Religious Studies 476: Community Engagement and Social Justice

Jesuit education encourages students to live as women and men with and for others. Service and community engagement support this goal. This semester course explores how community service promotes solidarity and spiritual development within the context of Christian faith and commitment to social justice. Specifically, students will study responsible civic partnership, discerning God’s presence in service experiences, living a faith that does justice, promoting social justice through service relationships, and contributing to the common good through civic engagement. The course uses a service-learning method of instruction. Students will receive release time from a portion of classroom instruction for service in the community. SI will organize partnerships with community organizations to support specific learning objectives. The course requires students to participate in one of these partnerships as part of a cohort. Students will learn from their service experience through a process of intentional reflection and interpretation.  In addition to their service experience, students complete traditional coursework designed to complement and enrich the experience. The course assesses students on their professionalism, their ability to make skillful observations of their experience, the intentionality of their reflections, their ability to use course concepts to interpret their service experience, research about the strengths and needs of a community they serve, and communication of their learning.

Religious Studies 477: Ecological Justice and Spirituality

This semester-long course will explore connections in religious experience, social justice, and spirituality that we discover through the study and experience of nature. We study the natural world- and our place in it. That leads to a creative response (literature and art), a spiritual response (prayer and connection with the divine), and an ethical response (stewardship). Students will experience nature first-hand through weekly field trips, read texts that examine the quest for meaning through nature, and begin (or continue) their own journey of becoming stewards of creation.