Community-based Learning and Action
The purpose of this course is to engage "big questions" and issues through community-based learning. The course is designed as a laboratory for students to identify and articulate their own values, commitments, and gifts and to deepen their understanding of local and global initiatives that foster social justice, innovation and environmental sustainability. Joining theory and practice, we explore practices that range from bearing witness and loving kindness to social entrepreneurship, storytelling, service-learning and political participation. We extend the classroom into the community through field trips and partnerships with local community groups and invite scholars, activists and community leaders from diverse locations into the classroom. Assignments are designed to cultivate inner resources such as curiosity, courage, and resilience and to enhance knowledge and skills to address real-world challenges. While the topics may vary by semester, class projects aim for reciprocity, maximizing the potential for student learning and benefitting local communities.
Supplementary Course Description
We begin by laying the foundation for a classroom commons, a communal space for dialogue, deliberation and action. As the semester unfolds, we will invite conversation partners from the community into the classroom and will hit the road, traveling to places nearby such as Denver Urban Gardens, The Gathering Place, the Same Café (Denver) and Stonebridge Farms (Lyons). Topics range from food insecurity and justice to sustainability and the principles and practice of “living democracy.” The course is designed to provide structured community-based learning experiences that emphasize “learning service” and “service with” rather than “service for” others.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completing this course, students will be able to—
- Cultivate self-awareness of your thoughts, feelings, values, attitudes, and commitments
- Identify and describe significant persons and events in your life that have helped shape your sense of personal and social responsibility, empowerment, and leadership
- Identify and explain your core values, commitments, and strengths and present them to others
- Identify your “big questions” and describe insights, experiential learning, and/or conceptual learning from COR 220 that address your questions
- Cultivate curiosity in the presence of difference, noticing how you respond to people whose identities, life experiences, and/or worldviews differ from your own; practice deep listening, open-hearted, nonjudgmental attention and examine barriers as they arise
- Observe community leaders and social innovators in action, reflect on their purposes, commitments, and methods—Describe what you learned and how it applies to your discipline, current work, and/or future goals
- Participate in the creation of a learning community, building relationships with classmates and community partners toward common goals; analyze inner, interpersonal, and structural obstacles as they arise
- Evaluate your personal choices and actions in the context of the Great Turning; identify inner resources, friends, community partners, spiritual communities, and/or local-to-global social movements with whom you may partner to address the big questions and issues that call you to action
- Build an ePortfolio that includes both exploratory writing as well as polished writing that can be shared with audiences beyond the classroom