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First Year Seminar Class Projects

Each year, approximately 40 professors integrate community engaged learning projects into their First Year Seminar (FSP) courses with staff and Scholars from the Bonner Institute for Civic and Community Engagement. The projects draw a connection between the learning objectives of the course and a specific community need or interests. For a full list of FSP courses being offered this fall, visit the FSP Courses page. The following is a sample of projects that have been completed in previous years at TCNJ.

Morality, God and Free Will – Professor Richard Kamber

Students in Morality, God, and Free Will discuss some of life’s most difficult questions – Is there life after death? Is there a God? Do we truly have free will? Students in the class consider these questions, among others, in group discussions with inmates at Mercer County Correction Center as part of a Socrates Cafe discussion. Socrates Cafe seeks to bring individuals together who want to engage in meaningful, respectful exchanges; the aim to learn how to think, rather than learn what to think.

Language in Society – Dean Benjamin Rifkin

This seminar focuses on what makes human language different from the communication systems used by other species and look at the systems that all languages use to build meaning. The course examines the relationship of language and ethnicity by analyzing particular languistic situations in depth. As part of the community engaged learning portion of this course, students engage in ESL tutoring at First Baptist Church in Trenton.

Ability and Dis/Ability: Deconstructing and Disrupting the Social and Cultural Gaze – Professor Shridevi Rao

This course introduces students to the field of Disability Studies and encourages them to critically examine their gaze and challenge and deconstruct the taken for granted assumptions about disability. The course focuses on how disability is presented in literary narratives, films, and other forms of media and discourse. Students in the course accompany the Developmental Disabilities Bonner Community Scholars Team to conduct service with Visitation Home, a non-profit, faith-based, shared living community for developmentally disabled adults and their assistants.

Normal? Issues of Identity and Difference – Professor Kathleen Rotter

This course explores the social, personal, and political issues in the development of personal identity in relation to difference from normal. Specifically, the course explores the differences of gender, sexuality, race, culture, as well as physical and cognitive abilities, and how each affects the development of a positive personal identity. Students in the course serve at two partner sites, one of which is El Centro de Recursos Para Familias, teaching ESL classes with the Latino community in Trenton. Students also serve at Visitation Home’s Day Program for adults with developmental disabilities.