Community service is an integral part of American life. It is often equated with volunteerism of all sorts. However, engaging in service to communities raises complex issues that go beyond teaching a child to read, feeding the homeless, or tutoring English to a newly arrived immigrant. Issues of social justice, including race, class, language, socioeconomic standing, cultural sensitivity and privilege, pervade most activities we associate with community service. Community Service Studies is an interdisciplinary experiential learning program that offers students a context for critically reflecting upon and engaging in service and volunteerism.
The Community Service Studies Minor combines courses from several disciplines that provide a framework for viewing community service from the perspectives of theory, ethics and group dynamics. The curriculum relies heavily upon community-based service learning courses. This form of experiential learning is designed for students interested in developing a deeper understanding and practice of community service either as a prelude to a career after graduation or to enhance their personal sense of social justice as they enter the world of work. In this way, students are provided with the opportunity to integrate progressively deeper and more challenging forms of service and social engagement with more challenging intellectual reflection.