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Community-integrated classes engage students

Feb 20, 2012   |   by Amanda Young   |   The Dartmouth

In order to instill a sense of active citizenship in Dartmouth students, Helen Damon-Moore, director of service and educational programs at the Tucker Foundation, collaborates with College faculty to incorporate community-based research and learning into classes in various departments. Projects have ranged from building a play structure for Lyme Nursery School as part of a course on engineering design to consulting with Rwandan refugee women in “Women, Gender and Development.”

“Dartmouth students need real-world perspective,” Damon-Moore said, explaining that engaging classes offer a “window” into Upper Valley life that changes students’ perspectives on the reading, writing and lectures they experience in the classroom.

Prior to Damon-Moore’s arrival at the Tucker Foundation four years ago, no coordinated efforts to implement community work in courses existed. By consulting individually with professors and working with the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning to execute workshops, Damon-Moore helps faculty to implement community-based learning techniques....

...“Engineering Design Methodology and Project Initiation,” a required course for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in engineering, incorporates community-based elements, according to engineering professor Douglas Van Citters.

“The broadest definition of engineering is the application of science and math to meet societal need,” Van Citters said.

The class is currently conducting both regional and international projects, including working on a waste disposal system for a village in Haiti and a recycling system for Stonyfield Farm in Londonderry, N.H. Students have also worked on improving patient tracking and condition monitoring at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Van Citters said.

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