Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Courses by Discipline

Periclean Faculty Leaders create and teach courses in a wide variety of disciplines in the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences that address issues of social concern, enrich curriculum, and enhance student social interest and involvement. They also organize campus-wide activities and/or prepare an academic paper or project, and partner with a Periclean Faculty Leader at another campus, consulting with them throughout the program.


Immunology - Click to view syllabus
Carleton College–Debby Walser-Kuntz, Professor of Biology
In addition to exploring the function of the immune system in infectious disease, vaccination, autoimmunity, transplantation, allergy and asthma, students also build connections between course material and the world outside of the classroom by working with community partners involved in public health, learning to communicate and translate scientific ideas to a nonscientific audience.


Business and Sustainability - Click to view syllabus
Elon University–Brian Nienhaus, Associate Professor of Business Administration

During this winter term course, students travel to the Yucatán, Mexico where they explore how an agrarian subsistence economy illustrates some of the central issues of sustainable development. The course introduces students to the basic sustainability framework, the triple bottom line, and to current critiques of private sustainability initiatives including externalities, price signals generated by existing markets, and the meaning of GDP and economic growth.

Post-Crisis Housing on Staten Island
Wagner College – Mary L. Lo Re, Associate Professor of Finance and Chair, Department of Business Administration
This course, from an assets-based approach, seeks to examine how socioeconomic factors effect and are affected by diverse communities' access to housing, with the goal of helping individuals answer the overarching question of whether to own or rent. Additionally, students work with the Neighborhood Housing Services of Staten Island (S.I.) and the community. Through the creation and distribution of a survey, the students: define the energy profile on S.I. to identify resources, identify what pockets on S.I. have the greatest needs (in order to target funding), sign homeowners up to receive a home energy audit and open up markets in different neighborhoods, and identify job opportunities, in the field of energy, where services are needed.
This course is cross-listed in Finance.


Instrumental Analysis of Oil and the Gulf of Mexico Environment - Click to view syllabus
St. Mary's College of Maryland–Randolph Larsen, Associate Professor of Chemistry

This course has two overarching objectives.  First is the examination of the theory and appropriate use of instrumentation found in most modern chemistry labs.  The second is for upper level science majors to recognize and develop an appreciation for the link between science and the community. Students use their knowledge to focus on the issues associated with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and its impact on the coastal community in order to meet both objectives. This is accomplished through touring the impacted coastline, interviewing various stakeholders, reading both the related scientific studies and media reports, as well as collecting samples and processing them on the instrumentation they are studying.


Citizen Journalism and Deliberation - Click to view syllabus
Pace University–Seong-Jae Min, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

This course examines new developments in democratic theories and journalistic practices. Beyond classroom lectures, students in the course take several different roles - news reporter, forum moderator, and discussant, experiencing participatory democracy through the analysis and deliberation of vital issues facing their communities and school.

Leadership Communication - Click to view syllabus
Bethune-Cookman University–Paula McKenzie, Associate Professor of Speech Communication

This course explores leadership communication through theory and application. It is designed to raise awareness of the complexity and power of the leadership communication process and to help students develop leadership skills cognitively, and behaviorally. Students produce an issue campaign, write a reflective essay, identify values via a current events journal, and create and deliver a problem-solution speech and a motivational speech.


Political Economy of Non-Profits - Click to view syllabus
Drew University–Jennifer Olmsted, Associate Professor of Economics

The main goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of the non-profit sector both in the U.S. and internationally, with a particular focus on gaining an understanding of the types of economic decisions non-profits regularly make. A central question we examine is the extent to which non-profits should or do make decisions in a manner similar to for-profit firms, and the struggles non-profits face in terms of addressing economic realities while staying true to their mission.  As part of the course, students work in groups with a non-profit organization, providing analysis of a current economic challenge or question with which the non-profit is grappling.


Issues in Education - Click to view syllabus
The College of Wooster–Matthew Broda, Assistant Professor of Education

This course is designed to study contemporary issues in education: their theoretical, political, and social backgrounds, their current status, and ways to make decisions about them and inform practices regarding them. This course examines topics relevant to teachers at all levels including discipline; effective professional relationships; roles and responsibilities of various school personnel; collaborative teaching and learning; needs of the individual learner; multicultural education; legal and ethical implications of teaching; school finance; educational technology; professionalism; standards and accountability; and school reform. 

Environmental Science

Environmental Education - Click to view syllabus
Allegheny College–Thomas Eatmon, Jr., Assistant Professor of Environmental Science

What is environmental education and why is it important for building a sustainable future?  Can environmental education affect change in our abilities, attitudes, and actions as related to human-environment interactions?  An examination of these questions is the central focus of this course.

Hispanic Studies

Cultural Survival: Resisting the Legacy of Colonialism in the Americas - Click to view syllabus
Macalester College–Margaret (Molly) Olsen, Associate Professor of Hispanic and
Latin American Studies

Students in this course trace the historical trajectory that connects early modern colonialism with contemporary struggles for cultural survival in selected sites of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, and North America. Historical texts, testimonial documents, and maps help us understand how and why cultures and languages have been threatened in the Americas, particularly among peoples of Native American and African descent. Students also examine colonial and postcolonial visual arts and verbal and performative expressions that contain strategies of resistance against dominant culture. A key learning component is students' collaboration with Latino, Native American, and African American cultural organizations in the Twin Cities.

Humanities (Core Curriculum)

Exploring Community in Our Towns:  The New Hampshire Town Meeting - Click to view syllabus
New England College–Maura MacNeil, Professor of Writing

Co-taught with Inez McDermott, Associate Professor of Art History
This course examines the traditions of the New Hampshire town meeting process through a cross-disciplinary lens in order for students to broaden their understanding and concept of community, civic engagement, and participatory democracy. Specifically, students engage with local politicians, artists, writers, and academics to understand the complexity and dynamics of the decision making process in communities using the New Hampshire town meeting structure as a model.

Leadership Studies

Leadership and Civic Engagement - Click to view syllabus
Morehouse College–Melvinia Turner King, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies & Interim Executive Director of Leadership Center
This course introduces students to the academic study of leadership from both theoretical and practical perspectives, as well as a variety of settings. Leadership as a field is shaped by many disciplines such as business, sociology, psychology, political science, religion, and philosophy. The course includes educational innovations to advance civic engagement, such as thematically linked learning communities, community-based research, collaborative projects, service-learning, mentored internships, and reflective experiential learning where knowledge and skills from the course must be implemented and practiced.

Political Science

Democratic Theory and Practice - Click to view syllabus
Swarthmore College–Ben Berger, Associate Professor of Political Science

This class combines normative political theory (to determine how U.S. democracy ought to operate), empirical political science (to assess how U.S. democracy actually does operate), and community-based learning with a range of community partners in a socio-economically diverse area (to seek ways in which together we might close the gap between theory and practice). 


Civic Engagement Toolkit for Legislative Process - Click to view syllabus
Earlham College–B. Welling Hall, Professor of Politics and International Studies; Plowshares Professor of Peace Studies

The course is designed to help students learn about Congress from the perspective of a Congressional staffer. Students develop a portfolio of writing samples to use in applying for internships and entry level legislative positions.
This course is cross-listed in International Studies and Peace Studies.

Religious Studies

Death, Burial, and the Afterlife: Historical Engagement in Urban Cemeteries - Click to view syllabus
Rhodes College–Milton Moreland, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Archaeology

In this course students learn how rituals and beliefs develop and change, and also are involved in a local cemetery restoration project that helps them realize practical outcomes from our study of the past. Throughout the semester, they actively think about historical cemeteries in the city of Memphis and plan projects related specifically to a large cemetery that was founded by a group of African American families in 1876.

Science (Core Curriculum)

Environmental Health Issues - Click to view syllabus
Chatham University–Barbara Biglan, Associate Professor of Education

This course addresses the connection between health and environment including environmental epidemiology, toxicology, policy, disease, and water, air, and soil quality.  The work of scientists to discover, assess, and reduce exposure and risk to environment health problems is explored. 

Social Science

What is Africa to Me? Black Diasporic Encounters - Click to view syllabus
Hampshire College–Christopher Tinson, Assistant Professor of African American Studies

Recognizing the value of a complex diasporic lens that includes race, gender, and class, this course introduces students to some of the diasporic encounters that African descendants have experienced from the Harlem Renaissance to Hurricane Katrina.

Social Work

Organization and Community Intervention - Click to view syllabus
Widener University–Marina Barnett, Associate Professor of Social Work

This second course in the Social and Economic Justice sequence builds on the conceptual areas of the first course, but now moves the student into the domain of advocacy, policy change, and community practice. The course provides the student with the opportunity to understand community and communities, analyze community problems, formulate community level interventions, and develop advocacy skills appropriate to such tasks.  


Colonialism, Racialization, and Renewal: Indian Nations of Southern California - Click to view syllabus
Pitzer College–Erich Steinman, Assistant Professor of Sociology

This course critically examines higher education as a site of decolonizing struggle within settler societies such as the United States. This course studies colonization and decolonization, the cultural specificity of knowledge production, the educational experience of indigenous peoples, and differences between Western and indigenous ways of learning and knowing. This class engages in the "unsettling" of settler frameworks and identities, thus integrating institutional and personal aspects of Pitzer's relationships with the Indian Nations that are our neighbors and hosts.

Gender and Sexuality - Click to view syllabus
Hendrix College–Lisa Leitz, Assistant Professor of Sociology
This course examines how social institutions such as the state and legal system, the family, education, religion, and mass media shape gender and sexuality on the individual, interactional, and institutional levels. We pay particular attention to social inequality and systems of power, including gender & sexuality's relation to race, class, and other systems of stratification. The course includes a civic engagement project where students conduct group projects that include research into a community problem regarding gender/sexuality and in connection with community leaders develop a product to help with that issue.

Political Sociology - Click to view syllabus
Dillard University–Winona Somervill, Professor of Sociology

An introduction to political sociology is grounded in the use of "the sociological imagination."  An examination of theoretical perspectives and research methodologies used in political sociology is followed by an opportunity for student learning through civic engagement. With the support of the chief city economist, for example, students compare New Orleans' budgets prior to the Hurricane with those after the Hurricane.          

Research Methods for Sociology - Click to view syllabus
Bates College–Emily W. Kane, Professor of Sociology

This course is a practical introduction to research methods used by sociologists, including survey research, content analysis, participant observation/field research, and qualitative interviewing. The assumptions of various approaches to social science research are considered, along with application of methods of collection and analysis for both qualitative and quantitative data.  These methods are explored through a community-based research project in the Lewiston community, offering students the opportunity to learn more about a specific social issue in our community and to contribute to addressing it through research linked to existing community efforts/organizations. During the Winter 2011 semester, the community-based research project focuses on food security.


Community-Based Theater and Civic Engagement - Click to view syllabus
Ursinus College–Domenick Scudera, Professor of Theater

In this course, students examine the history, theory, and practice of a variety of community-based theaters, and design and execute performance work tailored specifically to local communities. Students assess particular needs in under-represented communities or communities in conflict, gain the skills to address those needs through community-based performance practices, and become knowledgeable and responsible artists engaged with their local communities.

Urban Studies

Immigrant Communities in the City - Click to view syllabus
Eugene Lang College, The New School­–Laura Y. Liu, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies

This course examines immigrant communities in the urban environment, ranging from mixed migrant neighborhoods to well-established enclaves. The course takes New York City as its primary case study with a focus on the intersection of immigration and labor as expressed in immigrant political activity. Students engage in term projects shaped in collaboration with community partner(s) actively involved in immigrant communities and neighborhoods.

Women's and Gender Studies

Gender and Health in Cross Cultural Perspective - Click to view syllabus
Spelman College–Monica Melton, Assistant Professor of Women's Studies

This course examines current thinking about the politics of women's health and well-being by exploring the major issues and topical areas in the field of gender and health. Theoretically, the course is grounded in multi-racial feminism, black women's activist strategies, and health narratives.

Introduction to Women's Studies -- Domestic Violence in Kentucky - Click to view syllabus
Berea College–Linda Strong-Leek, Professor of Women's and Gender Studies & Associate Vice-President of Academic Affairs
This required course for Women's and Gender Studies majors focuses on both a general introduction to the discipline, and more specifically, the issue of domestic violence within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. While the national statistics for domestic violence remain at 1 in 4 women, in Kentucky, 1 in 3 women are victims of domestic violence. Students are asked to think about this issue and ways in which we may decrease the incidence of domestic violence in the Commonwealth of Kentucky through legislation and a recognition of the issues that contribute to the higher incidence within our state.