Community Learning Initiative

Coordinator: Associate Professor Carol Clark (Economics)

Community learning (CLI) at Trinity is a form of experiential education—an academic course in which the faculty member partners with a person or group from the local community to involve students in an experience outside the classroom. The learning is reciprocal, as the students and community residents share knowledge, activities, and research. Many academic departments offer CLI courses, and about half of our students participate in at least one before they graduate. The list below illustrates the range of recently taught CLI courses.

EDUC 200. Analyzing Schools—This course introduces the study of schooling within an interdisciplinary framework. Drawing upon sociology, we investigate the resources, structures, and social contexts which influence student opportunities and outcomes in the United States and other countries. Drawing upon psychology, we contrast theories of learning, both in the abstract and in practice. Drawing upon philosophy, we examine competing educational goals and their underlying assumptions regarding human nature, justice, and democracy. In addition, a community learning component, where students observe and participate in nearby K-12 classrooms for three hours per week, will be integrated with course readings and written assignments.

ENVS 275. Methods in Environmental Science—A field-oriented, problem-based course covering data collection and analysis methods commonly used to conduct environmental assessments and to solve environmental problems. This course includes methods for risk assessment, land management and land use history determination, habitat analysis, bio-monitoring, soil composition analysis, soil and water chemistry analysis, and GIS mapping. A strong emphasis is placed upon research design, data manipulation, and statistical analysis. As a culminating exercise, students in the course prepare a final report that integrates all the topics and techniques learned throughout the course and that addresses the focal problem.

ISP 117. The Process of Discovery—This first-year seminar introduces broad scientific ideas that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. This course will examine the scientific process from the initial concept to the published result. We will examine disciplinary differences in how discoveries are made and how research is done. We will also explore writing and reporting styles and special topics such as scientific ethics and funding of research.

POLS 355. Urban Politics—This course will use the issues, institutions, and personalities of the metropolitan area of Hartford to study political power, who has it, and who wants it. Particular attention will be given to the forms of local government, types of communities, and the policies of urban institutions. Guest speakers will be used to assist each student in preparing a monograph on a local political system.

PSYC 295. Child Development—A survey of the biological, cognitive, and social factors that influence the process of development. The course will focus on both theoretical and empirical issues in child development and will include topics such as attachment, language, condition, and socialization. The course will highlight how cultural factors, especially for children growing up in urban environments, influence both the manner and the end result of the developmental process. The optional laboratory introduces students to the major scientific methods of observation, interviews, and experimentation that are used to study important developmental questions in the areas of language, memory and concept development, sex-role stereotyping, prosocial development and play. (1.25 course credits with optional laboratory)

THDN 270. Arts in Action: Moving into the Community—In this course we will examine the way the arts in general and movement in particular both engage a community and are engaged in the community. Using Hartford and the region as a field for our inquiry, we will look at the role the arts play in contributing to the overall health of a community with a particular focus on schools for at-risk youth, correctional institutions, homes for the elderly, specialized magnet schools, after-school programming and performance that utilizes the community as a generative resource. In addition to readings, films, guest speakers and discussions, there will be applied observation and study in the city of Hartford and beyond.

URST 206. Organizing by Neighborhood: An Internship/Seminar Experience—This is a special program designed for those students who want to be involved in and learn about community organizing, in addition to working as an intern in a Hartford neighborhood.

Fall Term

Spring Term