The following course snapshots represent a sample of all of the service-learning courses offered at VCU. Not all service-learning courses are described here.
AFAM 394: Service-Learning in African-American Health
Contact: Professor Jill Rowe, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in professor Jill Rowe’s AFAM 394 three-credit course learn through service-learning the overview of critical public health issues and intervention strategies that may influence life chances and disease among African-Americans. Students have the opportunity to volunteer their time at the YMCA GirlForce or GuyForce, Changing Lives Through Literature, the VCU Department of African American Studies, or The American Red Cross, Richmond Chapter. This course emphasis on social justice and distributive justice help students apply what they learn within the classroom and at their firsthand experience at the service site and apply that to practical concerns and issues within the community.
BIOL 497: Ecological Outreach
Contact: Professor Edward Crawford, email@example.com
Each student in professor Edward Crawford’s Ecological Outreach one-credit add-on course volunteers at least 20 hours during the semester in a variety of local community partners such as the Science Museum of Virginia, the Audubon Society and the James River Association. Students reflect on the connections between ecological concepts and theories presented in their biology classes with their community service work through three journal papers and a final reflection paper.
BIOL/LFSC 492: Panama Avian Ecology
Contact: Professor Lesley Bulluck, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in professor Lesley Bulluck’s class learn about bird ecology and conservation through a unique blend of rigorous science and community engagement in both Panama and Richmond. In early January, the class travels to Panama, where students learn about birds and mangrove ecosystems by reading and discussing papers and attending lectures, assist in data collection in these systems, and engage with the Panama Audubon Society and local Juan Diaz school children. Back in Richmond, students engage with the Richmond Audubon Society and Richmond area middle school students throughout the spring semester. At the end of the semester students present research findings in a symposium that is open to the public.
CRJS 352: Crime and Delinquency Prevention
Contact: Professor Amy Cook, email@example.com
Students in professor Amy Cook’s innovative course learn about effective strategies for preventing juvenile delinquency and crime. They study proactive prevention models, programs and strategies for 21st Century Policing. Students provide academic tutoring to children and to adults working to earn the GED. They also serve as mentors for elementary school-aged children and youth from low-income families who attend after-school programs. The knowledge gained through this course builds students’ wisdom about crime and delinquency prevention theory, method, and practice in a total systems approach to problem-solving.
CRJS 491: Special Topics in Service-Learning
Contact: Professor Robyn Diehl, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in professor Robyn Diehl’s CRJS 491 one-credit add-on course are concurrently enrolled in her CRJS 191 Justice System Survey course. Students in these courses learn about theories and strategies for preventing juvenile delinquency by promoting better communication and respectful relationships between police officers and youth. Students volunteer throughout the semester as tutors, mentors, coaches and referees for community-based programs that enroll at-risk 9- to 13-year-old inner-city children, and reflect on the connections between their classroom and community-based learning by completing reflection journals and participating in discussion forums.
DENH 437-447: Clinical Dental Hygiene II and III
Contact: Professor Tammy Swecker, email@example.com
Students in professor Tammy Swecker’s DENH 437-447 course further their knowledge of the practice of dental hygiene through community-based clinical experiences with under-served populations. The course prepares students both in the classroom and through service-learning experiences so they can provide community-identified oral health care services. After completing their service-learning clinical rotations, students reflect on their experiences through journal entries that help them further understand the application of course content, the role of dental hygienists in serving under-served populations, the personal impact their service-learning has had on their own personal development and to enhance a sense of the student’s civic responsibility.
FRLG 490/ INTL 493: Foreign Language Internship: New Communities
Contact: Virginia Casanova, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students develop a deep understanding of non-English speaking immigrant populations within the Richmond area through professor Virginia Casanova’s New Communities service-learning internship. New Communities interns work with children who are enrolled in the English as a Second Language program of the Richmond City Public Schools for a total of 75 hours (eight hours/week for 10 weeks). Back in their college classroom, the students learn from a wide variety of expert lecturers who address topics related to immigration from multidisciplinary perspectives. Reflection occurs through weekly journaling written in the target language.
GEOG 303: World Regions
Contact: Professor Helen Ruth Aspaas, email@example.com
Through service-learning experiences in the community, students in professor Helen Ruth Aspaas’ World Regions Geography course gain a clearer understanding of how local and global geography processes relate to each other. Environment, Globalization, Food Security and Immigration are discussed in the context of four world regions. In addition to committing 20 hours of community-based service throughout the semester at organizations such as the Humane Society, Richmond Food Pantries and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, students reflect on the connections between their classroom and community learning by writing short reports and making group presentations.
GRTY 601: Biology and Physiology of Aging
Contact: Professor Tracey Gendron, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in professor Tracey Gendron’s GRTY 601 course develop an understanding of the biological and physiological aspects of human aging by integrating classroom learning with a community-identified project in an organization that serves the aging population. Students participate in a Caregiver Support Program with A Grace Place Adult Care Center as part of the class. Students create reflection journal entries that help them to gain a deeper understanding of the life of both an older adult and a caregiver as well as reflect upon their own personal development throughout the course.
GRTY 602/ PSYC 602: Psychology of Aging
Contact: Professor Ayn Welleford, email@example.com
Graduate students in professor Ayn Welleford’s “Psychology of Aging” course integrate what they are learning in the classroom about personality change and aging with information they gather conducting oral histories with individuals and family members who receive services through the Alzheimer Association of Greater Richmond. The graduate students help to meet a community need by sharing facts learned from the oral histories with the family members and by developing fact sheets that can be shared with health care providers.
GDES 418: Design Center – Service Learning
Contact: Professor John Malinoski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in the Design Center course learn to make the transition from solving hypothetical to actual design problems that address the communication needs of specific clients. Under faculty supervision, the students work in a professional studio setting to develop print media design projects for university clients and non-profit community organizations.
GDES 491: Design Rebels
Contact: Noah Scalin, email@example.com
Students in professor Noah Scalin’s GDES 491-003 course, Design Rebels: Socially Conscious Design in Theory and Practice, work in a group to create a single large-scale community project developed from one or more of final projects proposed by the students midway through the semester. The class starts with a survey of the ethical issues faced by people who choose to be in the graphic design field and discussion of what powers and responsibilities come with the skills they are learning. Students then propose projects that will reach the community beyond the school and address one or more of the issues that have been covered. Students then learn how to work together as a team on a large-scale design project, including working with community partners, developing a calendar, working with a budget, and promoting an event to the media and public at large. They gain practical, personal experience having to carry out their individual components of the final project. Class time is divided between discussions, guest lecturers and group work. Previous community partners have included a local homeless organization, area waste management groups, local farming advocates, and public middle and high schools
HPEX 450: Program Planning and Evaluation
Contact: Professor Joann Richardson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in professor Joann Richardson’s Program Planning and Evaluation course learn the fundamentals of planning, implementing and evaluating community health education programs. Throughout the semester the students observe community health education programs first-hand by volunteering within community organizations that address issues such as cardiovascular health and disease prevention, minority health, reproductive health, and child/adolescent health. Within those organizations, students meet a community need by providing clients with information about health promotion and disease prevention.
HUMS 391: Topics: Mentor and Peer Advising: Cosby High School
Contact: Professor Seth Leibowitz, email@example.com
Students in professor Seth Leibowitz’s course are pre-health majors who serve as mentors/role models for local high school students who are interested in health sciences careers. As mentors, the VCU students conduct high school-level classroom activities, accompany mentees on VCU science lab tours and assist their mentees in researching health sciences careers. Mentors write a reflection paper that integrates their experiences as a mentor with student development/career development theories.
INTL341/RELS 340: Global Ethics and World Religions
Contact: Professors Cindy Kissel-Ito, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Jennifer Garvin-Sanchez,email@example.com
Students in professors Cindy Kissel-Ito and Jennifer Garvin Sanchez’s sections of INTL 341/ RELS 340 think critically about ethical issues that are impacted by globalization and begin to conceptualize global citizenship and social engagement. Students engage in community-service projects that include working in urban youth gardening projects, serving as conversation partners with VCU international students and assisting with the Richmond Community Action Program. Students write reflection field journals and make group presentations about their community-based projects.
MASC 439: Public Relations Campaign
Contact: Professor Yan Jin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in professor Yan Jin’s capstone public relations course work together all semester in a student-run public relations agency to develop a comprehensive public relations campaign for area non-profit organizations who could not afford to hire a for-profit agency. The students meet with their clients, conduct research, create logos, and develop strategies and budgets for their proposed campaign. The semester concludes with a team presentation to the client during which the campaign is unveiled and the client provides feedback to the group.
MEDI 600 M1: Service-Learning in Global Health
Contact: Steven Crossman, M.D., email@example.com
This first-year medical student elective is operated by the VCU School of Medicine in collaboration with the Honduras Outreach Medical Brigada Relief Effort. The class is designed to give beginning medical students firsthand experience in service-learning in the international setting through work in an underserved community in Honduras, Central America. Students receive didactic training in Richmond during April and May, and travel to Central America for approximately two weeks in June. In Central America, students work in teams and have direct involvement with local community leaders who work with the medical teams to prioritize needs and shape the work done by each group. In addition to providing direct medical care to hundreds of patients, students are expected to be involved in various projects that address the broader determinants of health (e.g., water supply, education and nutrition).
PSYC 307/ LFSC 307: Community Solutions Mult Perspect
Contact: Professor Kevin Allison, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students in professor Kevin Allison’s Community Solutions course study the complex nature of social issues from multiple perspectives and identify barriers and supports to the integration of multiple perspectives for community solutions. Students complete weekly service by providing tutoring support at the Fulton Neighborhood Resource Center and at Armstrong High School. They complete four papers, electronic journals and group discussions to integrate classroom learning with their community service experiences.
SOCY 336/ WMNS 336: Violence against Women
Contact: Professor Gay Cutchin, email@example.com
Students in professor Gay Cutchin’s Violence against Women course examine violence against women from a global and local perspective, focusing on violence perpetrated against adult women in the U.S. from both ecological and feminist theoretical perspectives. Each student volunteers a minimum of 20 hours during the semester with a campus or community organization that serve sexual or domestic violence victims and each student completes a community service project journal.
SPTL 635: Leadership Models in Sports SL
Contact: Professor Carrie LeCrom, firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate students in professor Carrie LeCrom’s class develop an understanding of historical, psychological and behavioral models of leadership within sports sociology. Students spend a minimum of 20 hours volunteering within local community sports organizations such as the Special Olympics and Lobs and Lessons, and reflect on the leadership traits that are needed within sports professions.
TEDU 101: Introduction to Teaching, Service-Learning
Contact: Professor Valerie Robnolt, email@example.com
Through this class, first- and second-year undergraduates are introduced to the profession of teaching by assisting within local elementary classrooms for approximately two hours each week. During weekly lectures on campus, students explore current educational reforms and their influences on elementary schools and students. In the community, service-learning activities enable students to gain firsthand experiences in urban elementary classrooms. By participating in school-based activities specifically chosen for the student by the public school educator, principal or course instructor, students obtain real-world experience with concepts and principles being taught in the course; thus, connecting classroom learning and community-based (e.g., school-based) learning. Students have multiple opportunities to reflect on their learning through classroom discussions and bi-weekly reflection papers.
TEDU 500: Service-Learning in Early Childhood Special Education
Contact: Professors Kendell Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Sharon Berg, email@example.com
Students in professors Kendell Lee and Sharon Berg’s Service-Learning in Early Childhood Education course volunteer throughout the semester in a variety of community organizations that serve young children with disabilities. Students learn best practices in early childhood education and are introduced to the professional disciplines that support the development of young children with disabilities. The students work collaboratively with community members to develop projects that benefit the organizations in which they volunteer.
UNIV 111: Focused Inquiry I and UNIV 112: Focused Inquiry II
Contact: James Fueglein, firstname.lastname@example.org
First-year students in the service-learning sections of UNIV 111 and UNIV 112 combine these required core classes with 20 hours of community-based service that relates to the readings and lectures being discussed in class. Community partners have included local free health clinics, historic preservation sites and local nonprofits. Students reflect on the connections between their community service and their classroom-based learning through written papers, blogs, oral presentations and class discussions.