individuals experience, but they also offered the chance to undertake a more robust social science project that utilized my ethnographic skills. Doing this kind of research made me more excited about anthropological work and gave me a sense of being involved in the discipline. As a result of all of these factors, I will never forget how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to take part in this work." -- Peter Knepper, '11



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