Community learning fosters academic collaborations among students, faculty and community partners by extending the boundaries of the classroom into the local community, offering a range of ways for students to engage with Hartford that deepens learning, promotes civic engagement, and creates mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations. Over twenty CLI courses are offered every semester for students across levels and disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, arts, and sciences.


Current Courses – 

Current community learning courses can be found under “Comm Learning Program” in Trinity’s Course Schedule.


Recent Courses – 

The following community learning courses create ways for students to deepen their academic learning through collaborative partnerships and perspective-taking relationships:

Community Psychology (PSYC 246), Professor Laura Holt

In Community Psychology, two key topics students consider are the importance of social capital and social support in promoting psychological health. In their community placements, students observe prime examples of how community organizations enhance the psychological health of their members by providing these resources. Further, students actively support the missions and activities of these organizations, whilst cultivating new connections/relationships they might not otherwise. For example, by assisting after school programs such as COMPASS, Boys & Girls Club, and ConnectiKids tutoring, students form relationships with youth from Hartford Public Schools and assist them with their academic needs. Other students work with organizations like Hartford Food System, Autism Families Connecticut, and Trinity College Health Center. In each of these placements, Trinity students provide a much needed extra pair of hands, and they benefit immensely by interfacing with new and different populations whose life experiences might be disparate from their own while also gaining exposure to the challenges of implementing programming on a limited budget. Fulfills SOC; Cross-referenced with EDUC.

Diversity in the City (PBPL 351), Professor Abigail Fisher Williamson

In this course, students examine how cities have responded to diverse newcomers–ranging from the early twentieth century’s machine politics, through the Great Migration of African-Americans to northern cities, to the dispersion of contemporary immigrants since the late 1980s. To develop a deeper practical understanding of how racial and ethnical diversity shapes the development of local policies, students served as short-term research consultants for local organizations, partnering with these groups to address current policy questions related to issues of diversity, including: refugee employment, non-citizen voting, and engaging immigrants in neighborhood associations. Learn more in this blog post. Fulfills SOC; Requires POLS 102 or PBPL 201

Digital Image of the City (AMST 409), Professor Jen Jack Gieseking

How can digital platforms affect the growth of equal and just cities? How can critical interventions using such platforms work to recognize differences of gender, race, sexuality, and class in cities, and promote equality? What role do and should colleges play in supporting the growth of just and equal spaces? Putting their theoretical and scholarly knowledge into action, students serve as archivists of past CLI courses in order to reckon with what the relationship between the City of Hartford and Trinity College is and should be, conducting qualitative research and creating portions of the Trinity CLI Public Archive, which details elements of Trinity’s history of partnering with Hartford.  Fulfills HUM; Cross-referenced with ANTH and URST

Envisioning Social Change (CACT 101), Professor Serena Laws

Students work to hone deeper understandings of how community groups envision and enact social change by thinking critically and reflexively about the root causes of social problems, the ways that power and privilege shape social change work, and how their biographies shape their understanding of and engagement with Hartford. Toward that end, students interview community partners about how they create change locally and produce videos that detail their partners’ work in the community.  Fulfills FYR; Requires participation in Community Action Gateway

Instrumental Methods of Chemical Analysis (CHEM 312), Professor Michelle Kovarik

In this course, students learn how modern chemical instrumentation is used for chemical measurements of a wide range of samples. In collaboration with sixth graders at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, students perform a traditional wet chemical analysis of soil samples followed by a more comprehensive analysis by atomic emission spectroscopy. This laboratory exercise gives students an opportunity to compare techniques and to practice presenting data to non-expert stakeholders.  Fulfills NAT; Requires CHEM 311. 

Social Mobility and the Immigrant Experience (ECON 331), Professor Carol Clark

Students in this course investigate questions of social and economic mobility in historical perspective with special emphasis on the immigrant experience, past and present, in Hartford.   Historical case studies include the Irish and Italian mass immigration of the late 19th and early 20th century, while contemporary case studies examine the role of newer immigrants in urban economic revitalization efforts. In the final section of the course, students will have the opportunity to design their own qualitative research projects in partnership with local organizations in the Asylum Hill neighborhood of Hartford that are active in promoting community development. Fulfills WEB; Requires ECON 301 and 302; Senior Economics majors only. 


Other CLI Courses – 

Arts and Special Populations (THDN 348)

  • In this seminar, students investigate the application of the arts to special populations with a focus on, but not limited to, urban youth at risk, the incarcerated and families affected by incarceration, and victims of crime. Toward that end, students partner with a Hartford nonprofit organization to complete a project that includes research, observation, and analysis.

Basic Economic Principles (ECON 101)

  • This course offers an introduction to modern economic analysis where students study the principles of production and exchange, the distribution of income, money and banking, and national income analysis. A community learning component is included.

Intro to Environmental Science (ENVS 149)

  • Student receive an introduction to interrelationships among the natural environment, humans, and the human environment, including the biological, social, economic, technological, and political aspects of current environmental challenges. This course focuses on building the scientific framework necessary to understand environmental issues.

Hispanic Hartford (HISP 208)

  • This course seeks to place Trinity students in active and informed dialogue with the Hartford region’s large and diverse set of Spanish-speaking communities. The course helps students recognize and analyze the distinct national histories which have contributed to the Hispanic diaspora in the city and the entire northeastern region of the United States.

Intro to World Music (MUSC 113)

  • In this comprehensive survey of global musical traditions, students learn about: village and urban music and dance of Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, classical and contemporary music of India, the Far East, Asia, and indigenous traditions of the Americas. This course is designed to highlight the central role of musical expression in human life, exploring musical sound and movement in sacred, secular, ritual, and non-ritual contexts.

Organizing by Neighborhood (COLL 206)

  • In this seminar, each student completes a project/internship at a community organization in Hartford. The rich theoretical literature on how neighborhoods are organized and function and on models of community responses to neighborhood conditions provides a lens through which to evaluate their experiences.

Analyzing Schools (EDUC 200)

  • This course introduces students to the study of schools through an interdisciplinary perspective, emphasizing techniques and methods drawn from Sociology, Psychology, and Philosophy. Along with course readings and writing assignments, students observe and participate in nearby K-12 classrooms for three hours per week.

Urban Politics (POLS 355)

  • This course uses the issues, institutions, and personalities of the metropolitan area of Hartford to study political power: who has it, and who wants it. Particular attention is given to forms of local government, types of communities, and the policies of urban institutions. Guest speakers assist each student in preparing an analysis of a local political system.

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