BIOL 315: Infectious Disease and Public Health
This course focuses on the pathophysiology of select infectious diseases and their associated public health issues. Students will be introduced to the types of pathogens that cause infectious diseases, the modes through which they are transmitted, and how they are combated by the immune system as well as basic epidemiological concepts and public health measures. Legal and ethical issues that arise out of public health policies directed towards combating infectious diseases will be addressed including compulsory vaccination, antibiotic resistance, bioterrorism, poverty, global warming, forced quarantine, and pandemic preparation. When possible, case studies, historical events, and recent newspaper articles are used to support student engagement and understanding of material. In the laboratory component, students will design and carry out a vaccination strategy in mice and then apply their experimental findings to develop a public health policy for combating a particular infectious disease.
Past service learning projected involved students with the non-profit organization “The Faces of Hope”, whose mission is to prevent and eliminate childhood obesity. In groups, students designed and presented a workshop to children and their families focused on a particular co-morbidity of obesity (i.e. additional health consequences of obesity, like hypertension, type II diabetes, sleep apnea, depression, Blount disease, etc.). The presentation should, in very plain terms, addressed how obesity leads to the co-morbidity, explained long-term consequences of the co-morbidity, and what children and their families could do to reduce risk of the co-morbidity. In groups, students shadowed a Faces of Hope staff person/volunteer during a workshop/presentation before presenting their own workshop. Students designed and executed a fund-raising idea to assist the organization with needed donations. Finally, students analyzed data regarding the demographics of participants in the program and attempted to quantify the program’s effectiveness over the last two years.
CSCI 181 Computer Service Learning in Haiti
This course is an opportunity to enhance your computing and teaching skills and use them to teach computer concepts to and develop the computing skills of Haitian students. During the pre-trip, on-campus portion of the course you will receive “hands-on” instruction on the planned activities and how to use a visual programming language such as Scratch. Computer Science Unplugged materials to teach computer concepts may also be used. We will discuss and practice how to use the selected tools to present the material most effectively. While in Haiti you will also have the opportunity to experience many aspects of Haitian life and culture. Three hours. Prerequisites: none. Note: This course will not count toward the Computer Science major or minor. Link to a video from 2008 of our students teaching Computer Science Unplugged activities. http://vimeo.com/17530854
EDUC 102: R.E.A.L.- Real Experiences/Authentic Learning
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an experiential learning opportunity in the field of reading/language arts while providing community service. We have offered this course in conjunction with Henry Clay Elementary School since 2008 and its framework has gone from book club, reading olympics, reading fluency and writing.
Service learning is the backbone of the Environmental Studies Program curriculum. The service-learning takes place in three environmental problem-solving courses. Real clients give students real environmental problems to solve. The work students do to solve the problems provides service to the community, government agencies, businesses, non-profit organization, not to mention the environment and its inhabitants.
Students tackle their first environmental problem in their freshman or sophomore year to learn the process involved in solving environmental problems. Because no one person can know everything needed to know to solve complicated environmental problems, students then get expertise in a specific discipline (in any area of humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences) that they then bring to their Junior- and Senior-level environmental problem-solving courses. In those courses, students use their newly-acquired expertise to solve more complex problems in interdisciplinary teams. Because seniors and juniors take the upper-level problem-solving courses together, and because seniors by that time have solved two problems, the seniors mentor the juniors through the process. These courses make a real difference in the world.
Some examples of environmental problems students have solved include:
- Locating sources of E. coli bacteria in the Mechumps Creek and Stony Run watersheds (two watersheds that drain to the Chesapeake Bay); client – Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
- Developing a conservation and restoration plan for the endangered Atlantic sturgeon; client – James River Association
- Creating and expanding a Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act overlay map to identify and protect lands within that affect the overall health of Chesapeake Bay; client - Caroline County, Virginia
- Preventing beach erosion and protecting homes and the environment in the Chesapeake Bay; client – Mosquito Point Homeowners Association and Ms. Betty
- Assessing the impact of dams and corporate activities on water quality, habitat and aquatic life in the Jackson River, MeadWestvaco Corporation
For more information: http://www.rmc.edu/Academics/environmental-studies/Projects.aspx
COMM334: Leadership Communication
Students work with real “clients” in the community who have real challenges that they are attempting to address. The students work in consulting groups and are taught leadership theory, change theory, and consulting modeling. Throughout the course they work with the client’s real problem. The final is the students’ group presentation to the client of a feasible solution that we hope the client can use.
PSCI 385 - Social Entrepreneurship
This class currently includes a reflection/research paper in which students identify and undertake a 3-hour service commitment outside of class. In the paper, they are supposed to present some background to the appropriate social problem, reflect on their service experience (which should involve some direct experience with the social problem), and briefly speculate on how principles of social entrepreneurship might change the social problem's dynamics.
As a final project for the course, students create a business plan for a social enterprise. My hope is in the future that, either as part of the class or as an extension of it, students are given an opportunity to launch their ventures. I don't have enough resources yet to make that happen.
SOCI 228: Disabilities in America
Students meet with the local Hanover ARC (adults with profound disabilities), utilizing a role valorization framework to work collaboratively on projects and build relationships that challenge stereotypes. The students receive part of their academic credit as a result of doing this, but almost always report in evaluations that it is very impactful in tandem with the disability-related content of the course. Some students select the course because they are interested in a career working with the disabled, and this course and service-learning project is designed to encourage that type of interest.
SOCI 250: Human Rights in the Global Village
This service-learning course provides students the opportunity to make affordable housing a possibility for those in need while introducing students to the sociology of human rights through an examination of the historical, social, environmental and cultural sources of poverty and suffering using a human rights framework. The materials covered will include a discussion on the social issues surrounding suffering and human rights concerns in the host country, strategies employed for mobilization and advocacy, and a review of human rights theoretical frameworks. Although it offers a sociological approach to human rights, the course does not presuppose prior knowledge of sociology. Students from all disciplinary backgrounds are welcome. The course will include two weeks of class meetings at RMC and a two-week international service trip arranged through the Habitat for Humanity Global Village Program. On-site excursions will include various cultural experiences events appropriate to our location within the host country.
SOCI 320: Aging and the Life Course
This service learning seminar course will examine these processes of aging as they affect individuals, families, cohorts, and societies and how the aging process is affected by psychological, historical, political, economic, and cultural factors. Students explore the dynamic interactions between people and their environments, and the ways in which society's beliefs, values, and attitudes are reflected in the aging experience. Special attention is given to the impact of social policy on the lives of older individuals focusing on how racial, ethnic, class, and gender differences shape the nature of health and human service policy and delivery on behalf of older persons.
SOCI 381: Refugees and Transnational Migration
This course incorporates service learning and community collaboration by matching students with opportunities for civic engagement. Randolph-Macon students, in conjunction with Catholic Relief Services, work as mentors, ESL (English as a Second Language) instructors and tutors as they assist recently arrived refugees in integrating to the United States. The course includes content on immigration and refugees and applied sociological and anthropological field methods such as participant observation, field notes and critical analysis.
SOCI 383: How We Move People
This course examines how we move each other through the lens of social movement theories that investigate the origins, sustenance, and nature of social movements such as local, national, and global efforts against inequality, racism, the abuse of native peoples, sexism, the abuse of corporate power, and war. Students, working with social movements and activists in the area, design and carry out semester long projects within their area of interest.
SPAN 236: Service-Learning in Spanish
This course offers intensive practice in conversational Spanish through the study of current issues relating to Latinos in the U.S. and a service-learning component. Students will explore issues in Latino immigration, politics, linguistics, and culture through authentic print and film media and will participate in community placements speaking Spanish and working with the Latino communities of Ashland and Richmond.
SPAN 381: Special Topics: Central American Culture & Civilization
Study of the culture and civilization of Central America from a variety of viewpoints: historical, literary, sociological, anthropological, and political. Extensive use of audiovisual materials. Home stay and service-learning component while abroad. More information about that course in Costa Rica: http://www.rmc.edu/News/12-03-12-J-term-in-Costa-Rica.aspx