Community-Based Learning at Saint Joseph’s College uses course content to engage students within their school and communities while challenging students to learn firsthand about community, democracy, diversity, justice, civil society, social responsibility, leadership and critical thinking. Students and faculty partner with schools, businesses, organizations, and agencies to solve problems as part of their academic studies, transforming them from passive recipients to active participants in their education and communities while providing a deeper understanding of theories and course content. Learning continues to occur through an array of reflection activities and assignments that help students connect their experiences with the central ideas, hypotheses, theories, and methods they are studying. The integration of this experiential component into course content reinforces our Core Values and furthers the Mercy tradition of service on which the College was founded.
Saint Joseph’s College uses two designations to identify community-based learning courses: CBL-R (community-based learning is a required component of the course) and CBL-O (community-based learning is an optional component of the course). Upon successful completion of a community-based learning project, community-based learning credit will appear on a student’s transcript.
Sustainability as a goal and as practiced at Saint Joseph’s College encompasses human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for future generations. It is expressed as a deep and holistic respect for the Earth through daily practices, decision-making, and stewardship in a healthy and equitable way so that communities now and in the future can thrive. Saint Joseph’s College is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, an order based in service to others, with stated critical concerns for the poor, the marginalized, women, immigrants, non-violence, and the care of the Earth. Rooted in the Catholic social teaching that all persons, without exception, possess inherent human dignity, the College constantly seeks to educate all students through classes and experiences that bring them face-to-face with people in need. These educational experiences help our students develop skills to be responsible world citizens and lifelong contributors to understanding and solving global problems.
Saint Joseph’s College uses a two-tiered designation system to identify sustainability-focus courses and sustainability-related course sections. The guidelines are based on *AASHE’s recommendations and **STARS recognition.
AASHE guideline: ”…a course in which the primary and explicit focus is on sustainability and/or on understanding or solving one or more sustainability challenge(s).”
AASHE guideline: “…a course that is primarily focused on a topic other than sustainability, but incorporates a unit or module on sustainability or a sustainability challenge, includes one or more sustainability-focused activities, or integrates sustainability issues throughout the course.”
* The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
** Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Reporting System