Fall 2020 Courses in Civic Engagement, Social Change, and the Study of Public Life

Looking for interdisciplinary classes that think outside the box? Want to go beyond theory and understand how academic concepts apply in real-world settings? Take a class with the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life! or Service-Learning! 

You can see all CSPL courses here, and you can check out all Service Learning courses for Fall 2020 here.



CSPL 211 Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Legal Advocacy for Disabled Veterans
Sarah Ryan

The public rarely understands what it takes to fight for one’s legal rights or benefits. Good writers can translate those battles in ways that teach, empower, and (re)build community support for struggling individuals. This course is a study in the translation of legal challenges into civic advocacy.

CSPL 239 Startup Incubator: The Art and Science of Launching Your Idea
Rosemary Ostfeld

The Startup Incubator is a one-semester, experiential learning program designed to teach and enable student entrepreneurs to develop sustainable business models from their ideas.The program will bring together an ambitious, committed, and diverse group of individuals from all classes and majors who are passionate about developing successful solutions to challenges; identify as entrepreneurs, disruptors, and thought leaders; and have the tenacity, work ethic, and ability to succeed. All participating students should have a promising business idea and take the course with the intention of launching or running their own venture.

CSPL 262 Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship
Makaela Kingsley

In this project-based, cohort-style class, students will learn strategies for understanding social and environmental problems, and they will design interventions to create impact. Each student will select a topic to work on individually or as part of a team throughout the semester. Topics will include root cause analysis, ecosystem mapping, theory of change, human-centered design, business models, leadership and teamwork, impact metrics, storytelling, and more. Some students will develop entrepreneurial projects and ventures while others will find pathways to impact as activists, community organizers, coalition builders, artists, researchers, and more.

CSPL 263 Refugees in World Politics
Carla Abdo-Katsipis

The primary objective of this course is to provide students with i) an introductory overview of the political, economic, social, and security determinants of refugee flows; and ii) the political and social responses of receiving governments and societies to them. Using both historical and contemporary case studies, this course will highlight security concerns engendered by internal displacement and transnational migration. These include armed conflict, smuggling, trafficking, and terrorism. This course will also highlight the concepts of citizenship in receiving states, and the roles played by the international institutions in influencing state policies towards refugees.

CSPL 277 Community Impact: Building Capacity to Support Educational Enrichment and Socio-Emotional  Development
Amy Grillo and Clifton Watson

In this half-credit course, students will build an intellectual and practical framework to guide their work in volunteer settings in the local community. What does it mean to “help?” How do we assess the needs of community partners and build the knowledge and skills that will allow us to address those needs? What do we need to know and understand about the people with whom we work? What does research have to say about effective tutoring techniques and practices? How can we design meaningful learning experiences? How can we maximize not only our impact in the community, but our own growth and learning? 
Apply here: https://forms.gle/mGc8HYMKWMwc4L7r8

CSPL 280 & CSPL 281 Nonprofit Boards: Theory and Practice
Clifton Watson

The Nonprofit Board Residency program is a .5 credit course that provides an opportunity for Wesleyan students to learn about the nonprofit sector and work closely with a local nonprofit board of directors. Students will attend board meetings and actively participate in a committee of the board while completing a project identified by the organization. Students will also meet weekly on campus with the instructor, Clifton Watson, director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, for readings and discussions about the nonprofit sector, boards of directors, reflections on the experience and more. This course is POI and students must be willing to commit to the entire year.
Apply here by 4/25: https://forms.gle/uWMZwtfAHa8AaJRt6

CSPL 316 Human Rights Advocacy: Critical Assessment and Practical Engagement in Global Social Justice
Jim Cavallaro

The core animating principles and practices of human rights are under threat. Will the global human rights movement be able to respond effectively? How could or should the movement advance the cause of global social justice most effectively? This seminar seeks to answer these questions by assessing global rights defense and social justice practice and by engaging in structured, self-critical human rights advocacy.

EDST 310 Practicum in Education Studies
Amy Grillo

This seminar is intended to help students develop the skills to learn from experience in educational settings, through rigorous reflection, analysis, scholarly inquiry into educational questions, and action/implementation of new ideas. It is designed for students with previous coursework in education, experience in educational settings, or both. Students will be placed in a variety of educational settings in the community and each student will craft an independent study, with ongoing guidance from the professor and from the group, related to their placement.

ENVS 361 Living in a Polluted World
Johan Varekamp

This course treats the occurrences and origins, natural pathways, toxicologies, and histories of the major environmental contaminants. We all know about lead and its effects on humans, but how about cadmium and hexachromium, or the many unpronounceable organic contaminants, usually referred to by some acronym (e.g., DDT, POPs)? We also deal with the larger topics of CO2/climate change, the environmental nitrogen-oxide balance, and eutrophication of coastal waters (the “dead zones”).

HIST 171 Introduction to History: History of U.S. Social Movements
Kevin Vrevich

This Introduction to History course examines the long history of movements for social change in the United States from the 1830s to the 1970s. Movements we will explore will include abolitionism, women’s rights, the black freedom struggle, modern feminism, and gay liberation. We will focus on the tactics used by social movements to achieve their goals, how social movements related to each other, how social movements changed over time, and how social movements interacted with the broader forces of American society, including politics, race, law, and religion.

PSYC 206 Research Methods in Cognitive Development and Education
Anna Shusterman

This course introduces students to translational research in psychology–research that draws on psychological science to inform practice. The course is built around a central case study, early numeracy in preschool children, with an emphasis on the effects of differences in language input (e.g., deafness). We will cover existing research on cognitive and language development, early numeracy, deaf education, and teaching strategies to understand the relationship between research and practice in these areas.

QAC 381 QAC Praxis Service Learning Lab
Jennifer Rose

As a service learning lab, this course provides students with an opportunity to further develop their abilities to analyze data and apply their knowledge and statistical computing skills as they work closely with nonprofit community partners on data analytic projects. The service component involves providing statistical consulting to community partners by formulating and completing data analytic projects, the results of which may be used to improve services, identify areas requiring increased services and areas in which services can be made more efficient, as well as improving data collection, data reporting, and organizational functioning.