The place-based experiential learning component of Global Liberal Studies (GLS) distinguishes it from other degree programs. The two-course Experiential Learning sequence involves students in a cycle of experience, reflection, and the formulation of concepts that in turn guide the understanding of fresh experiences. In keeping with the mission of GLS, Experiential Learning emphasizes experiences of place. These experiences take the form both of group community excursions and individual community placements (such as internships, volunteer opportunities, and, on occasion, individual research projects) to involve students with the workplace culture and social practices of the city in which they live. This gives students a basis for reflecting on and formulating concepts about the formation of the city’s cultural and social milieu and its relation to global frameworks in a way that is informed by their concentration.
Experiential Learning I
Experiential Learning I, a four-credit, letter-graded course, comprises both classroom instruction and guided community excursions to immerse students in the current and historical character of the city in which they spend junior year. Whenever possible, students practice foreign language skills as part of this immersion. Classroom instruction provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the local, regional, national, and global forces that have shaped the character of life in that particular city. Community excursions immerse the student in the contemporary life of the city, giving an advanced introduction to the local character and its intersection with global forces along four dimensions: Arts and Media, Politics, Economics, and the social practices of everyday life.
Experiential Learning II
The second semester of Experiential Learning is a two-credit, Pass/Fail course focused primarily on a community placement each student undertakes in close conjunction with the course’s classroom component. With the guidance of the instructor, students independently reflect on and formulate concepts relating directly to their community placement. The community placement, which the student actively participates in securing with guidance from the relevant site or professional personnel, falls within the area defined by the student’s concentration and, as much as possible, relates to his or her individual academic interests.