Community Engagement Option (Begins Fall 2014)
Arts has partnered with Laurier’s Centre for Community Service-Learning (CCSL) and The Working Centre (TWC) to develop the Community Engagement Option. It took two years of collaborative work to bring about this Option. The CCSL, as their website notes, “integrates meaningful community service with classroom instruction and critical reflection. [It] provides support to students, faculty and community partners to create rich learning experiences and to build a stronger community” (http://www.wlu.ca/homepage.php?grp_id=1934&e=0). TWC for its part is a highly-respected “non-profit, community-based, volunteer inspired venture” in Kitchener that for 30 years has been developing alternative educational initiatives, seeking “to give individuals and groups access to tools and opportunities to become involved in the building of local community projects in Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding areas.” For more details on the types of community projects offered by TWC visit their website (http://www.theworkingcentre.org/).
This Option enables students to learn creatively from TWC’s practical projects and to complement this engagement with thoughtful reflection and discourse.
Other benefits to students?
• Applied, integrated and engaged learning experiences in a community setting, nurturing interdisciplinary thinking and action.
• Opportunities for civic engagement, promoting problem solving and critical thinking skills.
• Learning and service in diverse setting, relationship building and social interaction.
• Exposure to applied learning experiences, increased self-awareness and developed career goals.
• Enhanced skills to become change makers, social entrepreneurs and active citizens in their academic careers and fields of employment.
The required core courses of the Option (AF300, AF301, AF305*) are distinctive in the following ways:
• Teaching and learning is situated primarily in Downtown Kitchener (physically, conceptually, pedagogically), building on the community-based learning of The Working Centre and other community organizations in the downtown cores.
• The courses are rigorously designed and implemented in close consultation with community representatives.
• Each course is structured as follows: sharing of student experience of the topic (community, inclusion, equitable distribution, etc.), presentation of analytical lens on the issue, assigned readings on the topic, reflection on how this issue is explored in TWC activities; discussions and assignments that integrate this learning.
• A significant portion of these courses is co-facilitated by community representatives.
It is expected that students will take the core courses in one academic year: AF300 and AF301 in the Fall term, and AF305* in either the Winter or Spring terms. In other words, the same cohort of students will be taking AF300 and AF301, with roughly half taking AF305* in the Winter term and the other half taking AF305* in the Spring term.
Admission into AF300 will be based on 3rd or 4th year standing in Arts, and by a reflective essay that will be judged by a committee. Note that the bulk of AF300 will take place in the two weeks preceding the start of classes in September.
Electives can be taken at any time in a student’s program. They include the following:
AN241 – City Life and Urban Space
AN237 – Cross-cultural Studies of Change
AN336 – Culture, Power and Politics
AN348 – Space, Place and Culture
GG265 – Urban Spatial Behaviour
GG365 – Canadian Urban Spaces
GG373 – Landscapes and Identities
GG376 – Cultural Heritage Landscapes
GS342 – Civil Society, Social Movements and Globalization
GS441 – Ecological Citizenship
HI285 – Natives and Empires
HI293 – History of Canada Since Confederation
HI320 – Canada Since 1945
HI322 – Social History of Modern Canada
HI344 – Native Peoples of Eastern Canada
HI345 – Native Peoples of Western Canada
NO202 – Narrative, Place and Identity in North America
NO211 – Canadian Identities and Cultures
PO264 – The Practice of Politics in Canada
PO312 – The Politics of Cities and Regions in Canada
PO345 – Canadian Public Policy
PO350 – Theories of Justice
PO432 – Canadian Democracy
PP207 – Ethical Theories
PP223 – Contemporary Moral Issues
RE312 – The Human Life Cycle and Religious Development
RE331 – Religious Diversity in Contemporary Canada
SY210 – Social Inequality
SY218 – Constructions of Deviance
SY224 – Sociology of Work
SY232 – Sociology of Mental Illness
SY322 – Sociology of Health and Illness
SY/AN333 – Human Rights I: Canadian Responsibility
SY410 – Human Rights II: Intellectual Responsibility
WS204 – Women, Gender and Work
WS209 – Women and Leadership
Core Courses: Calendar Descriptions
Prerequisites: Year 3, 4 or 5 Arts registration status, and permission of the Faculty of Arts.
Prerequisites: AF300 and AF301.
What to do if you want to register in the core courses this year?
1) Register for these courses as soon as you’re able in June 2014. Only 35 students will be admitted.
AF300 and AF301 will be linked: you’ll not be able to register in one without registering in the other. If you plan to take AF305* in the Winter term, please also register for that course. If you plan to take it in the Spring term, you’ll have to wait until the Spring registration period. Once registered in AF300 and AF301 you’ll be guaranteed a place in AF305*.
The courses have filters placed on them. When you try to register in them, the system will bump you to the Associate Dean of Arts: Curriculum & Research, Michel Desjardins (firstname.lastname@example.org). He will then override the system and enroll you in those courses. Why have we added this extra step? To ensure that you’re fully aware of the nature of this Option. Once the Associate Dean has enrolled you in those courses (probably the same day the request comes to him) he will also ask you to prepare a 250-word essay that indicates: (a) why you are interested in taking these courses and this Option; (b) the prior experiences you’ve had in community engagement; and (c) your goals for participating in the major Working Centre internship (AF305*).
2) Review the electives for this Option that you’ve already taken, and consider adding others as needed.
3) Please note: AF300 will be taught in 9 full days, including some evenings, starting late August 2014 through to early September 2014 (except Labour Day). Assignments will be done during the Fall term, but most of the course will be completed by the time Fall term rolls around. Enrolment in this course, and the other two, requires a commitment to kick-start the learning process in this way.
4) AF300, as noted above, will be a mix of intensive meetings in Kitchener in late August/early September, with individual consultations to follow throughout the Fall term, and AF305 will be an intensive practicum at the The Working Centre, with suitable times to be arranged for each student.
Any questions? Please do not hesitate to direct them to the Associate Dean, Michel Desjardins (email@example.com)