In mid-October, over twenty Trinity faculty and staff gathered together to talk about their experiences planning and teaching community learning courses this year. Participants included faculty from across arts and humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields as well as staff from educational technology, communications, and Trinfo Cafe, representing the wide range of people from Trinity who are committed to creating academic partnerships with the Hartford community.
Professor Sheila Fisher began conversation by sharing her syllabus for English 209: Prison Literature, explaining the goals of this course and the work her students are doing with recently incarcerated women. Fisher’s students are able to gain multiple perspectives about the prison system, developing deep understandings that account for not only literary and theoretical perspectives, but also, very importantly, the lived experiences of those who were in the system.
Continuing the discussion, Professor Dan Lloyd walked through his plans for his upcoming Spring course, Philosophy 244: The Music of Thought. In this class, his students will work with Alive Inside, which pairs students with elders to create music playlists that speak to the elders’ life experiences, a practice believed to help counter the effects of dementia. Lloyd’s goal is for students to gain new perspectives by working with this community and to rethink their understandings of music.
To end the event, several new faculty in attendance asked for feedback on their early plans for community learning projects in their spring courses, which will cover diverse subjects such as law and policies about poverty, neighborhood rhetorics, and energy use in Hartford.
Overall, the event was a success with excellent conversation, good ideas, and great food. Mark your calendars for the new Community Learning Brainstorming Lunch – January 18 from 12-1:30 pm.
If you have any questions about this lunch or developing your own community learning course, please get in touch with Megan Hartline, Associate Director of Community Learning, by email (email@example.com) or phone (x2583) to set up a meeting.