Skip to main content

Community-Based Learning Courses

Spring 2014



Poverty & Culture

B. McNeil
TF, 10:20AM 11:35AM

Four decades after a national “War on Poverty” and countless efforts at local, state, regional, and national levels to combat poverty, why does it persist? Why are there clear, discernible, and persistent patterns in how poverty affects society? This course will take an anthropological approach to these and other questions about poverty in the United States, and how issues within the U.S. affect people around the world. Community-based service-learning is a central component of this course. You must complete a minimum of 20 hours of service with an organization providing a service to a disadvantaged population in the greater DC area.


Latino Community in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area          

M. Campos
T, 05:30PM 08:00PM

This interdisciplinary course explores the growing Latino community of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and its challenges and contributions in a historical context. In addition to classroom experiences, the course uses local community-based organizations as a key resource. Students learn about issues such as immigration and legal rights, affordable housing and gentrification, education, youth gangs, health, employment and day laborers, and other concerns at the forefront of local and national Latino life. All students will work with a nonprofit agency or school serving the Latino community for a minimum of 20 hours.

Mapping Washington D.C. Geographies     

E. Edelman
W, 05:30PM 08:00PM

In this course we reconsider how Washington, D.C., as a city inhabited and traversed by various types of communities and persons, can be visualized and understood in radically different ways. Unlike traditional maps or tourist guides of DC, space and place, belonging, gentrification, race, class, gender and sexuality are central elements to how community members of DC experience their home. Students will work directly with community groups to provide skills learned in this course to create maps of functional use, value, and meaning.

Documentary Storytelling for Social Change            

ANTH-544.001CB/ COMM-564.001CB
N. Shapiro-Perl
T, 02:35PM 05:15PM

Teams of anthropology and communication students produce media projects of direct use to non-profit, community, labor, and social justice organizations. Projects capture the narratives of under-represented people in their own words, using cameras and other digital media, to address pressing issues of health, labor, sexuality, the environment, housing, education, and hunger. Community-based learning is a central part of this course. Students spend ten weeks out of the fifteen-week semester working closely with a social justice organization and capturing on film, the stories of the people that are served by the organization.

Visual Literacy

K. Llerena- W, 08:55AM 11:35AM
K. Brannon-T, 05:30PM 08:00PM
P. Flynn-M, 11:45AM 02:25PM
A. Pinaglia-M, 02:35PM 05:15PM

This course introduces students to ways of understanding visual images in a variety of contexts, including art, photography, film, and performing arts. Students learn about aesthetics, as well as the production aspects of visual images; discover intuitive dimensions of seeing; and analyze the influence of culture on visual symbols and communication. Students will partner with a local non-profit organization throughout the semester, engaging in a Final Project that will result in a visual marketing tool created for the organization that utilizes design, photography, and/or video.

Public Relations Portfolio

G. Puglisi
W, 02:35PM 05:15PM

This course implements the skills, techniques, and strategies learned in previous public relations classes by giving students the opportunity to work with a real-world client. Specific deliverables are met that may include social media campaigns, events, product launches, public service announcements, websites, news releases, and media relations campaigns for clients who may be nonprofits, established organizations, and global entities. Students in the PR Portfolio class work with both the local community nonprofits as well as global organizations.

Service-Learning in Teacher Education

J. Boyd
T, 2:35PM 3:25PM

Students participate in school and community organizations and agencies. Exploration of the principles of service-learning and application of classroom theory in the community. Special attention is paid to providing equitable learning environments. Students must complete a minimum of 40 hours in the community placement and attend three on-campus seminars. May be repeated for credit.

Issues in Women's Health          

A. Richardson
T, 11:45AM 02:25PM

Provides basic understanding of gynecologic anatomy and physiology as well as female health conditions. Emphasis placed on current health research areas such as female cancers, menopause, infertility, lesbian health, minority health, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and sexual dysfunctions. Students develop a personal health plan based upon an extensive family history and personal lifestyle. Throughout the semester you will be required to complete 20 hours of volunteer work for an organization that in some way impacts the overall health of women. You will be required to write a 5-7 page paper sharing your experience.

Washington Initiative   

Times vary according to student schedule

The Washington Initiative is a two (2) credit pass/fail course that is open to Kogod School of Business undergraduate students with at least 30 credits and a grade of B or higher in ACCT-240. Students will be trained to prepare federal and state tax returns for low income individuals through a partnership with Community Tax Aid, Inc. Once tested, students will volunteer at a tax preparation site in DC.

College Writing Seminar

MR, 01:10PM 02:25PM

Called to Serve is a unique College Writing Seminar; in addition to the typical LIT 101 curriculum, students will read rhetoric on volunteerism and community-based engagement and their writing assignments will examine deeper the deeper implications of service work. Students are required to complete at least 12 hours of direct service with 1 of 4 D.C. area non-profits and create a service project with the community with whom they are serving in. Prerequisite: LIT-100 or equivalent. Note: Completion of LIT-100 and LIT-101 with grades of C or better fulfills the university College Writing and English Competency Requirement.

Consulting & Project Management

D. Issi
R, 08:10PM 10:40PM

This course provides critical skills for consulting and project management in business, government, and other organizations. It covers all dimensions of successful management consulting projects, developing and managing client relationships, project definition, building a project team, planning, analytical tools and risk analysis, project politics and communication, and managing ongoing projects.

Marketing for Social Change

S. Grier
T, 05:30PM 08:00PM

This course develops the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to apply fundamental marketing concepts (e.g. customer orientation, segmentation, and positioning) to create beneficial changes in society. Designed for students whose career goals involve working in or with organizations who desire to promote social change, or who are interested in understanding the role and application of marketing beyond commercial gain.

Cross-Cultural Communications

E. Law
T, 08:55AM 11:35PM

Examines the impact of culture on communication, perception, thought patterns, values, and beliefs in order to better understand the behavior of individuals within different societies. Specific concerns include the dynamics of verbal and nonverbal communication; the relationship between dominant cultures and subcultures; ethnic, racial, class and other forms of diversity within countries and organizations; third-culture and multicultural persons; and the dynamics of cross-cultural adjustment. As a Service-Learning Based course, students will be required to work with a local DC community organization during the semester to observe, experience, and analyze how cross-cultural communication is practiced in multicultural settings.

Third World Cities

E. Bratman
TR, 02:35PM 05:15PM

This course sets out to understand and analyze the dimensions and challenges of the rapidly growing cities and mega-cities of the Third World. It gives attention to topics such as poverty, unemployment, housing, water, infrastructure, revenue, health, etc. and attempts to learn lessons from a variety of approaches to urban planning, development, and finance. Attention is also paid to urban challenges in the United States. This course features experiential learning opportunities and community-based learning opportunities as central features of its pedagogical and academic content.


Managing Nonprofit Organizations   

L. Faulk
T, 8:10PM 10:40PM

This course looks at the application of management theories and practices in nonprofit organizations. Establishment and sustainability of nonprofit organizations, strategic management principles, organizational structures and processes, multiple funding sources and their impact on budget decisions, staff/board relationships, human resource practices, use of volunteers, accountability systems, and methods for determining organizational effectiveness.


Hours of Service

In the 2012-2013 academic year, 37,717 hours of service were completed through community-based learning classes on direct service and class based projects.



In the 2012-2013 academic year, 910 students participated in community-based work, connecting their course work with identified community needs.


Community Partners

In the 2012-2013 academic year, AU community-based learning students partnered with 131 different DC area community organizations. 

Past Community-Based Learning Courses

Check out the courses that have been offered in the past to get a sense of what you would like to teach or a course you would like to take in an upcoming semester.

Spring 2014

Fall 2013