Sharpe seminars are designed by the College's faculty to equip our students with community-based and action research training and in addition to honing students' skills for working ethically with and within communities, fostering effective, and immersing students in real-world considerations of both practical and philosophical dimensions of social justice and community engagement.
Fall 2013 Course Descriptions
PSYC150W Families, Law, and Psychology (Dr. Danielle Dallaire)
In this freshman seminar students will examine the psychological development of children within the context of families and the legal system. Core psychological domains that will be represented and foundational to the course include: (i) The Psychological Development of Children: How biological aspects of development, including brain development, from the prenatal period through adolescence, impact cognitive, language and social development. (ii) Socialization within the Family Context: How experiences within the family impact children’s biological, cognitive, language, and social development. (iii) Intersections between Child Development, Families and the Legal System: How children’s psychological development and experiences within the family interact with our legal system. Particular topics that will be addressed include children and adolescent’s ability to participate in and testify in court procedures, state interventions with families, and children’s experiences with parental incarceration.
There will be a lab/experiential component to this class which will include courtroom observations and participation in various service activities including volunteering to help with programs offered to juvenile and adult offenders, as well mentoring programs for children with incarcerated parents. Restricted to Sharpe Scholars.
CMST150W: Disability in Schools (Dr. Sharon deFur)
Students will examine disability as a social construction. We will explore the historical, cultural, political, social and educational influences on the construction of disability, and the compounding effects each have on the schooling experiences of children and youth with disabilities. Students will consider how social constructions of disability shape the experiences of children and youth with disabilities in American schools through community engagement experiences.
Throughout this course, students will research educational approaches that emphasize disability as diversity, and that facilitate the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in schools and communities. In addition, students will investigate various social constructions of disability through popular media (books, movies, television, websites, blogs). Critical class discussions will occur based on student reflections evidencing the historical, social, cultural, and political influences they observed and experienced through their community engagement experiences, research, and exploration of popular media.
Additionally, students will learn about research-based practices used to educate children and youth with disabilities from a variety of service providers (e.g., special educators, general educators, administrators, speech language pathologists, behavioral psychologists, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists). Also, to increase student understanding of disability, families of children and youth with disabilities, and individuals with disabilities themselves will share their experiences. Restricted to Sharpe Scholars.
CMST150W: Living with the Environment (Dr. Dennis Taylor)
The seminar Living With the Environment builds a broader conceptualization of community interests through establishment of the ethical and moral underpinnings of the human place in nature, and the teaching of practical knowledge needed for both policy-making and scientific understanding directed at solutions that build strong environmentally grounded communities where humans can benefit from the natural capital of their surroundings. Student projects are focused and issue driven, intended to provide direct practical benefits for community partners, opportunities for expanded scope and diversification, and to act as vehicles for teaching important principles and concepts applicable to the problem of human impacts on natural systems. Restricted to Sharpe Scholars.
CMST 150W: Civic Engagement in Higher Education (Dr. Drew Stelljes)
This course will examine the historic civic mission of US colleges by studying the founding purpose of the nation’s earliest colleges, exploring the establishment of land grant colleges, the role of experiential learning, the impact of protest on college campuses, service-learning in college classrooms, the international service movement and the role of community-based learning and research in the University.
Students will begin to analyze and predict the future of civic engagement in higher education. Students will be challenged to examine multiple perspectives in theory and in practice, through discussion and written assignments. It is expected students will increase their ability to analyze a community problem from multiple perspectives, make an argument and demonstrate (in writing and through oral presentation) the scholarly and learning intentions associated with a community-based learning partnership. Upon completion students should be better prepared to develop a research proposal aimed at understanding some aspect of community engagement. Restricted to Sharpe Scholars.
CMST250-01: African American English (Dr. Anne Charity Hudley)
This course will explore the linguistic and social features of English as spoken by African-Americans in the United States. We will examine ideas about the history and emergence of African-American English and explore the relationship of African-American English to Linguistic theory, Education praxis, American culture, and racial prejudice. Students will participate in yearlong mentoring or tutoring programs in the Williamsburg-James City County schools. In particular, we will combine the study of the language and culture of everyday life with the application of this knowledge to raising the reading levels of K-12 school children. Throughout the course we will highlight ways that we can contribute to literacy research and explore what we can do to help with the day-to-day process of helping children learning to read right here in our own community. A limited number of seats in this course are available to Sharpe Scholars with Instructor's Permission.