Santa Clara University

Bringing the Community to the Classroom

In the College of Arts and Sciences, the curriculum is closely tied into community-based learning—and professors are as excited as the students when it comes to participating.

Jill Goodman Gould, senior lecturer in the Department of English since 1986, has found a way to bring her class to the community and vice versa.

"From the beginning, I was looking for ways to do something deeper and more sustained than just one-to-one tutoring," she says. "I wanted to integrate it fully into a class, and that is why I took the [Arrupe] faculty workshop in 2002."

As part of her English classes, she and her students collaborate with one of the Arrupe partners, Downtown College Prep in San Jose, to teach the high school students English courses. DCP, founded in 2000, is a nonprofit charter high school for struggling students. The SCU students help the high school kids with their work for their regular or AP English classes, but what makes this unique is that the SCU students are teaching their own course, called Writing for College.

"The SCU students help with the class planning, work in small groups with the students, respond to written work, and do one-on-one tutoring," Goodman Gould says. "More generally, they are an inspiring presence in the class, modeling college classroom behavior and intellectual excitement, but also just making friends and helping out."

To incorporate their learning into the classroom, the SCU students reflect on their reading and experiences at DCP. They are also working on a final research essay about an educational issue that interests them, such as dealing with gender issues in the classroom.

"It is important to me that SCU students share their good fortune and do something useful with their skills and talents. It is a way to get out of themselves, off campus, and into the larger community."