Community Concepts course: developing civic competencies and civic habits

The course uses the pedagogy of service-learning to address a general education requirement in “”Self, Society, and Equality in the U.S.”” which is intended to help students develop civic competencies and civic habits.

Community Concepts is an upper-division course based in the College of Education (EDUC 157) and cross-listed in five other colleges (Applied Sciences and Arts, Engineering, Humanities and Arts, Science, and Social Science). It is intended to provide mutual benefit to both community partners and students. For community partners, it responds to problems and issues which they identify as important, strengthening community resources. For students, its main goal is to enrich students understanding of themselves as citizens in an evolving multicultural society. It enrolls approximately 150 students a year. The course structure includes the following key components:

  • Fifty-two hours of supervised community service to a school or social organization that addresses the needs of an at-risk population.
  • A core reader with articles selected to help students understand their own service roles, the social forces that shape equality and inequality, and strategies for social action.
  • Large-group meetings to engage students in critical reflection through structured exercises with classmates at their own and other service sites
  • Weekly on-site seminars facilitated by community site coordinators to help students link their readings and experiences and to resolve problems.
  • Two papers plus weekly journal entries that require students to analyze their experiences in light of their readings and additional information gathered from individual library and internet research.

Through this course, our institution has created and sustained long-term partnerships with local schools and social service organizations, improved the condition of the community surrounding San Jose State University, and enabled students to encounter and learn from others different from themselves.

Contact person: Dr. Bob Gliner, Acting Faculty Director, Community Service Learning, rvgliner {at} email.sjsu(.)edu

San Jose State University - CA, California
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