Civic Learning Courses

Each semester we offer a variety of courses that emphasize civic learning and public service, focusing on issues such as poverty, advocacy, community development, gender, health and law.  Course offerings vary from semester to semester but often include:

Poverty in Waco

The course is designed to confront the student with the realities of poverty and change in the Waco community and our responses to it. Through a combination of reading, journaling, volunteerism, simulation, and discussion, the practical dilemmas surrounding poverty will be discussed.

Family Medicine & Community Healthcare

This course works closely with Family Health Center and deals with issues of community health.  Students volunteer in a variety of capacities at FHC (30 hrs.) and hear from a variety of health professionals over the course of the semester. This course aims to expose students to the role of primary care in our community, with particular emphasis on underserved populations, the variety of clinical settings in which primary care is delivered, and the intersection of primary care with other services in the community.  Additionally, students will learn more about the process of medical education and residency training for primary care physicians.

Community Gardening: Growing a Community

In this course students learn the value of community gardens in schools and urban areas.  Through volunteerism, students will learn how community gardens provide fresh produce as well as neighborhood improvement, sense of community and connection to the environment.

Advocacy for Children & Families

This course engages students in becoming informed leaders and community responders, and in becoming advocates for the protection of those affected by child abuse.  Effort will also be made to help students process how churches and religious organizations can engage activity for holistic community change regarding child abuse.  

Helping in Crisis & Abuse

Students in this course discuss the specific impact of how trauma affects individuals and how a ministry of hope increases the likelihood of generating a “new normal” in which a family can survive and thrive.  Students will also engage research based group dynamics that help facilitate a more open approach to helping families in crisis.

Law & Public Service

In addition to one weekly classroom hour focused on the ways the law can be used to serve, students must complete a minimum of 30 volunteer hours. The volunteer requirement may include public service at local legal aid clinics, veteran’s assistance clinics, immigration clinics, and other pro bono organizations.  As part of the 30-hour requirement, a student may elect to participate in up to 10 hours of courtroom observation. 

Community Engagement & Servant Leadership

The course allows students to explore personal strengths, values, and aspirations for influencing the world through a unique vocation or calling. Students learn a variety of perspectives on servant leadership and become familiar with the concept of servant leadership and associated competences, with particular emphasis on service, spirit and leadership. The course engages students in service opportunities that connect coursework with life experience. Students reflect upon the enriching perspectives they are learning through each service opportunity.

Poverty in Developing Countries

The course is designed to confront the student with the realities of poverty and change around the globe and our responses to it. Through a combination of reading, journaling, volunteerism, simulation, and discussion, the practical dilemmas surrounding poverty will be discussed.

Gender & Community

This course intends to foster the development of student-citizens with enhanced gender consciousness.  Through selected readings, guest lectures, class discussions, class preparations, and especially volunteer work, students will develop a familiarity with, an appreciation for, and an ability to interpret and evaluate life experience with an enhanced gender consciousness.  Open to all majors, this course emphasizes the status role of women and men, as they are created and maintained in the community.

Civic Journalism

In this course each student works with a local nonprofit organization to help provide public relations assistance on behalf of the organization.  Students read about service learning throughout the semester and do some blogging of their own about the course and their experiences working in the nonprofit sector.

Habitat for Humanity

In this class, students learn about Habitat for Humanity’s International partnership housing program.  They will also learn basic construction skills through on-site volunteer service.

Community Service & Community Concerns

This course offers students an introduction to community service and the nonprofit sector.  Students will learn to navigate the nonprofit sector and discover opportunities to contribute to their communities according to their own commitments, convictions, and priorities.  Students serve 30 hours with a local nonprofit organization during the semester.

Community Law Enforcement

The course provides students an opportunity to interact with and listen to federal, state, county and municipal government officials and understand how they function. The students are exposed to 12-14 guest lectures from all areas mentioned. The main focus is on management and law enforcement and class discussions are held on hot topics such as racial profiling, use of force, etc. The course involves guest speakers from the following: FBI, secret service, D.E.A., U.S. Marshall office, district attorney office, defense attorneys, state police, municipal police, county police, university police, S.W.A.T. teams and crime scene experts.