CBL Course Highlights

Community-Based Learning Across the Curriculum

Each academic year, Gustavus offers between 50-70 courses featuring community-based learning. Classes below are ordered alphabetically by course title.

Child Welfare Policy

Kate Knutson

As part of this course, students conducted research for a non-profit in Mankato, Minnesota, Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA). The goal was to provide CADA with information related to government policies that will be useful and beneficial to the organization but which the organization does not have the time and/or resources to compile itself. Throughout the class, students studied child welfare policy. Informed by their studies, Gustavus students joined the organization Safe Passage for Children for their annual Day on the Hill to lobby for changes in the child protection system. Learn more by reading the e-brief from Safe Passage for Children, "Day on the Hill."

Dance Composition and Level 4 Modern Dance Technique

Melissa Rolnick

As part of these courses, world renowned choreographer, Stephan Koplowitz will introduce students to his philosophy concerning site specific choreography and choreographic methodology. The students will incorporate what they have gleaned from Mr. Koplowitz's experiential workshops and apply it to their creation of new work for informal showings at both the Hillstrom Museum on campus and to a wider community audience at the Arts Center of St. Peter during the spring semester of 2018.
Dance Students
Steve Koplowitz presenting to Gustavus Dance students, Photo: Melissa Rolnick

Latin American Culture

Angelique Dwyer

Thanks to the partnership that the Spanish Program has with the Adult Learning Cooperative in St. Peter, Students in SPA-320 were able to engage in English Language classrooms in Le Center and Le Sueur. More than Teaching Assistants, students in this upper level Spanish course were able to apply their knowledge of language and culture to communicate with a majority of Hispanic students enrolled in the adult EL class. GAC students mentored parents in the class on how to help their students in school with issues like bullying, filling out college applications or filing for financial aid / loans. Students also facilitated bilingual discussions on constructions of race and ethnicity, U.S. history, multiculturalism and politics. It was a wonderful semester, possible thanks to the CBSL grant, which enabled funds to cover for mileage and Gustavus transportation.

English Language Classroom and Gustavus students

Gustavus students and English Language class in Le Sueuer, Minnesota. Photo: Alejandro Lalama

Movement Methods

Sarah Hauss

The Community-Based Learning component of this course provides opportunities for students to apply, demonstrate, and share their understanding of pedagogical strategies used in dance education. Students will travel to the Ballare Teatro Performing Arts Center in Minneapolis twice to work with teachers and students at the school; and, they will teach a component of a class. Students will also hear presentations from two Education licensing professionals to further enable exploration of careers in dance education.

Perspectives on the News

Martin Lang

Students in this course​ ​​got hands-on experience with news production​ and brought new information to the community through a ​​cooperative project with​ ​local journalists. COM-344: Perspectives on the News, provided students with a study of the history and theor​y​​ of​ the changing role​​s ​news outlets ​ha​ve​​ ​played​​ in​ ​​democratic society.​​​​

​In the capstone project, students met with journalists, publishers, and editors​ ​​at the Mankato Free Press newspaper to learn more about the​​ media landscape as well as the day-to-day life of a regional​ ​​news organization. ​Students ​​then worked ​with the Free Press to build the Media Literacy Project​​,​​ ​​a series of student-produced articles and videos being published this summer that are designed to ​​help the public become more savvy news consumers and engaged citizens.

See also: Gustavus Adolphus College News article on August 3, 2017 by JJ Aikin '11

Writing and Non-Profits

Rebecca Fremo

Students in this class served as writing consultants for their partners using their knowledge of rhetoric and narrative skills to help nonprofit organizations tell their own stories and solve their own problems. The class partners included Ecumen Prairie Hill, St. Peter Senior Center, YWCA Mankato, and Center for Rural Policy Development. Some of the students wrote newsletter articles describing their experiences as writers for these organizations (see below). Read more about the class in an article written by Dr. Rebecca Fremo, "Writing and Nonprofits: Rhetoric, Reciprocity, and Writing." Writing_and_Nonprofits_Rhetoric_Reciprocity_and_Real_World_Writing

Newsletter articles by students regarding their community-based learning experiences:

  • "Growing Girls, Wondrous Women," by Monica Hood - Blogging for the Girls on the Run program, YWCA Mankato. Growing_Girls_Wondrous_Women
  • "Grown Up Story-Time," by Laura Isdahl - Elders tell their memorable stories at Ecumen Prairie Hill. Grown_Up_Story-Time
  • "The Applications of Appy Hour," by Brady Lass - A St. Peter Senior Center class teaching older citizens how to communicate with and use digital technology. The_Applications_of_Appy_Hour
  • "Bridging the Information Gap: How One Organization is Trying to Take on Minnesota' Chronic Obstacles," by Alex Kelley - Helping the Center for Rural Policy Development provide information to legislators about rural Minnesota. Bridging_the_Information_Gap
  • "Learning Together with the Senior Center," by Britta Powell - Learning about religion and culture with St. Peter seniors. Learning_Together_with_the_Senior_Center