All first-year students admitted to the Community-Based Research Scholars program will enroll in an exclusive CBRS section of Complex Problems and the CBRS Lab during their fall semester. In the spring semester, students will enroll in a section of the Community-Based Research course, where they will engage in a group research project in partnership with a local non-profit.
All first-year CBRS students will enroll in IDIS-101 and choose one section of CORE-106.
CORE-106 Food Justice Matters
Professor Celeste Davis
This course explores food justice issues in the twenty-first century. Students think critically about topics such as whether food marketing to children should be restricted, whether agricultural subsidies should be eliminated, and how stakeholders incorporate healthful eating practices into health policies. Using local farms, local non-profit agencies, the department of health, and other related organizations, students explore what Washington, DC and states are doing to address food justice in their communities.
CORE-106 Ethical and Political Dimensions of Climate Change
Professor Todd Eisenstadt
With an overwhelming scientific consensus favoring the prevalence of theories that accelerating changes in the earth’s climate exist and are due to anthropogenic causes, the problem of conveying the need for policy changes to mitigate and adapt to global warming is becoming one for social scientists as much as for natural scientists. This course explores the gap between scientific consensus and political mobilization, seeking to understand the politics of climate change in the U.S., in other countries vital to any meaningful international climate change agreement, and at the international level. We will start by addressing ethical questions about humanity’s interaction with nature and will undertake interdisciplinary approaches to solving problems, inquiry-based learning (meaning a “hands on” approach to solving concrete problems using teamwork and creativity), and more extensive and direct contact with faculty. The course frames the specific policy debates in philosophical terms by considering assumptions about relations between humanity and nature implied in climate change discussions, and also in evolving policy objectives of “mitigation” versus “adaptation.” Students will gain a fundamental understanding of climate change policy (and its obstacles) across a range of nations. We will consider the difference between how authoritarian nations and democracies frame the issue, and how vital “issue framing” is to whether public support is galvanized (or not) for solutions. After considering broad ethical questions about the relationship between humans and the environment and how those may be changing, we consider evidence of climate change and how public policy has addressed this problem (and not addressed it). We review the emergence and evolution of these challenges on the global stage, considering political science theories of public opinion and interest group pluralism and how these affect how positions are aggregated for policy consideration by politicians. Then, we take up the choices of particular nations as a few meet the challenges, and many do not. Special attention will be given to climate change policy in the United States, which has changed dramatically over the past couple of years from Obama to Trump. While the industrialized world has been historically responsible for causing the problem over the last 150 years, scientific evidence suggests we cannot avoid the adverse effects of climate change without reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from both developed and rapidly growing developing countries (e.g. India and China). These considerations of national positions vis-à-vis international climate change negotiations will come to the fore in the last section of the course, where students will apply policy and governance knowledge directly through in-class United Nations simulations.
IDIS-101 Community-Based Research Lab
Professor Noemi Enchautegui-de-Jesus or Ms. Amanda Harrison
In this multidisciplinary course, taken by all first-semester CBRS students, learn the principles of community-based learning, community-based research, and the fundamentals of social science research. This course also provides students with training on topics such as diversity, privilege, team dynamics, public speaking, interviewing, and other topics designed to prepare students for successful community-based learning and research projects. This course includes community visits.
SPA-340: Community-Based Research
Students engage in research to inform solutions for a pressing community problem, identify avenues to effect social change or evaluate program impact with a local non-profit in the Washington, DC area. Students learn how to design a research study, collect data (surveys, interviews or focus groups), analyze data and present research findings to the non-profit partner. This course works with one non-profit partner for the entire semester. Past Research Partners: United Planning Organization, Maya Angelou Public Charter School, LAYC Career Academy and Thrive DC.