How do you integrate making the world a better place into your coursework?
In the classroom, I provide assignments and readings that connect students to real world challenges where they have to develop real world solutions. Examples include:
- A policy class designed around working with a local Anti-Poverty Workgroup to develop policy recommendations to improve issues such as affordable housing, access to affordable childcare, and food stamps. Students worked collaboratively with the Workgroup throughout the semester to develop legislative priorities for the Workgroup.
- One of my favorite class discussions is on the power analysis. Although power is often used to harm vulnerable people, when power is understood it can be harnessed to improve the lives of the vulnerable. The power analysis helps us understand how to assess it and develop a plan of action to change it.
- I incorporate texts such as Jonathan Kozol’s Amazing Grace. These type of texts provide us a window into a world, often in our own backyard, where people are hurting, struggling, and, often times, voiceless and disempowered.