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.
Culture of Poverty (SOC 380)
Culture of Poverty: Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate of the nation’s 10 largest cities—approximately 28% of its citizens live below the federal poverty line. This course examines, analyzes, re-visits and engages with the historically contested concept, “culture of poverty.” Through weekly seminars, reading, discussion, debate and a civic engagement service-learning experience at a local community-based organization (LIFT), students will have an opportunity to examine poverty at macro and micro levels in deeply personal ways. This course will address themes such as: theories of volunteerism and service-learning; global and local poverty; myths and realities of poverty; historical perspectives of urban poverty; poverty and neoliberal governance; macroforces that shape poverty; the individual, culture and society; poverty and age, gender, race and ethnicity; and new directions in examining inequality and poverty in 21st century communities. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Marilyn Musket, is open to all students and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00pm – 3:20pm. All students who enroll in this course are required to participate in an organizational orientation and volunteer training session prior to engaging in the field with Drexel’s partner organization for this course.
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL LIFE (WRIT 304)
A Beautiful Life: Many people are scared of death. However, the last days of someone’s life are really a time to celebrate that life. In this hybrid, community-based learning course, student pairs will join together to create a video documentary and Life Journal book to help a hospice patient pass down their life experiences to their family and loved ones. Participants will show the patients that what they’ve done really matters, while learning how much their own lives matter as well. Student will be required to meet with their hospice partner in area hospice or home once per week for interview material. To register, contact Ken Bingham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONCE UPON A LIFETIME (CIVC 299)
Once Upon a Lifetime: This is a writing-intensive course in which students create memoirs with senior partners in our community. What parts of your life would you like to capture and share in a space that encourages you to recall important moments, days, and weeks? Each student, young and old, will engage in telling their story of a lifetime so far, reading from a course packet of memoir and creating memoir of their own. This class will be built on individual and collaborative efforts among the students. It will culminate, after ten weeks, in a student-written anthology of life stories and a closing ceremony. The structure of the class promotes civic engagement with senior citizens who - able to communicate and engage - reside within walking distance of Drexel's University City campus. Note that this is not a community service or a charity project; it is a class built upon the idea that these two generations have much to learn from sharing and writing about their lives, and that their preconceptions about each other can be left at the door. This 3 credit course will meet Thursdays from 9am to Noon. Location: Mantua Apartments at 34th and Haverford Avenues, 6th floor
For more information, please contact Cassandra Hirsch at email@example.com.
SECONDARY EDUCATION MATH ENRICHMENT (MATH 279)
Secondary Education Math Enrichment: As a community based learning course, students will spend half of the class time working with students in a partnering middle/high school teaching these same topics in small groups. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Dimitrios Papadopoulos, meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:50pm.
Nonprofit Communication (COM 690/400)
Nonprofit Communication: 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 long-term goals and short-term operations that relate to communication. This course introduces students to the ways nonprofits 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). This 3.0 credit course, taught by Lawrence Souder, PhD, is open to all students and will meet Thursdays, 6:30pm- 9:20pm. Location TBD.
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