Community-Based Learning Recent Examples

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During fall 2008, students in Dr. Mary Weaks-Baxter’s section of Rhetoric 101 worked with 5th grade students at West View Elementary School in Rockford on several writing assignments. According to the 5th grade teacher, working with Rockford University students inspired his students to think more about the importance of education and to aim for a future that includes a university.
In the spring semester (2007), students in Dr. Strickler’s new Quantum Writing course on environmental rhetoric worked with community experts under the guidance of Don Miller from Severson Dells Nature Center to study the competing rhetorics of urban sprawl in our local community. Students have already begun researching and videoing different rhetorical perspectives on the issue. Their work will set the stage for students in Rhetoric 353 next semester who will continue the documentary project on environmental rhetoric.

In the fall semester (2006), students in Dr. Breyan Strickler’s Advanced Rhetoric of healing class--along with help from Rockford University's Spanish Club and Alpha Helix--worked with Crusader Clinic in their efforts to host the Hispanic Summit, an event promoting the resources that the City of Rockford offers to its Hispanic community. Students in the rhetoric class created flyers and brochures targeting specific audiences and studied the ways in which rhetorics of healing differ across cultures.

Students from Professor Sharpe's fall 2006 Adolescent Development class mentored teen moms through the Winnebago County health Departments H.U.G.S. program. The RC students supported the teen mom's in developing goals and researching topics empowering the moms to apply for a "In Youth We Trust Grant". RC student support enabled the moms to secure a $2500 grant that will provide programs teaching mothers and their teen daughters to communicate about critical issues in the lives of their daughters.

In Professor Masoud Moallem’s Economics 101 course, Principles of Microeconomics, the university students tutored fifth grade pupils on their reading/math skills using economic and business related books. In the process of teaching others, our students learn how to master course concepts for themselves.

During the Spring/Summer 2005 semesters, Social Action in London with a community-based learning component was taught by Dr. Catherine Forslund. The course was a comparative examination of the U.S. progressive and the British settlement house movements of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Through the study of figures like Jane Addams and Samuel Barnett, students explored the social conditions that necessitated these social movements on both sides of the Atlantic as well as learning about the connections between the two movements and the solutions both offered for the societies of their times.

As part of the CBL component for the class, students wrote a history of The Carpenter's Place which is a day-service provider for the homeless in Rockford. At the end of the course there was a two week visit to London with an additional CBL experience at Toynbee Hall, a leading settlement house of the British movement under study. This second CBL experience gave students excellent connections to the scholarly material studied during the Spring semester of coursework.

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