The UA Faculty Fellows in Service-Learning program is a one-year fellowship designed to help faculty create service learning opportunities that promote citizenship, social responsibility, and community engagement. Sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility, the program aims to thoughtfully and intentionally integrate the philosophy, pedagogy, and process of service learning into the UA academic environment.
Fellows participate in three workshops per semester, each focusing on an aspect of service-learning pedagogy. They also receive an enhancement grant to design a new course or modify an existing one to include a service-learning component.
Recent Courses by A&S Faculty
Advanced Grammar & Composition
SP 356 Advanced Grammar & Composition helps students improve their Spanish language skills via traditional grammatical activities, bilingual translation for community non-profits, and reflective essays which hone the knowledge learned through service experiences. Students translate texts for Druid City Garden Project, Good Samaritan Clinic, and Turning Point; these translated texts range from educational materials and clinic patient information forms to brochures and guidelines for victims of domestic violence, helping ensure that Spanish-speaking community members have access to necessary information and services from local non-profits. SP 356 was piloted in Spring 2016 and will be revised for Fall 2016.
Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism
CD 275 Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism promotes undergraduate research while offering students an in-depth look at specific diagnoses and the speech, language, hearing and swallowing consequences of those diagnoses. Through the quality-enhancement initiatives of The University of Alabama’s Speech and Hearing Center, students participate in a retrospective, descriptive analysis to understand the speech, language, hearing and swallowing needs of individuals served by this West Alabama clinic. Their research helps the center better serve these patients.
Anthropology is Elementary: Teaching Anthropology in Primary and Secondary Settings
ANT 450 Anthropology is Elementary: Teaching Anthropology in Primary and Secondary Settings introduces college students to applied anthropology by giving them the opportunity to design and teach curriculum to elementary- and middle-school students. As part of partnerships between The University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools – Elementary and Middle and Arcadia Elementary, Anthropology is Elementary trains graduate and undergraduate students while providing a service to the Tuscaloosa community.
Anthropology, Psychology, & Mental Health
ANT 450 Anthropology, Psychology, & Mental Health helps students learn about mental health by volunteering at two residential mental healthcare facilities in Tuscaloosa—one catering to a wealthier population and the other serving a poorer population. This course provides volunteer efforts to those institutions and the socially isolated populations living there while allowing students to witness firsthand how mental health and healthcare are socially influenced. ANT 450 will be offered in Spring 2017.
Biology of Cancer
BSC 422/522 Biology of Cancer is a cooperative learning experience meant to be an introduction to the biological principals that explain the origins, development, pathology, and treatment of cancer. As part of the course, students engage in service-learning by collecting data on national, state, and county cancer rates and forms for the Tuscaloosa Environmental Digital (TED) website. The class also partners with Black Warrior Riverkeeper to collect water samples from companies that discharge materials into the river and analyze the samples using Mass Spectrometry. Students present data regarding any chemicals/toxins present in the samples to the Black Warrior Riverkeeper and relate data to their assigned cancers. BSC 422/ 522 was piloted in Spring 2016 and will be revised for Spring 2017.
Biology Outreach is being developed as an Honors service-learning course that explores the interplay of race and gender with STEM education access while providing enriching hands-on biology experiences and young adult role models through outreach to local middle school biology classes. The course will be piloted in Fall 2017.
Civil Rights and Social Activism in Alabama
Jennifer Shoaff, Assistant Professor, Gender & Race Studies
Civil Rights and Social Activism in Alabama provides students with historical and ethnographic perspectives of social activism by exploring the Civil Rights Movement and its legacies in Alabama. Utilizing the fertile ground of the surrounding Alabama region, as well as testimonials of community members and activists, the course unpacks an array of social activism strategies in order to give students an understanding of today’s civil rights struggles. Students work with community partners engaged in contemporary activism. The goal of this service is to foster the capacity for students to place scholarly theory and method in conversation with public action, applied practice, personal reflection and community engagement.
Coca-Cola Globalization: Introduction to Environmental History
Bartow Jerome Elmore, Assistant Professor, History
HY 400 Coca-Cola Globalization: Introduction to Environmental History introduces upper-level history students to the practice of creating history, rather than passively surveying the past. Students helped launch the Digital Center for Environmental History (DCEH), an online clearinghouse for scholarship and digital projects related to environmental history. Initiated with the help of Alabama’s Digital Humanities Center (ADHC), DCEH’s first digital creation was the Tuscaloosa Environmental Digital (TED) project, an initiative that maps the environmental history of Tuscaloosa, focusing on the central industries that have operated in the university town over the past fifty years. TED allows students to connect environmental history to real-life problems in their community, offering them a chance to engage in primary research that gives back to the city of Tuscaloosa by exposing serious environmental issues affecting the lives of citizens. Students do this by taking part in air and water quality samples across various locations; these samples become part of the historical record of Tuscaloosa businesses and their environmental footprint.
Cooperation & Conflict: The Politics of Indifference
Kim Colburn, Instructor, New College
NEW 237: Cooperation & Conflict: The Politics of Indifference encourages students to investigate and seek solutions to contemporary social problems. Students investigate issues pertaining to poverty, immigration, and inequality through directed readings, deliberative classroom discussions, and active learning. This course offers undergraduate students the opportunity to address the feeling of inability to create positive change and enables them to find focus through working towards a proactive goal with a community partner. Students will tutor Hispanic children in Tuscaloosa County and help Spanish-speaking parents learning ESL.
Cooperation & Conflict: Arts Workshops (Honors)
NEW 238 Honors Cooperation and Conflict students lead workshops in elementary schools through the organization Arts Renaissance in Tuscaloosa Schools (ARTS). Students hold hour-long workshops at University Place Elementary School in Tuscaloosa and Matthews Elementary School in nearby Northport, Ala. Depending on teachers’ preferences and the activity, a UA group can work with an entire grade in a large space like a lunchroom or with one class at a time. The NEW 238 students work in teams to plan and carry out the workshops, and each team of UA students conducts a workshop at least once a month.
Economics of the Environment and Natural Resources
Ben Woodruff, Instructor, New College
EC 480 Economics of the Environment and Natural Resources surveys techniques used to estimate benefits of environmental improvements and analyzes public policy relating to the environment and use of natural resources. The service-learning component of the class involves collecting supply-and-demand data for food grown in Tuscaloosa County. Students determine how much food can be consistently produced and at what cost. They also find out what consumption levels and prices local eateries can support. The end result is a proposal on how local restaurants can use local food to minimize food miles from farm to table and maximize income for local farms.
Food For Thought: Schoolyard Roots
NEW 211: Food For Thought is an introductory seminar in the humanities on food studies. By the end of the course, students will have a grasp of the current food debates in America today over environmental, socio-cultural, and health impacts on how and what we eat and how our food is produced. They will be better able to discuss how and why food matters. Students will relate these larger debates in contemporary America to their own family food traditions and their personal food choices. They will think through critically and creatively their own relationship to food and what they would ideally like that relationship to be—in terms of personal health, aesthetic pleasure, ethical choice, and consumer impact. Students will gain increased expertise in core humanities and liberal arts critical thinking skills of community engagement, leadership, writing, discussion/debate, analytical reading, creativity, and media literacy.
Forest History and Restoration
GY 409/509 Forest History and Restoration provides information on the theoretical foundation of restoration ecology, tools and techniques used to reconstruct prior ecosystem states, methods to develop restoration targets and monitoring plans and silvicultural prescriptions used to achieve desired future conditions. Students in the Fall 2013 class worked with the Freshwater Land Trust to create a restoration plan for one of its properties, and students in the Spring 2015 course partnered with the Talladega National Forest to prepare an environmental assessment for an upcoming restoration project.
Read about Hart’s courses: Geography students research and restore environmental conditions in Alabama woodlands
Forest Measurement and Analysis
GY 494 Forest Measurement and Analysis provides students with a theoretical foundation and practical experiences in quantifying tree-, stand- and forest-level attributes. Students partner with USDA Forest Service personnel to collect and analyze datasets in the Oakmulgee District of the Talladega National Forest and prepare technical reports for the Forest Service. To successfully complete the course, students must demonstrate proficiency in field sampling and analytical methods used in forest science and management. Students also train under the direction of the Talladega National Forest fire management officer to work with prescribed fire.
Immigration in Contemporary Film
Alvaro Baquero-Pecino, Assistant Professor, Modern Languages & Classics
SP 488 Immigration in Contemporary Film explores the relationship between immigration, film, culture, and society in Spanish-speaking communities through in-depth discussion of representative texts and films, and their historical and political backgrounds. This class is taught as an analytical and interdisciplinary survey of motion pictures as an art form, entertainment industry and communication medium via screenings, lectures, and readings about Latin American and Spanish contemporary films. The objective is for students to learn to watch, interpret and compare films portraying historical, social and political issues and challenges related to immigration in Spanish-speaking communities.
NEW 243 Interdisciplinary Science is based in large part on an interdisciplinary scientific exploration through reading and class discussion as well as on interactive, field-based scientific activities. Students engage in independent water-quality monitoring of the Black Warrior River throughout the semester. They gather, organize and analyze findings and share them through the Scientific American Citizen Science program and with local advocacy groups such as Black Warrior Riverkeeper.
Medical Sociology: Health Care Disparity, Poverty, and Social Justice
SOC 471 Medical Sociology: Health Care Disparity, Poverty and Social Justice addresses patterns of health and illness in modern society. The course covers three fundamental points: how society shapes individual understandings of what it means to be healthy, how people behave when they are ill and how society produces different patterns of health and illness. Students will volunteer with FocusFirst to conduct vision screenings of children at childcare centers in low-income areas.
Music Therapy Practicum
MUS 382 Music Therapy Practicum provides music therapy students supervised experience in facilitating music therapy sessions in local community agencies. This encompasses assessment, program planning, implementation, documentation, and evaluation of music therapy services. Students work closely with local agencies to provide services that enhance the mission statement of the agency as well as feedback regarding the outcomes of their services. A revised version of MUS 382 will be offered in Fall 2016.
Music Therapy Practicum
MUS 282: Music Therapy Practicum offers music therapy students an experience in facilitating music therapy sessions at Caring Days, where students serve older adults with memory problems, as well as the chance to observe other populations in music therapy sessions. Across two semesters of MUS 282, students develop group leadership skills in singing and accompanying with guitar, build a repertoire of appropriate songs, and practice appropriate interaction skills with those served, their families, the staff, classmates, and the professor. MUS 282 was revised for Spring 2017.
Politics of Food Sovereignty & Society
NEW 413 Politics of Food Sovereignty & Society helps students better understand the opportunities and constraints involved in practicing sustainable agriculture. Students participated in four interrelated service-learning projects with different community members. These included 1) helping an heirloom seed bank digitally categorize its inventory, 2) conducting a survey with area gardeners and farmers concerning their interest in saving seeds, 3) learning about sustainable agriculture while working with area farmers, and 4) helping to organize the West Alabama Seed Swap. A revised version of this course was offered in Spring 2016.
Skilled Vision & Latin American Indigeneity
Skilled Vision & Latin American Indigeneity is being developed as a 400-level Spanish study abroad course that will teach students how to develop and apply skilled vision when approaching films on Indigenous cultures from Andean countries in Latin America. By using Indigenous films to train students to identify cinematographic and narrative patterns, discourses, and symbols specific to Indigenous cultures represented on screen, the students will undergo a rehabilitation of their vision, requiring them to strive to see the world through the perspective of Indigenous people. Students will travel to Peru, where they will apply skilled vision while serving an Indigenous audiovisual initiative. The course will be piloted in Spring 2019.
Slash Pine Internship
EN 310: Slash Pine Internship allows students to design and publish poetry chapbooks while also planning innovative art and literary events. Students document and write about their experiences, as well as produce reviews of chapbooks to be published digitally. A revised version of EN 310 was offered in Spring 2017.
Social Justice in Practice
PHL 231 Social Justice in Practice, an optional supplement for students concurrently enrolled in PHL 230 Political Philosophy, gives students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of social justice through regular participation in a community-based project involving disadvantaged and/or marginalized populations. In Political Philosophy, students consider the role that democracy, freedom, rights and equality play in their understanding of a just society. They engage in philosophical debates about immigration, poverty, political participation and socioeconomic inequality. Social Justice in Practice gives students a chance to see those debates playing out in the community.
Read about Nath’s courses: Students apply philosophical theories to their community through service with local organizations
Karina Vazquez, Assistant Professor, Modern Languages & Classics
In SP 353 Spanish Conversation, students acquire communicative skills in Spanish while confronting conflicts and finding responsible paths to solve them. Students discuss different topics (the impact of Alabama’s immigration law, education among the Hispanic community, cultural perspectives on work, marriage and religion, etc.) in order to identify possible cultural and social conflicts. They then reflect on these topics by proposing performances of situations and feasible solutions using a technique called Forum Theater, in which actors pause at crucial moments in the plot and let audience members have a say in what happens. Students perform short, interactive plays in Spanish for Hispanic children and their families at an elementary school in Tuscaloosa County. They then play interactive games with the children and lead small-group discussions in which kids talk about their education and career goals. Students also have designed and led tours of the Alabama Museum of Natural History for the Spanish-speaking community.
Special Topics in Writing: Legal Writing and Advocacy
Lisa Klotz, Instructor, English
EN 310 Special Topics in Writing: Legal Writing and Advocacy teaches students about law through reading and writing, but also through engaging in legal advocacy involving social-justice issues. Students work in partnership with organizations such as Alabama Appleseed, contributing to its Payday Lending Reform project, for example.
The Jazz Mindset and its Application in Non-musical Environments
MUA 167 The Jazz Mindset and its Application in Non-musical Environments brings the creative, innovative, cooperative, collaborative spirit found in jazz music to new areas of study and life. Through lectures, demonstrations by live performers (student and professional ensembles) as well as audio and video recordings, this course focuses on the inner workings of small jazz ensembles, the philosophy of the players as they make music and how these concepts can be applied to areas ranging from leadership and management training to family dynamics and functionality. Two other service-learning courses are also in development: UH 210 Improv in Life (and Work) and UH 210 Leadership Lessons from Jazz.
Watershed Management Plan Development
GY 370 Watershed Management Plan Development is an intensive, three-week interim class that requires students to draft a watershed management plan and/or a source water protection plan for a rural water supply or sub-watershed. Students participate in field programs led by professionals from local and state government agencies and nonprofits. These field programs ensure students collect and compile the data necessary to draft working plans. The preparation of watershed management plans is the first step in managing water resources. Many rural communities lack the necessary funding and expertise to prepare these documents. Water is humanity’s most critical resource, and students perform essential service by assisting communities in protecting their water supplies.
Read about Wallace-Pitts’s course: Students help communities identify water-quality threats and offer solutions