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  • Experiential Learning

The Value of Experiential Learning

At Roger Williams University service learning is integrated into our Core Values, making the world our classroom. In the Department of History and American Studies, faculty members take this idea to heart, and are committed to putting it into praxis. The art of Experiential Learning is to bring the classroom (theory and history learning) to the real world (practice/praxis). Through Experiential Learning students how ideas they encounter in the classroom play out in the real world, using the knowledge of historical, social, political and social justice to understand their experiences.

Social Justice in Central America

Professor Autumn Quezada-Grant (History) and Professor Kerri Warren (Biology) partner together in a course classed Social Justice in Central America that looks at issues of social justice revolving around public health.  We take students from the classroom into the real world as we study the history of countries like El Salvador and then work in a small community in their local clinic. This class-for-credit grew out of a club experience.  For a few years now the FIMRC club traveled with sponsors to FIMRC sites, this year Dr. Quezada-Grant and Dr. Warren made this volunteer experience a credit-bearing opportunity for students in public health and history.

Social Justice in the Dominican Republic

Professor Autumn Quezada-Grant (History) and Professor Paola Prado (Journalism) are partnering together to teach two courses in the Dominican Republic devoted to the study and presenation of social justice in the Winter session of 2015. In this study abroad program, students will come face to face with the challenge of economic disparities and quesitons of social equity as students are pushed out of the classroom so as to apply theory to practice in examining the social realities in the Dominican Republic. Students work on a number of applied projects where they interview and engage with community members. Part of the learning experience for our students is that they understand how to interact with others outside of their own culture and community in a sociall just manner. In the Journalism course (Dr. Paola Prado), the group will explore and practice newsgathering and reporting, while in the History course (Dr. Autumn Quezada-Grant) students will study the historical and cultural dimensions of social justice in the island of Hispaniola. 

Revolution in Tunisia

In the summer of 2012, Professor Quezada-Grant and History/Secondary Education double-major Emily Masseo traveled to Sousse, Tunisia to participate in a summer seminar with students of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions in the midst of the Arab Awakening. Professor Quezada-Grant and Emily Masseo actively participated in this seminar titled "Revolution, Democracy, and Transitional Justice" sponsored by the University of Gronegin in Denmark and the Dutch Embassy and partook in public meetings with local labor leaders of the UGTT, political leaders from the Islamist Party as well as human rights organizations such as Amnesty International as well as the Prime Minister of Tunisia and the leader of the Enhadha Party, Rachid Ghannouchi.

Living and Learning at RWU

In Fall 2013, Professor Laura D'Amore will lead freshmen in a Human Diversity Living and Learning Community.  Freshmen will elect to live together in a dorm, and to take a common course, in this case Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies, and will develop their knowledge of the study of diversity through co-curricular activities and field trips throughout the semester. 

Professor Debra Mulligan will lead freshmen in a Living and Learning Community in East Asian Studies, through which students will explore East Asian history and culture in the region, focusing on religion and philosophy, art and architecture, political and economic development, and the role of tradition.

Professor Sargon Donabed will lead freshmen in a Living and Learning Community focused on Core 102: History and the Modern World.  Like the others, freshmen will elect to live together and take Core 102 as their common course.  Co-curricular activities such as Social Justice week and movie nights will enhance the experience of pairing traditional education with hands-on experience.

In the Fall of 2014, Professor Autumn Quezada-Grant will lead a Living and Learning Community focused on Core 102: History and the Modern World. As freshman elect to live and study together, we will explore issues of democratic access and social justice on the local, national and global leves. Studentw will engage and participate in social justice forums on campus through speaker engagements and events as well as move outside of the campus community to look at social justice issues in the greater Providence area.