Digging Deep into the World Around Us
Education is not only about gaining knowledge but also learning how to make a difference. As part of its ongoing commitment to provide a high-quality education for individuals to improve their lives and impact the world around them, County College of Morris (CCM) has developed a new set of experiential-learning opportunities focused on current topics.
The new, comprehensive hands-on learning programs cover a wide range of relevant areas including:
• Environmental Sustainability
• Women’s Issues
• The Age of Fake News
• Latino Culture, and more
CCM faculty members have designed the learning programs both for students seeking credit toward a degree and those looking for professional development and personal enrichment opportunities. The programs will be offered starting in the 2018-19 Academic Year.
“While we always have offered hands-on learning opportunities, these projects have allowed us to expand upon that,” notes Professor John Soltes, from the Department of Communication, who is serving as project co-chair. “Studies clearly have shown that the most successful students are those who take part in high-impact practices, and they are the most likely to become effective leaders.”
Focusing on civic engagement from an interdisciplinary perspective, the learning experiences will provide participants with opportunities to work in the community, examine social issues from multiple viewpoints and explore complex topics in an engaging manner. The programs will be offered either as stand-alone classes or incorporated into multiple courses where students will gather together at least once a month with their professors to dig deeper into the topics. Some of the new learning experiences include:
• Facilitating Civil Discourse in an Age of Fake News and Debates about the Truth for those who are concerned about the impact fake news is having on society and the importance of a properly informed public to sustain a well-functioning democracy. Participants in this program will work on identifying the role they can play in helping to solve social problems by participating in the political process.
• The Dover Project: Cultural Citizenship Narratives and Collaborative Community Design for a wide array of individuals who would like a deeper awareness of the role Latino culture plays in the area. Participants in this program will be able to take part in a county-wide celebration recognizing the contributions of Latino culture planned for the fall of 2019.
• Pathology of the Madwoman in the Attic for those who would like an in-depth understanding of women’s issues and how female identity has been portrayed – socially, clinically, in literature and by the media – and shaped the experience of women. Participants in this program will examine such issues as idealized beauty, postpartum depression and the impact of patriarchal authority.
• Food and Sustainability: Environmental and Sociological Approaches for those with a passion for the environment, food production and sustainability and others who work or would like to work in those and related areas. As part of the program, participants will get to perform volunteer work on a local farm, gain first-hand insight into sustainable food production and assist with distributing produce obtained from the college’s share in the farm.
“These are perfect examples of the life-building experiences that we offer CCM students,” says Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, president of CCM. “By attending CCM, our students are offered experiential learning opportunities early in their educational career, instead of having to wait until they are juniors or seniors, which is one of the great benefits community colleges offer.”
“The projects are in line with the college’s strategic plan, which calls for increasing student engagement in the community, global learning and service learning,” explains Professor James Hart, professor and chair of the Department of Languages and ESL, who also is serving as project co-chair. The other co-chairs for the interdisciplinary programs are Dr. Marcia Picallo from the Department of Languages and ESL, and Professor Buffy Reilly from the Department of Nursing.
“This is yet another opportunity for faculty from different disciplines to work together for the benefit of our students,” says Reilly.