Each school in The New School for Public Engagement offers its students opportunities to practice civic engagement in ways that not only complement their scholarship, but make it impactful and transformative. In a sense, The New School for Public Engagement is in the business of matchmaking: helping students find a perfect match between the skills they are acquiring in school, and the issues that require solutions in the world around them. Below is a sampling of courses and co-curricular programs designed to help students apply their skills, engage as global citizens, and find the match that's right for them. You can also view a comprehensive listing of civic engagement courses.
Milano students are engaged in a number of exciting projects in the community. With nonprofit, management, sustainability, and international affairs scholarship as their tools, Milano students are well poised to integrate civically engaged learning into their education. Students in the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management find many opportunities for volunteerism and innovation in the course Sustainable Urban Communities. This class has participated in many projects including the Solar Decathlon--a national competition to build a sustainable building--and has also conducted projects in tandem with a growing number of partners including Habitat for Humanity, and the DC Department of Housing and Community Development. The Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management partners with the GrowNYC/Greenmarket in a program through which students and faculty provide sustainability classes to the public in the Union Square Greenmarket.
Students in the Urban Policy Analysis and Management program take the Laboratory in Issue Analysis, in which students do applied policy analysis in teams to resolve a policy issue for a partnering public or nonprofit organization. Students are able to apply skills learned in the Policy Analysis class in real-world situations, collaborating with partner organizations. In one semester, students work on two projects in teams with partnering clients. Students hone research and policy analysis skills, as well as issue-specific knowledge. Ultimately, students deliver policy and analytic advice to their public and nonprofit clients to help further their specific policy objectives.
Milano students who are interested in the public education field can enroll in the Community-School Partnership Lab, which combines one semester of public education policy and management training with one year of hands-on field work supporting a public school in Harlem. Students collaborate with Milano faculty, the Center for New York City Affairs, local school leaders and community groups to develop lasting partnerships between an elementary school and supportive community-based organizations. Students expand and apply their knowledge of urban education reform and management, participatory research, and the school's role in community outreach and parent engagement.
Students in the Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MATESOL) program bring their specific skills into the community as well, teaching English in two outreach programs. The programs are designed to support English learners who may not otherwise be able to afford classes. They simultaneously allow students to gain hands-on experience as teachers, and understand the challenges their learners may be facing. One program provides free classes on campus, while the other is offered to English learners on site at their place of work. The current on-site model has taken place in restaurants. The program is made possible by partnerships between the MATESOL program and restaurant owners who want to provide opportunities for professional development and language acquisition. The on-site ESL program was recently featured on CNN and NY1.
Students in the Media Studies program may take a course called Projects in Advocacy Media, in which they collaborate with a nonprofit, special interest group, or a group of their community members to make a media project that raises awareness about a social issue of their choosing. The project may be designed to educate, raise funds, or serve as a call to action. Media are consistently studied as potential tools for creating change in the School of Media Studies. In Photography and Social Change, students investigate photography and its history of affecting social change. Students in the Documentary as Social Practice and Art as Social Practice classes explore how documentary film and art can play a role in innovating new forms of social practice and encourage change.
Media are examined through an archeological lens in Urban Media Archeology. In this class students examine the urban media networks and infrastructures and the way they have evolved over time. Students research on their own and in partnership with local libraries and archives. Their research is ultimately displayed in an open-source mapping platform, developed with the help of Parsons programmers.
Undergraduate students find many opportunities to make connections and apply their skills to real-world problems. In Social Enterprise: Making a Difference, students explore a wide range of social challenges and develop solutions blending for-profit and not-for-profit initiatives. The course focuses on developing innovative market-based solutions to alleviate the world's social ills. Students choose a business model to address a social issue they care about, and analyze likelihood of success, possible funding models, and strategies for impact assessment.
Through the Humanities in Public/Practice project, new humanities courses are being developed to integrate the humanities and civic engagement. These "Public Humanities" courses help undergraduate students take part in difficult dialogues on a range of topics. Recent courses include: Documentary and the Ethics of Representation and Philosophy and Moral Imagination: Literature, Film, and Photography.
Students in the Creative Arts and Health certificate program may find themselves in the class, Transforming Community through the Arts, where they engage with a community to create solutions using their artistic fields, including theater, music, art installations, and multimedia events. Each student builds a relationship with a community, develops an understanding of their challenges, and collaborates to create art-based solutions.
Students in the Environmental Studies program do research, independent projects, and group work in the community, contributing to local environmental efforts while learning through field work. For example, the Urban Ecosystems course brings students to the Hudson River, where they check aquatic traps and record data each semester. Students contribute data to the River Project's long-term biodiversity study of the river and gain critical skills in the field.
The role of the writer as social critic, activist, and engaged citizen is integral in the community and curriculum of the School of Writing. Students in the Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy, for example, invite members of the community to participate in their monthly student work showcase, and use the series to explore the relationship between writing and democracy. Students organize events, such as a recent panel of journalists who addressed the changing role of print media in social change. Students also bring the dialogue physically into the community, such as holding an open discussion on Occupy Wall Street.
Students in the School of Writing have an opportunity to participate in ASHLAB, a multidisciplinary long-term project digitally mapping John Ashbery's house in Hudson, New York. Through a series of courses, students annotate, inventory and anthologize Ashbery's work, library, art collection, and space. The goal of the project is to use new technology and design to re-imagine the writer's archive in virtual space. It also puts students in contact with contemporary poets and critics, and empowers students to take part in the documentation of the literary history taking place within their lifetime.
The School of Writing is home to many projects and groups in which students may take part, such as the Feminist Writers Organization (FWO), a group of writers dedicated to promoting diverse feminist perspectives and approaching writing as a transformative action with revolutionary consequences.
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