Academic Engagement & Community Action

Service Learning Courses

Browse our listing of service learning courses in the following areas:

For full course descriptions, see the current course catalogues for undergraduate and graduate students.

School of Communication

WP 121, Research Writing
Tamera Marko
Project Description: Students will work with multimedia texts created in Medellin, Colombia, as part of the assessment of the Parque Bibliotecas project. Students will archive, edit, and publish the projects into a multimedia book map project that will help people learn about using art as part of the peace process in Medellín, Colombia.

WP 121, Research Writing
: Elizabeth Parfitt
Project Description: Students will have a service experience as part of a greater exploration of the City of Boston, which is the research theme for her course. Boston Cares will facilitate the orientation and so on.

CC 160, Interpersonal Communication Skills
: Rich West
Project Description: Students volunteer with local nonprofits for up to two hours per week across the semester.  While on-site, students practice the interpersonal communication skills they are learning in class, usually in an intercultural and intergenerational setting.

CC 263, Argumentation and Advocacy
Michael Weiler
Project Description: In the past, students in this class have taught debate skills to children at the Boston Renaissance Charter School. These lessons culminated with a large presentation of the final debates at an event at the College. 

CC 266, Conflict and Negotiation:
Varies; Phil Glenn designed the course with the service learning option. Thomas Downard also teaches this course.
Project Description: Students have the option of volunteering with PeaceFirst and keeping a WebCT journal about their experiences and how these experiences relate to concepts they’re learning in class. This is structured as an alternative assignment; students who don’t choose this option do a research paper.

CD 301, Language Acquisition
Belinda Fusté-Herrmann
Project Description: Students volunteer two hours per week working with children ages 2–5 in a low-income preschool setting to observe and assist with language development. Students also observe critical elements of language acquisition theory and incorporate their observations into written assignments combining theory and practice.

MK 354, Writing for Marketing
Jon Boroshok
Project Description: Students will develop marketing communications materials for assigned nonprofits. Materials may include: Organization backgrounder, Elevator Pitch, Electronic newsletter, Public Service Announcement (PSA), Website critique, and online pressroom suggestions. The nonprofit may use or reject materials, while the students come away with elements of a portfolio to supplement other materials they'll develop.

CC 648, Stakeholder Relations and Communication: Public Sector
Project Description:
The client will present a communication "problem" that the students must solve through a strategic plan and communications campaign. The course is about stakeholder communication, so the problem could be related to communication/PR issues with any one group, or it could be an overarching problem affecting relationships with several groups.

School of the Arts

VM 212, History of Western Art III: Modern
Leslie Cormier
Project Description: This course is offered intermittently and therefore does not have a specific project description.

VM 409, Modern Architecture and Design
Leslie Cormier
Description: Students will study urban planning and disaster relief projects, create models or drawings of minimum standard housing, and present their projects to the seminar. The time for this curriculum component is compressed, as it would be in a real disaster or crisis situation, and innovation, found materials, and especially teamwork therefore take on significance.

VM 420, Documentary for Social Action
Bob Nesson
Project Description: Students work in teams to produce 8–10 minute videos for nonprofit organizations. These videos are typically promotional or informational in nature, for use in fundraising, training volunteers/employees, etc.

TH 421: Advanced Acting, Theatre for Young Audiences Tour
Project Description:
This course is offered intermittently and therefore does not have a specific project description.

CC 471, Topics: Voicing Democracy
John Anderson
Project Description: Students worked with residents at Morville House doing an oral history project.

VM 519, Media Ethics and Cultural Diversity
Tom Cooper
Project Description: Students examine a “group” – either a neighborhood or a community in consciousness, examining differences between the group’s perception of itself and the outside perspective of itself fostered by media images.

TH 525, Theatre and Community
Instructor: Robbie McCauley
Description: Students go into communities to create theatre pieces based on the stories of the community members. The experience in the community might form the basis of the creative piece, or the community members might be actively involved in creating the script and delivering the performance.

TH 567, Playwriting For and With Youth
Courtney O’Connor
Project Description: Students partner with local schools to teach playwriting to fourth graders. The program culminates in a weekend retreat, wherein our students help the children write plays and host a performance of the children’s plays.

Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies

IN 134, Local Action/Global Change
Deirdre Conlon, Cynthia Miller
Project Description: This first-year interdisciplinary course is a survey of social issues. Our office assists with the coordination of service experiences and guest speakers. 

IN 200, Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies
Erika Williams
Project Description: Students have the option of completing a minimum of 15 hours of service with an organization that works on gender issues. The service learning assignment also entails a research/reflection paper and a presentation to the class. This is an alternative to a longer research paper.

IN 201, Community Involvement
Deirdre Conlon
Project Description: Students volunteered with youth/youth-serving organizations for two hours per week for the semester. They also produced a publication called “Service Learning Chronicles,” a book that catalogues their experiences and relates them to course concepts.

IN 201, Community Involvement
Cynthia Miller
Project Description: Students volunteer two hours a week in an area related to the course theme. Past themes have included homelessness, HIV/AIDS, youth/education, and immigrants/refugees. 

PH 203 Citizenship and Civic Engagement (formerly American Philosophy and Civic Engagement)
Elizabeth Baeten
Project Description: Students in this course must volunteer about two hours/week with an organization that serves youth OR an organization that works with immigrants and refugees.

IN 346, Action for Community Transformation
Suzanne Hinton
Project Description: ACT offers 1 non-tuition credit hour for a two-hour-per-week community service commitment in addition to participating in weekly workshops and advocacy activities.

IN 370, Women, Media, and Globalization
Melinda Robins
Project Description: Students have the option of volunteering in some capacity that relates to women’s issues and/or globalization. This is an alternative assignment. They must also complete a final reflection paper and presentation.

IN 374, After Life: Culture of Death
Gaynor Blandford
Project Description: This course is a multidisciplinary study of death: funeral practices, the funeral industry, how people cope with death, religious understandings of death, etc. It requires a service learning experience. Some students volunteered at cemeteries; others prepared meals for individuals with life-threatening illnesses.

IN 405, Moving Out/Moving In
Mirta Tocci
Description: Students explore issues of ethnogenesis, the process of becoming American, of moving out of one’s country, culture, self, and into another, through art projects with students in after-school programs.

Carnegie Foundation for Elective Community Engagement Classification Seal

Emerson Receives Community Engagement Classification

Emerson College recognized nationally for its high level of commitment to civic and community engagement.

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The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Seal

Emerson named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

Emerson College once again recognized for reflecting the values of exemplary community service and achieving meaningful outcomes in its community.

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