What's different about SC courses, projects, and activities?
Scholar-Citizen intensive courses and projects enhance opportunities for students to meaningfully synthesize connections between academic learning and their own experiences (including life experiences) in order to deepen their understanding of fields of study and to broaden their own points of view.
An SC co-curricular event aligns with one or more of the SC student learning outcomes and supports, either directly or indirectly, SC courses and academic projects being offered in a given semester. SC co-curriculars are designed to have a broad impact upon the RU community and are always free, public events.
SC courses and projects are more specifically targeted and are defined by three characteristics:
- they encourage intentional reflective practices,
- they incorporate social pedagogy, and
- they have an experiential dimension.
While many courses, for example, may have one or two of these dimensions, a Scholar-Citizen course is distinct for integrating all three as fundamental practices.
Reflective practices foster students’ ability to make intentional and intellectually informed connections between their academic experiences/knowledge and their own lives. Reflection prompts, for example, are a proven method for encouraging students to “articulate questions, confront bias, examine causality, contrast theory with practice, or point to systemic issues” (Ash and Clayton 2009, p. 27).
Social pedagogy requires students to engage with people beyond and outside themselves and the instructor. Through social learning contexts, “students come to understand the interdependence of self and society, engage in the construction of shared meaning in collaboration with others, and negotiate for shared action that benefits the common good” (College Outcomes Project, http://www.aacu.org/bringing_theory/ documents/CollegeOutcomesProject.doc).
Experiential learning involves active and sustained student interaction with a real-world issue. This might include:
- studying and producing a scholarly product on a pressing social issue that matters to the student;
- applying academic knowledge in a real-world context such as an internship, a service-learning experience, or field experience;
- working with faculty or community members on a community-based research project; or
- integrating some other form of engaged pedagogy such as a study abroad or, in a class room setting, pursuing problem-based learning, case-based learning, or community-based inquiry projects.
For more information or to make an appointment to discuss how an SC course, project or co-curricular might fit in with your program, please contact the SCI Director, Dr. Erin Webster Garrett, at 540-831-7149.