Civic engagement classes integrate course work with collaborative community research and/or other work with community groups. Pedagogies encompass community-based learning, community-based research, internships, and policy research as required or optional components of a course. Courses that have only field trips or academic research are not included in this classification.

Recently Taught Civic Engagement Classes

People and Cultures of Latin America/Olga Gonzalez
Students prepared exhibition materials for Days of the Dead, a holiday celebrated in Mexico and by Latinos living in the United States and Canada. The November holiday focuses on families and friends gathering to remember the dead. Class members worked with Centro to create artistic and other materials for a community cultural gathering.

Darfur: Conflict and Human Rights in Africa/Dianna Shandy
Working in small groups, and collaborating across groups, students worked to maximize a given budget and promote problem solving related to issues in Darfur or for African refugees in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Culture and Globalization/Dianna Shandy
Students completed a website on immigration issues and participated in a public meeting with a Karen community group associated with First Baptist Church in St. Paul.

Senior Seminar/Dianna Shandy
Students worked with Great River School, an urban Minnesota public charter school for junior high and high school students. Class members supported GRS students’ ethnography projects.

Renaissance Art /Kristin Lanzoni
Students presented research on Renaissance artists in a public forum for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) docent volunteers and Macalester faculty. Individual books on each of 11 artists were compiled into one text and presented as a gift to the MIA.

2D Design/Gudron Lock
This class explored a series of two-dimensional projects through which the components of design were introduced and applied. Discussion included the aesthetics and history of modern design, propaganda, and commercial advertising. Students collaborated with a community group to design a 2-D project.

3D Design/Stan Sears
Students explored a series of three-dimensional projects using a basic visual language of line, texture, shape, plane, space, volume, and form. Class participants learned about public art by working with community artists for the Art+Fire Festival on the shores of Lake Pepin in Stockholm, Wisconsin.

Sculpture I/Stan Sears
Sculpture at Macalester includes facilities for casting bronze, carving wood and stone, welding, modeling in clay and plaster mold-making. Students worked with community artists for the Art + Fire Festival in Stockholm, WI.

Sculpture II/Stan Sears
Sculpture at Macalester includes facilities for casting bronze, carving wood and stone, welding, modeling in clay and plaster mold-making. Students worked with community artists for the Art + Fire Festival in Stockholm, WI.

Restoration Ecology/Jerald Dosch
As a class, students worked to restore the Katherine Ordway Natural History Study Area, an ongoing project of the College that seeks to reinvigorate this 17-acre field station.

Immunology/Devavani Chatterjea
The genetic and cellular basis of the immune response was explored through lectures, readings from primary and secondary literature, and discussions. Students completed science projects with Laura Jeffrey Academy, a charter school for grades five through eight.

Studies in Archeology: Dead Sea Scrolls/Nanette Goldman
Students presented to the public and to the Science Museum about their Dead Sea Scroll research. Professor Goldman organized a 5-campus competition of student research, coordinating project selection by a community and campus committee. Class members toured the Science Museum exhibit with an international scholar in the field.

Senior Seminar/Eric Wiertelak
This two-semester seminar provided an integrated view of neuroscience through study and discussion of current works from major sub-areas of the field. Students taught Laura Jeffrey Academy middle school students about the brain.

Biological Paradigms/Devavani Chatterjea
Students completed a health assessment with senior citizens.

Economics of Poverty/Karine Moe
This course used economic theory and empirical research to analyze the causes and potential strategies to overcome poverty and inequality. Students investigated the role of public policy in these issues, completed field trips to and community based learning at nonprofits that address poverty issues, and met with local professionals on issues such as homelessness.

Urban Education/Ruthanne Kurth-Schai
In this first year course, students worked as classroom assistants in K-4 classrooms, and engaged in classroom study around issues of educational parity.

Re-Envisioning Education and Democracy/Ruthanne Kurth-Schai
Students completed community based research on a targeted question related to educational policy. Through interviews in the community and on campus, they developed data that the class used to suggest changes in educational policy.

Education and Social Change/Ruthanne Kurth-Schai
Students considered barriers to and opportunities for systemic, progressive education reform and civic renewal on local, national, and international levels. Each student completed 30 hours of community-based research to analyze specific social issues and reform strategies in addition to conceptualizing plans for social action.

Experiences in Education/Tina Kruse
This course provided opportunities to explore, reflect upon and contribute to life in contemporary urban classrooms. A weekly seminar session, readings, reflective writing, and individual and small group projects complemented the experiential aspects of the course. Students completed 30 hours of tutoring in K-12 classrooms.

Youth Development in a Changing World/Tina Kruse
Students examined a broad spectrum of education, exploring fields of youth development such as social work, counseling, athletics, youth leadership, and youth-centered research. Class members observed and volunteered 30 hours over the course of the semester.

Urban Education in Challenging Times/Ruthanne Kurth-Schai
This Bonner Leaders Program course supported students who were working in St. Paul area schools. Students studied comtemporary challenges and opportunities affecting urban public education on local, state, and national levels.

Justice/Jim Dawes
Students examined texts about and for workers for social justice and participated in community-based learning in local organizations committed to social justice. The class also included a retreat on nonviolent activism and research on nonviolent strategies used by local organizations.

Where the Rivers Gather and Waters Meet: Projects of Writing on Minnesota’s Three Rivers/Wang Ping
This course used the Minnesota, Mississippi, and St. Croix rivers as the sites for field trips, research, and interviews with local communities. Writing projects, all related to the river theme, focused special attention on environmental issues. Students took a 4-day canoe trip on the Minnesota River with the Healthy Nations that provided a foundation for later research, interviews, and writing.

Introduction to Creative Writing/Stephen Healey
This course offered students introductory practice in three genres of creative writing: poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Students submitted at least three pieces of writing for each genre, and then revised some of this work for a final portfolio. The class held a joint coffee hour with the Minnesota Internship Center Charter School for students from both schools to share their writings.

Environmental Leadership Practicum/Christina Manning
This course explored interdisciplinary approaches to environmental leadership by integrating a weekly seminar session and an intensive environmental internship experience. Students worked 8-10 hours per week with an environmental organization or business in the Twin Cities metro area, selecting their internship site from a predetermined range of organizations.

Environmental Leadership Practicum/Roopali Phadke
Students interned in environmental community organizations, with personal reflection as a key component of this experience.

Rivers, Humans, and Environmental Justice /Roopali Phadke and Kelly MacGregor
The class brought in the filmmakers and hosted a public screening/discussion of “Tapped,” a documentary that investigates the bottled water and plastics industries. A second screening brought Highland Park Junior High School students to Macalester to interact and collaborate with Macaelster students and the film’s producer and director.

Environmental Justice/Stephanie Rutherford
Students worked on a toxic tour map of the Twin Cities for use in educating the Macalester campus communities.

Sustainable Development, Global Future/Roopali Phadke
Students researched local organizations that handle international development, working directly with each organization to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses of specific projects. Students also researched and then invested $250 in each of three microfinance organizations.

Science and Citizenship/Roopalis Phadke
In collaboration with The Citizens League, students co-hosted an intergenerational roundtable on What’s for Dinner: 60 Years Around the Supper Table in Minnesota.” a community discussion on food and food policy. Students also designed a toxic tour of the Twin Cities, noting public health issues in neighborhoods. The tour is available for public use.

Senior Seminar/Louisa Brandtmiller and Suzanne Hansen
Students investigated zero waste on- and off-campus policies and practices. Groups analyzed composting, recycling, and life cycle issues (paper, computers, e-waste, and hand dryers) wihtin Macalester and for two outside community partners.

Senior Seminar/Chris Wells
Students researched environmental policies of Macalester as a member of the Twin Cities community.

Senior Seminar/Suzanne Savanick Hansen
Students served as consultants to the Macalester President’s Climate Commitment Committee and completed a carbon audit of Macalester’s campus.

Urban GIS/Laura Smith
This course allowed students to participate in a real world application of their GIS knowledge and skills in a collaborative research project setting. The course included development of the research project, acquisition and use of data in urban analysis, data manipulation, and analytical techniques unique to urban GIS. Students researched spatial mismatches in the Twin Cities between jobs and employment.

* Advanced Geography and Urban GIS/ Holly Barcus
Many neighborhood and community groups, local units of government, and research organizations have begun to implement Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in a wide range of tasks related to research, planning, and management in urban areas.

* Urban Geography Field Seminar/ David Lanegran
A research method course in which students conducted an individual inquiry in one of the following subfields of urban geography: spatial structure of urban areas, spatial interaction, problems of economic localization, and factors in intra-urban residential mobility. Students enrolled in this methods course conducted an individual inquiry into an issue facing the Twin Cities (e.g. foreclosure patterns).

* Cities of the 21st Century/ Daniel Trudeau
In this urban studies capstone seminar students research the internal and external forces that will foster change and reinforce the status quo in American cities and urban society during the 21st century.

* Students in these three courses completed a publicly accessible atlas that will help local communities understand the environmental, economic, social, and cultural implications of metropolitan growth into rural areas.

Urban Social Geography/Daniel Trudeau
In this course, students explored some of the ways in which urban society is organized geographically. Students completed oral history projects in collaboration with the Little Earth Indian community of Minneapolis.

Geographic Information Systems: Concepts and Applications/Holly Barcus
This course provided students with the basic concepts and principles essential in applying geographic information systems (GIS) to practical project development. Topics included data collection, data quality and metadata, data structures, visualization, and spatial analysis and modeling. Students researched recreation areas for the City of St. Paul and in a later semester, completed public scholarship on rivers.

Advanced Cartography, Urban GIS/Laura Smith
This course allowed students to participate in a “real world” application of their GIS knowledge and skills in a collaborative research project setting. Projects focused on urban GIS and questions developed by and for neighborhoods and other community research organizations. In this semester, students partnered with the Folwell Community Council to research North Minneapolis.

Qualitative Research Methods/Dan Trudeau
This course explored the ways in which different qualitative research methods in the social sciences contribute to geographical research. How does using qualitative research methods analyze geographical concepts, such as scale, landscape, and place, and improve our understanding of spatial processes? Students conducted original research, completing ethnographies of local nonprofit organizations.

Rural Landscapes, Livelihoods/Holly Barcus
This course emphasized the linkages between rural and urban environments through the evaluation of land use and community change in rural areas, using watershed boundaries as the spatial unit of analyses. Students were exposed to theoretical and empirical approaches to rural development in different regional contexts, as well as problems associated with these development paradigms. As part of the course, students supported public discussions on rural issues with communities in Wisconsin.

Urban Social Geography/Dan Trudeau
In conjunction with four community organizations, students administered a food survey that addressed issues of food security,

Seminar: Transportation Geography/Laura Smith
Students completed community-based research on issues of transportation.

Rivers, Humans, and Environmental Justice /Roopali Phadke and Kelly MacGregor
The class brought in the filmmakers and hosted a public screening/discussion of “Tapped,” a documentary that investigates the bottled water and plastics industries. A second screening brought Highland Park Junior High School students to Macalester to interact and collaborate with Macalester students and the film’s producer and director.

Locating U.S. Latino Studies/Alicia Munoz
Students studied the interdisciplinary field of contemporary U.S. Latino Studies that has emerged in response to this growing population. Students also learned to describe the main demographic features of the various U.S. Latino communities and compare each group’s unique (im)migration history, settlement patterns, and transnational activities. In this context, students completed community based learning and field trips to community organizations such as Centro, La Conexion, Guadalupe Alternative Programs, and Casa de Esperanza.

Locating U.S. Latino Studies/Galo Gonzalez
The class partnered with Centro, a nonprofit, to engage Latino issues.

Intermediate Spanish/Teresa Mesa Adumoz
Intermediate Spanish extends and deepens awareness and use of linguistic functions in Spanish. This course included formal introduction to the history and culture of Hispanophone countries. Students have worked with Riverview Economic Development Association and the Girl Scouts on a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Additional classes have worked on either Day of the Child or Cinco de Mayo community celebrations.

Spanish in the Workplace/Susan Bianco-Iglesias
This course provided students with a working knowledge of the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures as related to the bilingual workplace in the United States and abroad. With an emphasis placed on such fields as health care and medicine, legal matters, law enforcement, social services, and business, students worked with a variety of community organizations as part of the course discovery process.

Stories of U.S. Latinos/Teresa Mesa Adamuz
The course examined the stories of Latinas/os in the United States as told by themselves. covering such subjects as family, social and economic struggles, individual aspirations and spiritual needs. Students worked with Centro on a digital storytelling project.

Introduction to the Analysis of Latino Texts/Teresa Mesa Adumez and Galo Gonzalez
This course presented students with basic tools for the systematic analysis of a broad range of topics and forms of cultural production (literature, cinema, art) in the Hispanic world. Students completed an oral history project of Latino elders with Centro.

Hispanic Film and Other Media/Teresa Mesa Adamuz
This course viewed feature films, documentaries, and other media from Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. from cultural, political, and linguistic perspectives. Students had the option of completing community-based research projects in collaboration with local Latino organizations.

Public History/Lynn Hudson
Students completed public history projects with organizations such as the Minnesota Historical Society and Lake Street Council, and generated scholarship presentations or displays for public information purposes.

Transnational Origins of the European Welfare System/Aeleah Soine
Students engaged with social welfare organizations to create a public scholarship presentation on central issues.

Advanced Topics Seminar/John Kim
Students worked in teams to create new media for four nonprofit partners, and presented their work at a public scholarship event at the end of the term. Community partners included Juxtaposition Arts, Centro, Patrick’s Cabaret, and FIRE.

Local Media Institutions/Michael Griffith
Students worked with local media, including the Twin Cities Media Alliance, to investigate and analyze current issues affecting media coverage.

Video as Activist Medium/Jenny Lion
This class focused on overtly political possibilities of video as intervention, propaganda, prank, advocacy technique, educational tool, act of witness, and legal or physical defense strategy. Students created a video project in the community as a final project.

Experimental and Artists Video/Jenny Lion
This course integrated history, theory, and practice in a critical examination of experimental and artists’ video as an art form, political tool, and social process. Students gained knowledge about documentary video and social change by partnering with Phillips Community Television.

Comparative Muslim Cultures/Smadar Lavie
The course introduced students to the diversity and heterogeneity of Muslim societies in the Arab World, Europe, Africa, North America, and South and South-East Asia. It traced Islam as a culturally lived experience, spanning from the local to the transnational. The class completed ethnographies of local Muslim organizations and organized a Muslim summit for campus.

Civic Engagement, Ethics, and Community/Amy Ihlan
This course focused on concepts and issues such as the nature of value, duty, right and wrong, the good life, social justice, and applications to selected problems of personal and social behavior. Students took field trips to Twin Cities’ organizations involved in social change issues, completed a voter registration project as a class and another project of their own choice.

Empirical Research Methods/Paru Shah
Students explored strategies and tactics of design, observation, description, and measurement in contemporary political research. Students completed three community-based research projects, investigating church communities’ reaction to light rail transit, surveying restaurants on organic food use, and working with Minnesota 2020 on education issues in the state.

Political Participation/Julie Dolan
Students collaborated with state legislative staff to analyze institutions and procedures such as parties and elections as well as informal activities such as social movements, interest groups, and community action.

Civic Engagement Fellowship/Faculty varies
Advanced students apply for a seven-month fellowship that includes a spring seminar and a funded summer internship. Each student fellow studied democratic engagement in social and organizational change, identified a client (an individual or a public service organization) with whom the student could analyze and address a problem, and then worked with that client on a mutually agreed-upon solution. For example, students completed community mapping for district councils and interned over the summer at various nonprofit organizations

Race, Ethnicity, Politics/Paru Shah
Students completed policy briefs on a variety of topics, contributing the briefs to an online Wiki.

Legislative Politics/Julie Dolan
This course explored legislative politics through a combination of academic theory and focused field experiences. Student internships with state legislators integrated seamlessly into classroom learning.

Clinical and Counseling Psychology/Jaine Strauss
Students completed an optional project that required working with a community organization.

Introduction to Psychology/Mary Gustafson
Class members mentored 7th-grade students at Ramsey Junior High School and wrote two papers reflecting on the experience through the lens of psychology.

Distress,Dysfunction,Disorder/Jaine Strauss
Students had the option to complete 20 hours of service at a community partner and write a culminating paper.

Children, Families, and Social Policy/Arturo Sesma
Students examined how social policies (both formal, such as foster care, and informal, such as the popular media) influence children and families. This term, students investigated social policy issues within nonprofit organizations

Studies in Archeology: Dead Sea Scrolls/Nanette Goldman
Students presented to the public and to the Science Museum about their Dead Sea Scroll research. Professor Goldman organized a 5-campus competition of student research, coordinating project selection by a community and campus committee. Class members toured the Science Museum exhibit with an international scholar in the field.

Interpretive Social Science Research/Mahnaz Kousha
This class introduced students to the methodologies and analytic techniques of fieldwork and ethnography: participant observation, interviewing, and the use of documents. Students had the option of completing a community service-learning or action-research project.

Hip Hop Performance/Harry Waters, Jr.
Students collaborated in hip hop performance, artist guest lectures and work with community theaters.

Performing Feminisms/Lara Nielsen
This course focused on playwrighting, directing and performance strategies of 20th and 21st century women, in mostly the U.S. context, who have used the stage as a dynamic site of collaboration and innovation. Assignments included a research project on a woman artist not represented on the syllabus, and an original collective performance project The class also connected with the Imagining America Conference.

African American Theater/Harry Waters, Jr.
Students met with the founder and two actors of Penumbra Theater, observed performances, and supported the promotions and community communications of the theater

Community-based Theater/Harry Waters, Jr.
Students investigated the theories, practices, and processes of several organizations around the United States. The class culminated with a communal performance with Heart of the Beast Theater to develop programming for a May Day celebration.

Oral History/Lara Nielsen
Students explored community-engaged theater by creating performances based on oral histories and ethnographies with community members.

Race, Sex, and Work in the Global Economy/Corrie Hammers
Students had the option of working with local nonprofit groups.

Senior Seminar: Linking Theory and Practice/Sonita Sarker
Students analyzed economic, political, cultural, and literary theories and practices, socialism, capitalism, democracy, nationalism, grassroots movements, diaspora, (sur)realism, and how theories and practices affect each other in the works of writers. Students were encouraged to have an affiliation, membership, or internship in a group of students or community workers during the course and were required to work with a community organization.