Introduction to Service in Democratic Communities

January 29, 2001

This is a course about people living together in democratic communities and the particular role community service plays in support of those communities. Since the 1960s, community service in a wide variety of settings has become a significant way in which we accomplish public goals. We will examine critically this approach to "public work" and seek to understand how service might be more effective in improving community life. In class, we will bring together your service experience with other course materials around the course's key concepts: service, community, and democratic citizenship.

A glance at the course outline below will show how the course is organized around these three concepts. We will visit each concept three times; each time looking at the concept through the lenses of different study questions. The questions to be addressed at different stages are listed under each topic. In addition to the study questions, you will see a list of readings and activities associated with each topic. These readings and activities, combined with your community service experience, will provide the basis for our discussion and reflection on course concepts.

Central to this course is community service in one of two alternative service sites: Camden Avenue School and Elmhurst Extended Care. Students will be expected to devote from two to four hours each week, throughout the semester, to service at the assigned service site. The exact amount of time depends on the requirements at a particular site. (See service site descriptions.) During the first class, students will hear presentations and will be provided information on the service options. Students will have an opportunity to make known their site preferences prior to service assignments. Every effort will be made to satisfy student preferences, but even distribution between groups may require that a student cannot be assigned to the preferred site. All students are required to attend a general orientation of all students serving in the Public and Community Service Program on Monday, Sept. 13 from 4 – 6 PM. (Dinner will be served!) Site specific orientations will occur the second week of classes.

Students working at a particular site will work with the assistance of a student community assistant from the Feinstein Institute Public Service Corps. The community assistant is a Public and Community Service major or minor who is responsible for coordinating student service at a service site. This community assistant will serve as team leader for your service activity and is responsible for helping you with issues arising from your service activity, including scheduling service hours; acting as a liaison between your service site, this course, and the Feinstein Institute; trouble shooting any problems that may occur; and may lead service reflection/discussion sessions at your site.

Your service experience should be regarded as a course "text" that should be "read" to gain knowledge about course issues. In your studying and class preparation, you will be expected to connect your service experiences to class reading assignments, think about these connections, and be prepared to discuss them in class. Reflection papers and exams will require relating your personal service experience to the questions, concepts, and issues explored in the class.

Democratic Learning Communities
In this course, we will not only study democratic communities – we will try also to model such a community in how the course is conducted. Throughout the semester, the entire class will operate as a learning community. These means that, to the extent feasible, we will study course materials through active participation of all community members rather than through the hierarchical structure of the conventional classroom. This means few formal lectures or presentations by the instructor and mostly discussion and constant student participation. Students and professor alike are responsible for what happens in class and the learning that occurs.

Each member of our community will be expected to demonstrate commitment to our common effort. This means consistent class attendance, meeting ones service commitment, coming to class having studied assigned readings, and a willingness to share your ideas with the community. Along with the service "text", readings are assigned in the outline below from more conventional texts. Because of the extra time commitments required of this course, I have tried to keep reading assignments relatively short. Assignments average to less than seventy pages per week which is quite reasonable for a college course. Note, however, that the reading load is not evenly distributed across the semester. (Approximate pages of reading for each topic in the course outline are indicated below.) Budget your reading time accordingly. I recommend commencing the longer books to be discussed later in the semester (Hilfiker, Ehrenhalt) well before the due date. The Barber- Battistoni reader includes a diskette with study questions for each of the chapters. You should review those questions prior to coming to class.


Benjamin A. Barber and Richard M. Battistoni Education for Democracy (B&B in outline below).
Alan Ehrenhalt The Lost City
?David Hilfiker Not All of Us Are Saints
Course packet of photocopied articles. (Articles from this packet are marked with an * below)

Assignments and Evaluation

Service (20%)
Your service activities will be documented weekly on a service activity chart (distributed the first week of class). Students will "earn" this portion of the grade through submission of a formal grant application for service credits to be submitted on Nov. 30. A request for proposals for this grant process will be distributed early in the semester.

Service Site Learning Group Presentations (10%)
Each group will be graded on the combined quality of their three presentations. I will provide feedback to groups throughout the semester to assist in improvement over the course of the semester. The final group presentation grade will consist of two parts: a group portion based on my evaluation of the presentations as whole and an individual portion based on review of group members' confidential evaluations of their colleagues performance.

Reflective Essays (30%)
Three times during the course of the semester you will be asked to respond to questions in the form of a reflective essay. I will design the structure and determine the questions for the first essay. The class as a whole will design and determine the questions for the second and third (final) essays.

Midterm and Final Exams (40%)
There will be an in-class mid-term and final exam. These essay exams will focus on issues brought up in class readings and discussion, but, as with all material in the course, connections between service, readings, and discussion will be encouraged.


Introduction (pages=10)

Sept. 7 – Tues. Introduction to each other and the course; presentation of service options; small group reflection on choosing site preferences

Sept. 9 – Thurs. Urban walk (wear a comfortable pair of shoes)

Sept. 10 – Fri. Reflection on urban walk: Elmhurst and Smith Hill Fact sheets*
Service site preferences submitted

Sept. 13 Required Feinstein Orientation Session and Dinner 4-6 PM in Function Room

Service I (pages=19)
What is service?
Why do I serve? Motivations? Goals?
Whom do I serve?

Sept. 14 – Tues. Mansfield "The Garden Party" (B&B pp. 5-16)
Service site assignments: orientation visits scheduled

Sept. 16 – Thur. Coles "The Call of Service" (B&B pp.184-191)

Sept. 17 – Fri. Continued discussion: Why serve?

Community I (pages=27)
What is community?

Sept. 21 – Tues. Kemmis "Barn Raising" (B&B pp. 111-120); Kretzmann and McKnight "Communities from…" *

Sept. 23 – Thurs. Service Group presentation #1: Community needs and assets assessment

Sept. 24 – Fri. Moffat "What College Is Really Like" (B&B pp. 509-526)

Democratic Citizenship I (pages=19)
What is democratic citizenship?
What are the connections between service, community, and democracy?

Sept. 28 – Tues. Boyte "Practical Politics" (B&B pp. 173 – 180)

Oct.30 – Thurs. Adams "Civic Cooperation" (B&B pp. 595 – 600)

Oct. 1 – Fri. Rogers Cold Anger I "Moses and Paul" *

First Reflective Essay: Due Oct. 5

Service II (pages=156)
How is service organized?
What is good service?

Oct. 5 – Tues. Non-profit sector overview (no reading assignment)
(Distribution of Service Grant RFP)

Oct. 7- Thurs . McKnight "Why Servanthood is Bad" (B&B pp.459 – 464) King "On Being a Good Neighbor" (B&B pp. 601 – 608)

Oct. 8 – Fri. Neusner "Righteousness, Not Charity" (B&B pp. 201 – 204)
Catechism excerpts: "Charity"; "Social Justice"*

(No Tuesday class this week, Tuesday is Monday at PC)

Oct. 14 – Thurs Hilfiker Chpts. 1-6 pp. 1 – 127

Oct. 15 – Fri. Service group presentation #2: How is service organized at our site?

Community II (pages=185)
Who belongs and who doesn't?
Does community "bond" or "bridge" or both?

Oct. 19 – Tues. Trillin "Drawing the Line" *

Oct. 21 – Thurs. hooks "Representing the Poor" (B&B pp. 301 – 306)
Sacks "The Revolution of the Deaf" (B&B pp. 315 – 330)

Oct 22 – Fri. Pollan "Town Building Is No Mickey Mouse Operation" *
Reich "Secession of the Successful" (B&B pp. 307 – 314)

Oct. 26 – Tues. Ehrenhalt Part I pp. 7 – 88

Oct. 28 – Thurs. Ehrenhalt Part II pp. 89 – 138

Oct 29 – Fri. MIDTERM EXAM

Democratic Citizenship II (pages=64)
What kinds of participation and responsibilities does democratic citizenship require?
How do we learn to be democratic citizens?

Nov. 2 – Tues. Barber "Intro & Three Kinds of Civil Society" *

Nov. 4 – Thurs. Tocqueville "Of the Use Which Americans Make…" (B&B pp. 553 – 558)
Berger and Neuhaus "Mediating Structures…" (B&B pp. 559 – 570)

Nov. 5 – Fri. Putnam "Bowling Alone…" (B&B pp. 571 – 581)
Lemann "Kicking in Groups"*
(Develop second reflective essay question[s]

Second Reflective Essay: Due Nov. 9

Service III (pages=148)
Should I serve?
What does service require of me?

Nov.9 – Tues. Illich "To Hell With Good Intentions" (B&B pp. 453 – 458)

Nov. 11 – Thurs. Fuller "A Theology of Enough" (B&B pp. 194 – 200)
Poplin "No Humanitarian: A Portrait of Mother Teresa" *
Mother Teresa "Words to Love By" (B&B pp. 192 – 193)
"An American Paradox: Jane Addams meets Tolstoy"*

Nov. 12 – Fri. Hilfiker Chpts. 7-13 pp.128 – 258
McKnight "The Backwardness of Prophets" *

Community III (pages=135)
Is community necessarily a good thing?
What is the cost of community?

Nov. 16 – Tues. Rand "The Fountainhead" (B&B pp. 413 – 418)
LeGuin " The Ones Who Walk…." (B&B pp. 423 – 430)

Nov. 18 – Thurs. Ehrenhalt Part III pp. 139 – 192

Nov. 19 – Fri. Ehrenhalt Part IV pp. 193 – 252

Nov. 23 – Tues. Ehrenhalt Part V pp. 253 – 282

Democratic Citizenship III (pages=87)
Can service build democratic communities?

Nov. 30 – Tues. Barber II "A Place for Us: Strong Democratic Civil Society"*
(Deadline for Service Credit Grant Application)

Dec. 2 – Thurs. Barber III "Making Civil Society Real: Practical Strategies"*

Dec. 3 – Fri. Americorps panel

Dec. 7 – Tues. Americorps panel follow-up discussion
Chapman "Politics and National Service: A Virus…" (B&B pp. 465 – 472)

Dec. 9 – Thurs. Service group presentation #3: What our service accomplished

Dec. 10 – Fri. Last class session: concluding reflections
(Develop final reflective essay questions)

Final Exam Reflective Essay: Due Dec. 14 (Deposit in my mailbox – Howley 3rd floor by 4 PM)

Final Exam: Dec. 21 1-3 PM

School: Providence College
Professor: William E. Hudson
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