Spring 2018 Service Learning Classes

Want to take a course that takes you out of the classroom? Want to serve the community while also getting a deeper understanding of the field? Take a Service-Learning course in the Spring!
Read student experiences.

Contact the individual professors or Peggy Carey Best, Director for Service Learning, with any questions. 

Black Middletown Lives: The Future of Middletown’s African American Past (AFAM 307)
Meets Mondays 1:20-4:10.

In this service learning course, students will do hands-on history by uncovering, preserving, and sharing Middletown’s rich African American past. We will focus on the history of the Beman Triangle. This African American neighborhood, now part of Wesleyan’s campus, served as a regional and national antislavery and Underground Railroad center and home to one of the nation’s first handful of independent Black churches. Students will partner with local archives, libraries, and museums to help preserve and share this neighborhood’s remarkable history. Our projects will include building a website and an exhibit to share this history with the Wesleyan and Middletown communities.


Hannah Fritze doing space-themed arts and crafts with kids in the Astronomical Pedagogy Class – fall ’15.

Computational Media: Videogame Design and Development (CIS 250)
Cross-listed with Film and Computer Science. Meets Wednesdays 1:20-4:10 pm.

This course examines the interplay of art and science in the development of contemporary video games using “game tool” applications to achieve a variety of purposes. It combines a detailed understanding of computational media, including legal and commercial aspects, with hands-on experience in the creative process. There will be discussions with invited industry leaders in various subject areas. Students will have the opportunity to work as part of development teams and create working prototypes to understand the challenges and rewards of producing video games in a professional context.



Teaching Music Lessons to Children in Local Schools (MUS 463)
Cross-listed with the Civic Engagement Certificate and the Study of Education Certificate. Meets Mondays 4:15-6:15 pm.

This is a service-learning course. Students will teach private and small-group music lessons to students at Green Street Arts Center and Macdonough School in Middletown. These sessions will be augmented by a weekly classroom session in which readings and the student teachers’ journals will be discussed. Some of the Wesleyan Department of Music’s private lesson instructors will visit to answer questions and guide the student teachers through the issues, musical and extra-musical, that the lessons will raise.


Tessa Hill ’17 and Sophie Breitbart ’16 analyzed five properties in Middletown including the Wesleyan Woods Preserve in the GIS Service-Learning Laboratory, fall ’15.

Research Methods in Ecological-Community Psychology (PSYC 209)
Meets Thursdays 1:20-4:10 pm.

The focus of this course is to introduce the student to the historical and conceptual foundations of ecological and community psychology. Special emphasis will be placed on research ethics and framing research questions that address social problems. Students will learn about study design and mixed-method approaches that will provide a foundation to engage in research and practice.


Ethnography and Design (SISP 245)
Cross-listed with the Center for the Study of Public Life. Meets Wednesdays 1:20-4:10 pm.

Exercising humility and developing methods of meaningful engagement are essential to becoming an effective ethnographer and designer. Collaboration with users provides knowledge that allows designers to imagine artifacts, places, and systems that are thoughtfully enhanced or radically new. This course rethinks power dynamics to better understand how to design both for and with other people. With successful completion of this course students will be able to demonstrate competence in developing, refining, and communicating research interests in a committed, reflexive manner. They will gain an understanding of the strategic and tactical value of design and a sense of the practical problems involved in realizing design solutions and responses that are attuned to the needs of both an institution and individual users. Students will gain experience not only in theoretically framing social and political issues as these are expressed through design, but also in understanding the methodological tools needed to translate problems into creative interventions that are user-centered and compassionate. Students will work with residents at Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) as part of a collaborative research team, and together, student-participant teams will redesign a particular space, artifact, or service that they explore over the course of the semester.

Second Language Pedagogy for Grades 8-12 (SPAN 412/FREN412)

Taught by Professor Ana Perez-Girones. This is a .5 credit course for students who are also registered in a French or Spanish class 215 or above. Students will volunteer in the Middletown Public School’s World Language (WL) program (French and Spanish) at the middle school and high school.  The course will consist of weekly meetings of 75 minutes, during which students will learn to define teaching objectives, to develop oral practice techniques, to identify authentic materials that can work in the classroom, and to develop activities around this material.