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Community-Based and Community-Engaged Learning Courses

Students can take courses across majors that contain a Community-Based/Community-Engaged Learning component. Building upon the foundations established in CIVC 101, these courses provide students with an opportunity to combine classroom learning with community engagement and reflection to think critically and deeply about pressing social issues and real-world applications of academic learning. Learn more.

Please note that, in accordance with the University's response to the Coronavirus outbreak, many courses will be offered remotely and there may be adjustments to the descriptions below. Please reach out to Carrie Hutnick (email below) or the course instructor for further details and questions. 

To view current and upcoming courses, please see below. Click here to see past term CBL/CEL courses. Questions? Please email Carrie Hutnick at cah426@drexel.edu. 

Fall Term 2021-2022 

College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS CJS-260 13453 Justice in Our Community Cyndi Rickards Tuesday 9:00am-10:50pm; Recitation Monday 10am-11:50am Remote Synchronous
Course Description
This course is a seminar style community-based learning course that will begin with an introduction to justice in urban communities and examine problems unique to cities. The will include class lectures and on-site work with our community partners at UConnect. The synthesis of scholarship and community classroom experience will provide a holistic lens in which to explore issues in our urban community. Topics include urban economies, access to education and health care, digital divides and crime. Students who take this course will also register for one recitation section of CJS 260 (Register with CRN: 13454).
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS CJS 261 15540 Prison, Society and You Cyndi Rickards TBD Online
Course Description
This course utilizes the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program to explore the relationship between individuals and the prison system. The Inside-Out Exchange Program is an evolving set of projects that creates opportunities for dialogue between those on the outside and those on the inside of the nation’s correctional facilities. The program demonstrates the potential for dynamic collaborations between institutions of higher education and correctional institutions. Most importantly, through this unique exchange, Inside-Out, this course seeks to deepen the conversation and transform ways of thinking about crime and justice (Crabbe, Pompa, 2004).
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Westphal FMST T30-001 15449 Climate Films and Advocacy Benjamin Kalina and Elizabeth Watson Friday 1:00pm-3:50pm Special Topics Lecture
Course Description
Students will examine global climate change and actions to address climate change through film, viewing films designed to entertain, inform, and advocate for taking action to address the climate crisis. Students will preview films, participate in, and help moderate panel discussions, and design and implement survey instruments to assess film impact. The course capstone project will be organizing a one-day film festival for the public focused on climate change to be held in November at the Academy of Natural Sciences. The course is being co-taught by a film professor whose work has focused on the environment and the climate crisis, and an environmental scientist whose research focuses on climate change impacts, and thus will include discussion of scientific content as well as film impact campaigns.td>
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Pennoni Honors HON-315-001 15944 Just Cities Cyndi Rickards Monday 1:00pm-1:50pm and Tuesday 9:00am-10:50am Hybrid
Course Description
Americans, now more than ever, have been forced to reckon with a history of injustice which has manifest in broad structural inequality. Within this course we will explore the social structures, or agents of justice, (e.g.: employment, immigration, race, education, health care, housing) which support healthy communities or perpetuate injustice. Students will discern their position and place in our community ecosystem while engaging with course themes. Each week students will apply course material and connect with our global partners in Amsterdam to educate one another about our city’s state of justice. Students will compare the policies, applications of social justice in their communities and ultimately craft a social policy recommendation. This course offers students an opportunity to learn about our city, analyze issues of justice, and explore the lived experiences of those in our city. The relationship with our global partners provides not only an inter-cultural experience but, also an opportunity to gain the critical skill of developing different communication styles to work together effectively and respectfully in a diverse team.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS SPAN 340 15519 After Maria Steve Dolph Mondays and Wednesdays 2:00pm- 3:50 pm Face to Face
Course Description
The idea that modern environmental disasters are caused not by "natural" forces but rather by human actions took root after Hurricane Katrina, which permanently displaced tens of thousands of people--mostly poor people of color--from the lower Mississippi delta. After Katrina, public institutions like schools, hospitals, and utilities were haphazardly privatized in a process known as "disaster capitalism." This process was repeated when Hurricane María struck Puerto Rico in 2017, only now the effects were aggravated by the colonial status of an archipelago burdened by massive debt, predatory economic policies, and cynical austerity measures. This course will examine the aftermath of María in Puerto Rico--on the one hand as a byproduct of grotesque climate barbarism, and on the other as a transformative catalyst that has inspired a wave of grassroots political, environmental, and social justice movements, both on the island and in the global diaspora.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Pennoni Honors HON 301-002 15958 Prison Reading Project Casey Hirsch Monday 2:00pm-4:50pm Remote Synchronous
Course Description
Throughout the term, we will explore the root and ongoing causes and harsh realities of mass incarceration in the U.S. Each week in our online class, we will reflect on various readings. We will also share and discuss relevant media that deepen our understanding of the troubling state of mass incarceration, as well as trends leading toward and away from criminal justice reform. Some weeks we will have speakers visit the classroom to tell us of their involvement in criminal justice. Weekly reflective writing and a final researched reflection on a relevant topic of your choice will make up the written part of the course.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Pennoni Honors HON T380-130 16105 Little Haiti Community Development and Resilience Adam Zahn and Ahaji Schreffler TBD Hybrid
Course Description
Little Haiti: Community Development and Resilience is an Intensive-Course Abroad that introduces students to the issues and ethics of development, service, and civic engagement both domestically and abroad. Through a holistic lens, students will learn the impacts (both successes and failures) that development efforts can have on the communities they aim to serve. We will explore case studies from both Haiti (often referred to as the "Republic of NGOs") and Little Haiti, Miami, to learn about the importance of a community-driven approach as a model for sustainable development. Students will complete pre-travel online modules and class sessions, followed by experiential learning in Little Haiti, Miami, home of the largest Haitian Diaspora in the world. Students will gain an understanding of best practices in community-based development by interviewing Haitian leaders of best practice non-profit development organizations to learn through real life examples about the methods, challenges, and impact of a community based approach to development in our local communities and internationally. This course is an ICA, please visit the program page for further information: https://studyabroad.drexel.edu/index.cfm?.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Pennoni Honors HON 301 001 15943 Storytelling and Social Impact Helene Furjan Mondays 7:00pm-9:50pm Face to Face
Course Description
This course looks at the intersection of digital storytelling and civic innovation, examining and testing the ways in which storytelling, as a “technology of the social,” can both document and catalyze impact. Civic innovation highlights active citizen-participation; it is a collaborative, community-informed approach to addressing hyperlocal challenges that leverages the resources and partnership of the university to empower communities to innovate for, and by, themselves. Student projects explore storytelling as a mechanism to create communication and knowledge-sharing, invite participation, and generate partnerships across constituencies, organizations, fields, and identities.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS WRIT 290- 001 14213 Writers Room Experience Kristen Kaschock Wednesdays 12:30pm-1:50pm Face to Face
Course Description
This studio course is a blend of seminar and field work. Students select their community writing experience from a number of Writers Room programs. You will build skills beyond the classroom, including active listening, storytelling, collaborative text production, and the processing of group experiences through field note-taking and reflective writing practices.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS WRIT 280- 001 16375 Writers Room Lab Valerie Fox Thursdays 6:00pm-6:50pm Face to Face
Course Description
This Community-Based Learning course is open to Drexel students and our neighbors. A single-credit laboratory, it attaches to courses with projects engaging in civic action and allows motivated students more time to integrate the knowledge from an academic class with community work. In collaboration with the Pennoni Honors College’s year-long Symposium on Aging, our Fall 2021 Lab will focus on cross-disciplinary artistic work to explore memories and meanings of home and life stages. We will avail ourselves of the collaborative opportunities that come with working with a multigenerational group of writers. You will also have the chance to explore your own genealogies through different genres or medium. Registration by instructor permission only.

Winter Term 2020-2021 

College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS CJS-261 21924 Prison, Society, and You Cyndi Rickards Thursday 1:00pm-3:50pm Remote Synchronous
Course Description
This course aims to learn, reflect and engage with our history and systems of incarceration. Students will analyze who is imprisoned, the contemporary correctional experience while understanding the human experience and cost of incarceration. Students will engage with formerly incarcerated students, in an engaged learning environment as they learn about the criminal justice system and reflect on perceptions of prisons and of people both inside and outside of them.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS CJS 303 26285 Applications of Justice Doug Porpora Tuesday and Thursday 3:30pm-4:50pm Remote Synchronous
Course Description
This course will explore the topic is justice as practiced in a criminal context. When we speak of criminal justice, what do we mean by justice? What are the ways in which our criminal justice system is and is not just and how does justice in a criminal context fit with our broader understandings of justice? Students will engage with formerly incarcerated students, in an engaged learning environment to learn about the criminal justice system as they reflect on perceptions of prisons and people in them.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS WRIT 215-001 22187 Story Medicine Nomi Eve Tuesday and Thursday 11:00am-12:20pm Remote Synchronous
Course Description
Story Medicine is a Community Engaged Learning Course in Fiction Writing and Imagination Pedagogy. Drexel students explore the question “what are the unique entertainment and enrichment needs of hospitalized children?” In weekly Zoom interviews, kids living with chronic illness help co-teach the class, parents of patients provide first hand-experience, and college-age cancer survivors help us understand their unique needs and perspective. Drexel Story Medicine students create YouTube videos, tik toks, and Instagram posts specifically for kids in hospitals, and write fiction for read-aloud stories in which characters with illness and disability take center stage. Students will also undertake self-reflective writing, and become active participants in building this course and the “Story Medicine Show” for future quarters.td>
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS WRIT-315-001 24991 Writing for Social Change Elizabeth Kimball Wednesday 6:00pm-8:50pm Remote Synchronous
Course Description
In Writing for Social Change, Drexel students will learn together with the staff of UESF, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families get out of poverty. We will consider the place of writing for social change from both a humanities and professional perspective. Our goal is to create a community composed of UESF staff and Drexel students that o builds empathy and human connection o increases expertise with writing as a tool for professional and public work o deepens understanding of philosophy and strategy of social change aimed at greater inclusion, prosperity, and equality.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Westphal URBS 610 23660 Civic Engagement and Participatory Methods Andrew Zitcer and Susanna Gilbertson Mondays 6 – 8:50 pm Remote Synchronous
Course Description
This course examines the relationship between civic engagement, democratic participation and community change in urban settings. Students will gain awareness of themselves as leaders and members of a group. They will explore styles of facilitation, decision making in groups, and large and small forms of civic engagement. By the end of the course, students will be more competent and effective communicators, overcoming one of the largest shortcomings of contemporary urban practitioners. Students will discuss leadership in the context of consensus building – creating shared goals, negotiating on behalf of lay people and professional entities, facilitating community meetings and other decision-making forums, and the management of stakeholder expectations.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Westphal DANCE 222-001 22746 Dance Pedagogy Valerie Ifill Thursdays 12:00pm-2:50pm Remote Synchronous
Course Description
This course partners with the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships’ dance programming for youth and families to apply methods and concepts learned win the course within the context of community dance classes. Students will explore the social and physical development of children as it relates to the teaching of dance. They will develop and practice a repertoire of techniques for teaching children and adults while contributing to community programming at a local partner organization.

Fall Term 2020-2021 

College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS COM376-900 12045 Nonprofit Communication Lawrence Souder Online Online
Course Description
All nonprofit organizations must develop and maintain effective communication strategies in order to survive in a competitive economy. Nonprofits have unique needs and limitations in their long-term goals and short-term operations that relate to communication. This course introduces students to the ways nonprofits communicate with both their constituents and their benefactors. Students will explore these two perspectives on nonprofit communication through a combination of readings about best practices, dialogues with local representatives in the nonprofit sector, and direct contact and work for a local nonprofit organization.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS CJS 260 15533 Justice in Our Community Cyndi Rickards Monday, 10:00am-11:50am plus recitation Global Classroom
Course Description
This course is a seminar style community based learning course that will begin with an introduction to justice in urban communities and examine problems unique to cities. The will include class lectures and a shared classroom with a community partner in Amsterdam. The synthesis of scholarship and community classroom experience will provide a holistic lens in which to explore issues in our urban community. Topics include urban economies, access to education and health care, digital divides and crime. Students who take this course will also register for one recitation section of CJS 260.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS WRIT 215 12236 Story Medicine Nomi Eve Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00am-12:20pm Remote Learning
Course Description

Story Medicine is a Community Engaged Learning Course in Fiction Writing and Imagination Pedagogy. Drexel students explore the question “what are the unique entertainment and enrichment needs of hospitalized children?”  In weekly Zoom interviews, kids living with chronic illness help co-teach the class, parents of patients provide first hand-experience, and college-age cancer survivors help us understand their unique needs and perspective.  Drexel Story Medicine students create YouTube videos, tik toks, and Instagram posts specifically for kids in hospitals, and write fiction for read-aloud stories in which characters with illness and disability take center stage. Students will also undertake self-reflective writing, and become active participants in building this course and the “Story Medicine Show” for future quarters.  

College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Westphal DANC 102 12844 Yoga Jennifer Morley Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00pm-1:20pm Remote
Course Description
The physical and intellectual study of the ancient practice of yoga. Includes both physical practice and readings related to the discipline, as well as a survey of a variety of forms of the practice. It will engage community participants from a local partner as students in the class to learn alongside Drexel students and consider the value of yoga from multiple perspectives and experiences.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CCI INFO 546 15526 Data Analytics Erjia Yan Fridays, 9:00am-11:50am Remote
Course Description
This course utilizes in-class lectures and partnerships with a community small business or non-profit to assess the data and information needs of, design data-driven methods for, and proposal and/or develop sustainable data infrastructure to those community organizations. Through academic readings, in-class facilitation, and seminars, students will explore civic engagement, democratic participation and community change in urban settings. They will learn community information needs assessment, decision making, and information use, representation, and visualization. At the same time, students will identify a community small business or non-profit organization as their client and meet the client for two hours each week, working with community organizations in need of data analytics support.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Westphal PRFA 100 12101 Community Arts Performance Practice: Dance at the Dornsife Ama Gora M, 4:30-6:30pm; W, 1:30-5:30pm Remote
Course Description
These CBL courses are hosted at the Dornsife Center. Drexel students teach music and dance to the local Philadelphia community, specifically the Mantua and Powelton residents. This course is great for students looking to expand their teaching skills within the art of music and dance. All materials for community participants and student teachers are provided.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Westphal PRFA 100 12101 Community Arts Performance Practice: Dance at the Dornsife Ama Gora T, 4:30-6:30pm; Th, 4:30-6:30pm Remote
Course Description
These CBL courses are hosted at the Dornsife Center. Drexel students teach music and dance to the local Philadelphia community, specifically the Mantua and Powelton residents. This course is great for students looking to expand their teaching skills within the art of music and dance. All materials for community participants and student teachers are provided.

Spring Term 2019-2020 

College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS ENG 103 30850 Once upon a Lifetime (So Far...) Cassandra Hirsch Wednesday 1:20pm-3:50pm and online work as needed Kirkbride Rehabilitation Center
Course Description
Each of us has a story to tell. Yet, people don’t often go out of their way to exchange ideas with strangers, or to sit next to one another in a room for the express purpose of that exchange – particularly when each group occupies a vastly different space in their everyday lives. In this Side-By-Side course, we will strive to put aside our preconceptions of each other as we read selected works of memoir, engage in analysis of these works, and together learn the craft of writing memoir in order that we might learn about ourselves and our peers. The focus of this course will be to stimulate conversation, writing, and the cultivation and exchange of both. All readings will inspire and instruct as we engage in the writing process. Drexel students will write in class with Kirkbride residents, and independently between class meetings at Kirkbride, contributing both informal writing on the Discussion Board and crafting three writing projects. The course will culminate in a collection authored by all participants, each writing about themselves. Where anonymity is required, it will be respected. *Students will meet on Wednesdays at Drexel and travel together to Kirkbride. Travel time to and from Kirkbride is included in class time as noted above.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS ENG 323-001 35033 Storytelling Through Mural Arts Gabriella Ibieta Mondays 2:00pm-4:30pm Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships
Course Description
This course focuses on Mural Arts Philadelphia (MAP), a world-renown cultural resource of our city. Approximately 3,000 murals across our different neighborhoods tell the stories of our communities in exciting and engaging ways. Murals also tell stories about individuals and their families and about significant events in their histories, creating public art sites of intersection between the personal and the political. In this course we will research the context of a series of murals in Powelton Village, Mantua, and West Philadelphia; explore the process of community and artistic collaboration that produced them; and participate in several activities, such as a Paint Day and a Mural Unveiling Ceremony. Students will learn about MAP through assigned readings, their own exploration of murals around the city, and individual and group research projects and presentations. Another component of the course will be our own storytelling: students will be asked to interpret the stories the murals tell, to make connections to their personal histories and to tell and write their own stories. Format: Drexel and community students will work in pairs and also in groups of 4-5; PowerPoint lectures; films; group discussions; in-class writing.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS CJS-T380-002 25607 The Practice of Justice Gregory Albright Thursdays 1:00pm-4:00pm Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
Course Description
This is an Inside-Out course, conducted at the State Detention Center where Drexel students will co-learn with detention residents. The topic is justice as practiced in a criminal context. When we speak of criminal justice, what do we mean by justice? What are the ways in which our criminal justice system is and is not just and how does justice in a criminal context fit with our broader understandings of justice? Discussing these questions in a detention center with residents there, the perspectives of both insiders and outsiders will be altered.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS CJS 260A 22355 + Recitation (22356-60) Justice in Our Community Cyndi Rickards Mondays 10:00am-12:00pm + Recitation T,W or TH Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships
Course Description
This course is a community-based learning course that will begin with an introduction to our local community and examine problems unique to cities. The majority of our instructional time will take place with our community partner. The synthesis of scholarship and community classroom experience will provide a holistic leans in which to explore issues in our urban community. Topics include: urban economies, access to education and health care, information justice, race and crime. Students meet for two hours in the classroom and work as Navigators at the Dornsife Center T, W or TH from 1-3 or 3-5. You will need to choose one shift to work each week, which will appear as a recitation on your schedule.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS CJS 261-001 12700 Prison, Society and You Cyndi Rickards Thursday 1:00pm-4:00pm Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
Course Description
This course utilizes the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program to explore the relationship between individuals and the prison system. The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is an evolving set of projects that creates opportunities for dialogue between those on the outside and those on the inside of the nation’s correctional facilities. The program demonstrates the potential for dynamic collaborations between institutions of higher education and correctional institutions. Most importantly, through this unique exchange, Inside-Out and this course seek to deepen the conversation- and transform ways of thinking about crime and justice (Crabbe, Pompa, 2004). At the most basic level, this course and program allows students to go behind the walls to reconsider what they have learned about crime and justice, while those on the inside are encouraged to place their life experiences in a larger framework. Students will exchange ideas and perceptions about crime and justice, the criminal justice system, corrections and imprisonment. It is a chance for all participants to gain a deeper understanding of the criminal justice system through the marriage of theoretical knowledge and practical experience achieved by weekly meetings and extended throughout the semester (Crabbe, Pompa, 2004).
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS WRIT 215-001 12694 Story Medicine Nomi Eve Tuesday and Thursday 11:00am-12:20pm CHOP
Course Description
This is a Community Based Learning Course in Fiction Writing and Collaborative Creative Processes. Students go to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to perform in the Ryan Seacrest T.V. studio. Drexel Students write, perform and produce live shows for patients. Students will always use a teleprompter, so no memorization is necessary. Students regularly interact with patients who come down to participate in the Story Medicine show. All writing exercises are suitable for beginning and intermediate fiction writers. Ultimately, students will undertake self-reflective writing, and become active participants in building this course for future quarters.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
CoAS WRIT 315 34331 Writing for Social Change Eizabeth Kimball Friday 1:00pm-3:50pm UESF- a housing stabilization organization
Course Description
In Writing for Social Change, Drexel students will learn together with the staff of UESF, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families get out of poverty. We will consider the place of writing for social change from both a humanities and professional perspective. Our goal is to create a community composed of UESF staff and Drexel students that o builds empathy and human connection o increases expertise with writing as a tool for professional and public work o deepens understanding of philosophy and strategy of social change aimed at greater inclusion, prosperity, and equality.
College Course # CRN Course Title Instructor Date/Time Location
Westphal WEST T380 Undergraduate 35406 Sanctuary Cities: Practice and Policy 1980-2020 Steve Dolph Monday 6:00pm-8:50pm TDB
Course Description
Historically associated with privately held enclosures within urban space (churches, homes, gardens), “sanctuary” is increasingly understood a public practice that shapes public policy. This course will explore the role of so-called “sanctuary cities”—municipalities that limit their collaboration with (and sometimes openly defy) state and federal agencies—within the bitter struggle to reform the US immigration system. We will examine the historical records, interviews, legal statutes, executive orders, artistic projects, and literature that have shaped this contested issue, with particular focus on how cities at once activate and restrict the revolutionary potential of sanctuary. This course is cross-listed for both GRADUATE and UNDERGRADUATE students. *If you are a Graduate student, the Course # is URBS T580 and CRN is 34201.