All Public Service Fellows must enroll in a required platform course. By completing this course students receive four credit hours and fulfill the second tier of the graduation requirement. In the past, Fellows have had the opportunity to select platform courses in Communications, Social Work, and Latin American Studies.
One goal of the class is to learn what constitutes the concepts of “Social Justice,” “Human Rights,” and “Civic Engagement” and how these concepts have evolved in Western social and political thought as well as how they have been interpreted and applied in the Americas and in New Orleans. Another goal of the class is to understand that social justice has many different meanings in different cultural contexts, and that there are different paths to ending injustice and to defending human rights. Yet another goal of the class is to develop an activist consciousness and the need to transform knowledge of social issues into constructive social engagement.
Civic Engagement and Leadership explores leadership roles in public participation in civic and government decision-making. Students will evaluate democratic principles and citizen engagement. They will develop knowledge of emerging democratic innovations that are helping citizens become agents of change in local and national issues. It is our hope that this course will aid in fostering a life-long commitment to civic engagement, social change and democratic leadership. The course will incorporate a combination of assigned readings, lectures, student-led discussions, and research that will facilitate learning. Some of the topics we will explore include: the role of active citizenship in maintaining a vibrant democracy; social justice and democracy; public action, work, and leadership; civic action as building democracy from the ground up; civic leadership’s role in building democracy; civic leadership and social justice; and everyday democracy building.
Groups and organizations are hallmarks of humanity, the primary instruments through which we achieve collective action. As such, they are important for us to study both as participants and as interested observers. Group and organizational communication analyzes how the actions of people are coordinated and controlled to achieve some collective outcomes; it is also concerned with the way individuals are shaped by their interactions with the groups and organizations around them. So, rather than offer you a set of skills, this seminar will help you learn how communication is key to understanding how groups and organizations work; this sort of understanding can enhance your ability, as a Public Service Fellow, to engage in the work of your resource/discussion group in this seminar as well as your campus or community-based organizations during the semester. Only when we understand how groups and organizations work, and our roles in them as leaders and members, can we attempt to change them and control our own experiences with them. Through the service learning orientation of this course, you will gain hands-on experience in applying what you learn in this seminar about how leadership and communication are key ingredients in understanding how groups and organizations function.
One goal of the class is to learn the different understandings of notions of Service and Citizenship across different national contexts, particularly in Latin America and the United States. Another goal of the class is to learn how these different concepts of Service and Citizenship manifest themselves in systems of education. Yet another goal of the class is to develop an activist consciousness about the purpose of education and to lead students to rethink the social purpose and civic application of knowledge acquired in formal educational systems and settings.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 - Some photos courtesy of the Peace Corps - firstname.lastname@example.org