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Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

Tisch College Courses

Each year, Tisch College creates, cosponsors, or otherwise supports undergraduate courses that help students acquire the knowledge, skills, and values needed to engage in productive civic lives. In 2016-2017, these include a redesigned introductory course for our Tisch Scholars and a credit-bearing fieldwork practicum that frames Scholars’ work in local communities.

Fall 2017

TCS 094-01ELS 194-09PS 188-05

Peace through Entrepreneurship

Instructor: Steven R Koltai, A76, F78, Visiting Lecturer

International political instability, unrest and violence most often stem from massive rates of mostly youth unemployment, and the most effective way to address this is by spurring entrepreneurship—the greatest single, private sector job-creator. This course is based on this central theory, covering a range of related topics including theories of international economic development, impact investing, microfinance, and practical operations of the international development space. A veteran of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institution, Warner Bros. Inc., McKinsey & Co., and the State Department, Prof. Steve Koltai pulls from his professional background to create a unique classroom experience. This course will particularly appeal to those interested in working in the international economic development sphere, and will rely heavily on Prof. Koltai’s recent book, Peace through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development.

Open to Junior and Senior undergraduates
TCS 094-02PS 118-03

Topics in American Politics - Massachusetts State Government: How the Sausage Gets Made

Instructor: Stan Rosenberg, Massachusetts Senate President

Learn from Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg about the process, roles of key players, and strategic thinking involved in creating public policy addressing today’s most pressing issues. This class will operate as the legislature itself by identifying a chosen problem, creating and debating possible solutions from the perspective of key stakeholders and interest groups, and drafting and passing comprehensive legislation. Course methods include focus on experiential learning in addition to discussion and debate, research, and policy writing. Class time will be enhanced by guest speakers and visits to the Massachusetts State House.

TCS 094-03ELS 194-05

Philanthropy, Social Enterprise, and Community

Instructor: Nancy Lippe, Lecturer, Experimental College

Philanthropy plays many roles in our communities, from alleviating crisis situations to encouraging strategic, systemic change. Nonprofit organizations are the intermediaries connecting donors to community needs. Working with a grant from former Tufts Trustee Nathan Gantcher, students have the opportunity to practice philanthropy by serving as a young adult grant-making board to award $25,000 to local nonprofits in the cities of Medford, Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston. Students will learn about different styles of philanthropy and effective nonprofit management; how to think about and evaluate philanthropic impact; how to create and implement a community project; how to read nonprofit financials and assess nonprofit organizational health and potential; sources of philanthropic news and thinking; and trends in philanthropy and nonprofit management.

TCS 094-04FMS 094-04ENVS 195-01

Media and Environment: Creating Change

Instructor: Julie Dobrow, Senior Fellow for Media and Civic Engagement, Tisch College
Co-Instructor: Ninian Stein, Lecturer, Environmental Studies Program

Now, more than ever, the environment needs engaged informed and skilled advocates. This class will explore current issues ranging from the Dakota Pipeline, to deforestation, to pollution of the oceans, to climate change, and give you ways to sharpen your skills to use the media for getting out effective and targeted messages. We’ll be bringing in a diverse group of important environmental advocates, organizers, filmmakers and journalists as guest speakers who will tell their stories of creating environmental awareness and change. Our focus includes the powerful role media can play in giving voice to underrepresented voices and illuminating issues of environmental justice. Learn to make a difference in local, national and global communities on the environmental issues that are most pressing.

TCS 94-05PS 118-01

Topics in American Politics: Rules, Strategies & Outcomes

Instructor: Eitan Hersh, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

This survey course of U.S. elections will connect the dots from laws (the Constitution, case law, state and federal statutes) to strategies (by political parties, candidates, interest groups, and donors), and from strategies to outcomes (voting, public opinion, activism).

No prerequisites. All are welcome.
TCS 94-06PS 118-02

Topics in American Politics: Information, Technology & Privacy

Instructor: Eitan Hersh, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

This wide-ranging course focuses on how politics affects information technologies and in how information affects politics and governance. Topics include oversight, government leaks, free speech, surveillance, collective action, voter decision-making, campaign targeting, Uber, Amazon, antitrust laws, and more.

TCS 94-07CH 99-03

Special Topics: Science and Civic Action

Instructor: Jonathan Garlick, Tisch College Senior Fellow for Civic Science

This course teaches students conceptual approaches and practical skills needed to effectively impact change on science-based issues of societal consequence. This course will link science issues to our professional, personal, civic and moral responsibilities and will equip students to make critical choices on divisive, contemporary science issues. Future scientists and engineers will learn to be active citizens by acquiring skills that build civic capacities, including advocacy and communication on complex, science issues. Students from the humanities and social sciences will learn skills indispensable for positive civic and democratic engagement that will guide critical decisions on science issues. This course aims to maximize opportunities for engaged citizenship and social action, as well as to strengthen inclusivity through pluralistic and dialogic approaches to learning.

TCS 145-01VISC 145-01AMER 094-02

Mass Incarceration & The Literature of Confinement

Instructor: Hilary Binda, Senior Lecturer in Visual and Critical Studies and Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

How have writers from different historical periods, regions, cultures, and genders understood experiences of confinement and freedom? What are some of the effects on human beings of different kinds of confinement – economic, educational, legal, physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social? The Literature of Confinement will be run as an Inside-Out™ class composed of Tufts (“outside”) students and incarcerated (“inside”) students, also now Tufts students, in equal numbers. Together, we will read, discuss, and write on literary texts directly and indirectly pertaining to the experience of confinement – understood in many different senses. What constitutes a confining circumstance?  How is confinement imposed and by whom?  How is it challenged? Throughout the semester, students will study the structuring ideologies of race, class, gender-sexuality, and education in relation to the US criminal justice system. A weekly focus on interactive learning across cultural, social, and literal barriers and on the regular practice of self-reflection will enable students to develop qualitative knowledge about power and human possibilities in the face of social injustice and structural inequalities. This course aims to facilitate not only expanded literacy, widely defined, but also learning about deep differences, while also enabling the creation of bonds and bridges between people through shared acts of interpretation and imagination. At the end of the term, inside and outside students will work together in small groups to complete an imaginative interdisciplinary project of the group’s invention and design.

Class size limited and signature required. Please email as soon as possible to set up a required in-person conversation.
TCS 22-01FMS 22-01

Media Literacy

Instructor: Julie Dobrow, Senior Fellow for Media and Civic Engagement, Tisch College

An exploration of the theorists working in the field of New Media Literacy and an examination of how the systems and institutions of mass media shape images; analysis, and critique of the literature on media effects. Focus on utilizing media production as an application of course concepts. Assessment of core debates surrounding the value of bringing new media technologies and participatory culture practices into formal systems of education and discussion of why American public education has been so reluctant to embrace them.

Program-Specific Courses

The following courses are open only to participants in Tisch College student programs.

EXP 0-111

Tisch Scholars Foundation: Civic Identity, Reflection, and Action

Instructor: Grace Talusan, Lecturer, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning

Through this course, Tisch Scholars will explore the connections between identity and systems of privilege, power, and oppression, and will apply their learning directly to their fieldwork. Students will learn to apply an asset-based approach to community work, and will gain skills in dialogue and deliberation. The coursework will allow students to critically reflect on the service learning work they are engaging with at their partner sites, and share ideas on how to address social issues in the community. Each semester that they participate in the program, Tisch Scholars will work eight hours per week at a community-based placement. Scholars will continue learning about Tufts partner communities and forge meaningful, reciprocal partnerships with community members through service and collaboration.

This course is exclusive to participants in the Tisch Scholars program
EXP 0-112

Tisch Scholars Fieldwork Practicum

Instructor: Sara Allred, Scholars Program Administrator, Tisch College

Each semester that they participate in the program, Tisch Scholars work eight hours per week at a community-based placement. Scholars will continue learning about Tufts partner communities and forge meaningful, reciprocal partnerships with community members through service and collaboration.  Scholars will meet several times per semester with their peers in the program to critically reflect on the work and learning they are engaging with at their partner sites, and share ideas on how to address social issues in the community.

This course is exclusive to participants in the Tisch Scholars program
ENG 0311

Tufts 1+4 Foundation: Communicating for Change

Instructor: Grace Talusan, Lecturer, Department of English

Students will study and practice approaches to change, both personal and social, through a variety of communication methods. This course is designed to develop writing, close-reading, and critical thinking skills for students on a bridge-year experience. In a blended learning format and through related readings, investigative data collection, guided exploration of social issues, and experiences with service placements and host communities, students will practice reflection, analysis, and effective communication. Students will create a learning community and consider how their bridge-year experience connects to their future academic interests and possible impact on campus life once they return to campus.

This course is exclusive to participants in the Tufts 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program.