Examples of Faculty Initiatives

Faculty Learning Community (FLC) in Civic Engagement:   This FLC, organized in 2005 and continuing in 2007, explores and advocates the theory and practice of civic engagement at WCU among faculty, staff, and students.  (Members:  Bart Andrus, Leadership; Marsha Lee Baker, English (and FLC facilitator for 07-08); Kathleen Brennan, Sociology; Marie Cochran, Art; John Habel, Psychology; Niall Michelsen, Political Science; Scott Philyaw, History and Mountain Heritage Center.  Membership is, of course, open to any interested faculty member.

Leadership in Civic Engagement (Human Resources 346):   This Fall 2007 course is team-taught by John Habel (Department of Psychology) and Marsha Lee Baker (Department of English).  Students and faculty are working collaboratively as they study methods for leading conversations toward actionable knowledge in civic engagement, and as they prepare a civic engagement project.  It is open to all majors.

PSC 421, Political and Organizational Leadership will be offered in spring 2008 on Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 -12:15. It will be organized as a service learning project for youth --the American Youth Congress. The text will be Peter Northouse, Leadership Theory and Practice , which has been favorably reviewed by students, along with an applied leadership supplement. In addition to studying basic laws of leadership (Principles of leadership), the course will cover things like Path Goal leadership, Transforming Leadership, Leader-Member Exchange, Situational Leadership, and Team Leadership. This course may be an excellent choice for students wanting to develop their leadership skills. This class will help organize an American Youth Congress for youth in North Carolina . Many students with strong interests in service learning have taken this course in the past.

SOC 103 (Human Society) – (Freshman Interest Group: Adventure Sports in the Mountains)

  • A multidisciplinary course (SOC, USI-interdisciplinary, Mountain Heritage Center (MHC) , and Base Camp Cullowhee)
  • Course recipient of the university's Integration of Learning Award (2006)
  • Outdoor class trips as part of the curriculum (rafting, hiking/camping/rock climbing) – Students worked together to accomplish goals in rafts and during rock climbing.  Students interacted with experts in outdoor conservation.
  • Service to the Mountain Heritage Center – Through individual and group participation in outdoor activities in Western North Carolina (WNC), students gathered materials and created personal accounts regarding the adventure sport of their choice.  Students then organized and submitted these materials to the MHC in an effort to help create an MHC webpage dedicated to the outdoor community in WNC, thus creating a bond between the university and the surrounding outdoor community.

SOC 235 (Social Problems)

  • Civic engagement is a core theme of the course.  Students not only learn what engagement is, they also learn that they can personally work on resolving social problems through engagement activities.
  • A group engagement project is a course requirement.  Students work together to identify a social problem of interest, then create and participate in a project addressing that problem.  Students present the project to their classmates at the end of the semester, critiquing it and tying what they have done to the themes of the course.
  • A primary course reading is “Higher Education and the Public Good: The Civic Engagement Imperative,” which addresses the role of university constituents in bettering the communities in which they are imbedded.

Politics and the Park: This Land is Your Land? (2008 May Mini-session)
BIOL 493/593
PSC 493/593
This course will give students an overview of the political and biological issues in the National Parks.  Students will visit both the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  This comparative approach will allow students to see similarities and differences between the parks and to gain an appreciation for the diversity and complexity of the national parks—both as a natural habitat, and as a governmental program.  Visiting the sites is vital to achieving these goals.  We believe that students will learn far more by spending time in the parks, visiting with park stakeholders, and experiencing wildlife, than by reading about it from a classroom in Cullowhee.  This course fits within the goals of the QEP, and the American Democracy Project.  View the flyer.

 

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