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Fall 2020

Humans of UA: Reimagining the Margins of the Archive unclassHumans of UA: Reimagining the Margins of the Archive unclass


Tu 2 - 3:15 p.m. (in class)
Th 2 - 3:15 p.m. (online)

Dr. Hillary Nunn (English)
Leianne Neff
Vic Fleischer

Working with the University of Akron Archives and the Summit County Historical Society, this unclass will use historical materials and social media to bring often overlooked voices from UA’s past into today’s conversations.

We will treat the archive as a resource for crafting stories that speak to a wide range of audiences today. We'll imagine the lives, experiences, and social concerns of people currently hidden in the archives, bringing them to life through blogs, Instagram, and Twitter. In doing so, we’ll turn to popular projects like _Humans of New York_ and the New York _Times_ “Overlooked no More” retroactive obituary series for models of our work.

The Rhetoric of Catharsis unclassThe Rhetoric of Catharsis unclass


Tu/Th 2 - 3:15 p.m.

Juliana Amir, MFA (English)
Dr. Jordan Renna (Biology)
Dr. Lance Svehla (English)
Olivia Honeck, RN

The Rhetoric of Catharsis is a workshop unclass that asks students to get as close to their personal experiences (including distress and anxieties) as they feel comfortable and safe doing in order to explore the ways that writing together can serve both academic and therapeutic ends. This course will facilitate the unfolding of a scholarly community through production and reflection on narrative, and narrative revisioned as art.

UA Everyday unclassUA Everyday unclass
Sesquicentennial History of Student Life at UA


Tu/Th 2 - 3:15 p.m.

Dr. Kevin Kern (History)
Leianne Neff
Vic Fleischer

Students will use 150 years of the student experience at UA as a lens through which to view not only the history of the university, but also major social, cultural, economic, and political trends in modern U.S.

Spring 2020

Deep Dumpster DiveunclassDeep Dumpster Dive unclass
The value of understanding the waste-scape


Lisa Beiswenger (Anthropology)
Andrew Henry (Physical Facilities Operations Center)

What does our world looks like from the vantage point of trash? How will knowing that help us better reduce waste production? This unclass will explore sustainability, waste, and waste management by designing and implementing a waste audit on UA's main campus.

Open to all, we especially hope for a genuine mix of skills and perspectives. Thus we encourage social science, environmental science, applied math, engineering, geography, systems management, economics, writers/humanities, communicators/educators, and art/design-oriented students to join in this 3-credit opportunity to contribute to practical improvements and a better world.

Urban Bio-Justice unclass Urban Bio Justice unclass

3850:365 or 3100:495

T 1:15 - 3:45 p.m.

Dr. Dani Jauk (Sociology and Criminal Justice)
Dr. Petra Gruber (BRIC and Biomimicry)

The project is about connecting the idea of community gardens with recovery, education, food security and health. A concrete area in Akron in a designated ‘food desert’ will serve as a case study location to design a learning and healing garden. We would like to explore and apply the theoretical concepts of environmental justice, food justice, and criminal justice in concrete urban space and translate findings into applied bio-design for social justice. We may use a collective mapping methodology (iconoclasistas) that was developed within the intersection of art and social activism to co-create a specific concept integrating design and program.

Acid-Free History unclass Acid-Free History unclass


TH 1:15 - 3:45 p.m.

Dr. Jodi Kearns (Institute for Human Science and Culture)
Lizette Barton (Institute for Human Science and Culture)
John Endres (Institute for Human Science and Culture)
Dr. Cathey Faye (Cummings)

Stories hidden in the archives are waiting to be told. Students in this unclass find and publish the tales and mysteries hidden within the thousands of acid-free folders house at UA’s Cummings Center. In a fully hands-on venture, students engage in archival research, historical and stylistic writing, and sound recording and editing to publish the first season of Acid-free History: a Podcast.

Suitable for students in all majors; may be of particular interest to students of communications, English, history, museums & archives, psychology, and sound engineering.

Design Your Career unclass Design your Career unclass


W 3 - 4:45 p.m.

Dr. Heather Braun (English)

Working with tools and concepts from Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute for Design, this unclass will use a variety of activities to tap into and expand skills for developing stronger direction and purpose. Students who join this team will need to embrace ambiguity and develop a bias toward action as they build collaborative models for personal and professional efficacy. Participation will include conducting interviews with both high school students and seasoned professionals from a wide variety of disciplines about their career choices. From the research, we will co-design a workshop prototype for high school seniors with an aim to enhancing their ability to frame their own direction and purpose.

All the World’s a Classroom unclass All the World's a Classroom unclass

5500:480 or 3100:495-610

F 10:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Dr. Lara Roketenez (Biology/Bath Field Station)
Dr. Gary Holliday (College of Education)

This unclass will focus on techniques from the field of Environmental Education and will help students build connections from nature to their classroom (whether formal or informal). Students will learn to use and become certified in pre-existing nature-based curriculum like Project WILD, Growing Up Wild, Aquatic WILD, Project WET, and Wonders of Wetlands. We will also focus on how to deliver impactful STEAM content to various audiences, and determine the best way to assess these types of interactions. We will meet at the University of Akron Field Station in Bath Nature Preserve. Several classes will entail visiting expert environmental educators from other local agencies (i.e. Summit Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, etc.) Students may participate in on-site field trip experiences with local K-12 schools as well.

Appropriate for Education, Biology, Environmental Science, and Museum and Library Science majors, among others.

Well-being and Wider Wisdom unclass Well-being and Wider Wisdom unclass


W 2:45 - 4:05 p.m.

Carolyn Behrman (Anthropology)
Ashley Rini (Pre-Health Advisor)

In this unclass students with interests in health from any major will become a research team for hands on experience with research framing, data collection, and problem-solving in close collaboration with community partners to better understand and improve community health in the city of Akron. Potential partners include SUMMA, NeoMed, Neighborhood Network, ASIA Inc., and the City of Akron.

Unearthing Akron’s Past, The Forgotten Dead of Schneider Park unclass Unearthing Akron’s Past, The Forgotten Dead of Schneider Park unclass


T TH 10:15 - 11:30 a.m.

Joshua Gippin (Joshua Tree Productions collaborating with School of Communications and Department of Anthropology)

This is a documentary filmmaking unclass. Participants will collaborate on an interdisciplinary team with diverse skill sets: video editing, motion graphics/animation, graphic design, research & writing, music scoring, marketing & public relations in this post-production endeavor. Topic? The realization that bodies are buried in a local park leads to revelations about Akron’s past. It is a story shrouded in mystery, about parts of our history that some might prefer to leave buried and forgotten.

Fall 2019

Artful Akron Artful Akron unclass poster


M W 2:45 - 4 p.m.

Dr. Hillary Nunn (English)

Capitalizing on current revitalization projects on Main Street, this unclass explores Akron's arts scene as it unfolded in the past and as it exists today. You will explore archives and physical spaces downtown, creating on-site displays about Akron's past and present as well as a mobile-friendly website. Class members will use what they learn to expose the layered history of Akron's artistic and cultural scene.

Salsa: History In Motion unclass Salsa: History In Motion unclass poster

3400:373 Special Topics in History

M W 2:45 - 4 p.m.

7600:372 Video Production

M W 5:45 - 7 p.m.

7900:111 World Dance (1 credit - starts 10/25/19 - 2nd 8-week session)

F 1 - 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Martha Santos (History), Lenin A. Guerrero Maldonado (Professional Salsa Dancer and Director of Salcity of Angels Dance Company, Cleveland), Juan E. Contreras (School of Communication)

Salsa, an energetic, rich, and vibrant music and dance of Latin American origins, also has strong ties to long histories of globalization, enslavement, resistance, and cultural creation in Latin America and with immigration processes and cultural identities in the United States. This unclass makes the embodied practice of salsa dancing a central component of the learning experience. Students will contribute to breaking the bounds of traditional academic, field-centered, teaching and learning approaches by analyzing, reading, writing, and experiencing the history, aesthetics, and movement of salsa dancing. Students and faculty will also develop a creative language to reflect on their personal and group discovery of the history and motion of salsa.

Design Your Career unclass Design Your Career unclass poster


T 3 - 5:30 p.m.

Dr. Heather Braun (English) and Akron Public Schools

Working with tools and concepts from Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, this unclass helps students tap into skills and activities that motivate and engage them, an important step toward developing stronger direction and purpose. UA students will learn to embrace ambiguity and a bias toward action as they build collaborative models for personal and professional efficacy. Students will conduct interviews with APS students and Akron-area professionals from a variety of disciplines about their career choices. Using their research, they will co-design workshop prototypes for high school seniors. After selecting and testing the best prototypes, UA mentors will facilitate their own design thinking workshop for APS students, helping them discover the activities that inspire them to work, lead, and express themselves. Near the end of the course, UA mentors will introduce APS seniors to the college and job application process and share their experiences with various majors and internships. Giving students a shared set of tools they can use to navigate from high school through college is likely to increase student retention and success after graduation.

A Lens on Eugenics in Akron: Documentary Filmmaking unclass A Lens on Eugenics in Akron: Documentary Filmmaking unclass poster

(course’s official title Introduction to Anthropological Data)


M W 10:15 - 11:30 a.m.

Joshua Gippin (Documentary Filmmaker, Joshua Tree Productions), Dr. Tim Matney (Anthropology), and Dr. Carolyn Behrman (Anthropology/EXL)

This is a two-part series of unclasses on documentary/ethnographic filmmaking.

Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, Gippin will lead two unclasses producing a full documentary film exploring eugenics in America and using materials on the former Summit County Infirmary and Schneider Park’s unmarked graves. In Fall 2019, students will learn documentary film production as they gather social science data and apply their critical thinking skills to shape the contents of the documentary. Gippin will lead students through the production process with the unclass forming a production crew prepping and filming various interviews and b-roll using equipment provided by School of Communication and/or Gippin’s company, Joshua Tree Productions. The Spring 2020 course will be based in the School of Communication and will help students hone post-production and marketing skills as the documentary moves toward completion. Like all unclasses, this is open to interested students from any field.

Crossing Borders/Creating Community unclass Crossing Borders/Creating Community unclass poster


M W 2:45 - 4 p.m.

Dr. Robert L. Peralta (Sociology) and Nicole Kille (The Center for International Students and Scholars)

Do you like meeting students from different backgrounds and cultures? Do you want to build and flex your leadership skills? Do you want to play a lasting and collaborative role in improving the university community by bringing together international and native students? The Crossing Borders Unclass uses a team-based, problem-centered format to 1) explore the borders separating students and dividing the campus from the community, 2) engineer ways to overcome those borders, and 3) present findings to members of the university community. This class will provide students with research skills and report writing, presentation, critical thinking, personal/interpersonal development, and reflexive practice experience. Finally, research tells us that engaging with people from different cultures helps individuals reduce their implicit biases, fosters compassion and empathy, and contributes to the building of stronger communities, which is the overall goal of the course!

Spring 2019

Exploring Land Ethic unclass Exploring Land Ethic unclass poster


F 10:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Course will meet at Martin Center for Field Studies and Environmental Education 4240 Ira Rd.

Dr. Shanon Donnelly (Geosciences) and Dr. Lara Roketenetz (Biology, UA Field Station) with support from community partners

This unclass will explore the concept of a land ethic, paying particular attention to the landscapes of the University of Akron’s Field Station properties, including Bath Nature Preserve and Panzner Wetlands Wildlife Reserve. A variety of perspectives from the sciences and humanities will be employed to dig into these two particular places in the context of Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic, while requiring students to develop their own philosophy regarding land use and conservation. Students will learn to use methods from biology and geography to better understand communities and will develop facilitation skills that will be used to lead a community conversation at the end of the semester.

Solving BIG (Business, Industrial, and Government) Mathematical Problems unclassSolving BIG Mathematical Problems unclass poster


T TH 1:15 - 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Malena Espanol (Math), with support from Dr. Shanon Donnelly (Geosciences), and community partners

In this unclass students will work in interdisciplinary teams to translate questions sourced from BIG partners into mathematical problems. Students will interact closely with BIG partners, learn about the context of the questions, present their research finding to them, make recommendations as applicable, and submit a final research report summarizing their work. This unclass challenges students to apply knowledge and hone skills necessary to succeed in a career in BIG.

Migrating Home unclassMigrating Home unclass poster


M W 11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Dr. Evi Gorogianni with support from Dr. Mohsini (Anthropology) and faulty from History, Sociology, Law, and International Institute of Akron.

This unclass focuses on the concepts of home and homemaking, along with the material complexities of human migration. Home is where the heart is, so it is said. However, beyond our loved ones, ‘stuff’ plays an integral role in the feeling of comfort we commonly associate with home. But, what happens when one has to move? How does one recreate home especially when circumstances do not allow for one's things to follow along? How does one choose what to bring with them to make them feel at home in a new environment? How is who we are and how we represent ourselves in a new place tied to and expressed through material culture?

Students will also take up questions of the materiality of migration, the relationships that develop between humans and objects through experiences of migration. We will explore histories of local migrant groups and establish relationships with community partners from the resettling refugee and immigrant communities, as well as from the community of international students at the University of Akron.

Course-based projects will seek to help the greater Akron community better understand the lived experiences of migrants and the everyday consequences of migration.

I Promise: A Community Service-Learning Think Tank unclassI Promise unclass poster

5500: 480

TH 2:30 - 5 p.m.

Course will meet at the I Promise School.

Dr. Gary Holliday (Education), Dr. Rebecca Erickson and Dr. Kathy Feltey (Sociology), I Promise School faculty, students, and other partners

This unclass focuses on a challenge in programming at the I Promise School (IPS) in Akron – to create a strong and sustainable service-learning initiative for elementary school children and their families that aligns with the mission and goals underpinning the School. An interdisciplinary team of UA students and faculty will engage with IPS students and teachers and community partners. They will employ relevant social science research tools to assess needs and frame viable programming to offer the I Promise School leadership for possible implementation in 2019-2020.

#metoo: Analysis, Action, and Power in Social (Media) Justice unclass#metoo unclass poster


T TH 11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Dr. Amanda Booher (English), with support from Dr. Mary Triece (Communication), Tracy Thomas (Law), and community partners

In October 2017, the #metoo movement ignited on social media, with charges initially leveled against Hollywood executives, but spreading quickly to encompass countless arenas, including politics and academia. This course will examine and respond to #metoo, and the underlying issues of power, along with the motivating problems of sexual harassment, sexual aggression, and sexual assault.

The first part of the course will explore the exigence, definition, and a/effects of the #metoo movement. We will use various lenses and theories, including rhetoric, gender studies/intersectionality, philosophy, law, and social media. We will do this through readings, discussion, and engagement with academic and community partners who can bring other experiential perspectives to the conversation.

For the second part of the course, students will determine individual or group projects. Students will learn not only techniques for analysis of social justice problems, but techniques for responding to and making concrete (if incremental) changes in these problems.

Restoration Ecology unclassRestoration Ecology unclass poster


M 1:15 - 5 p.m. (lab)
W 1:15 - 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Randy Mitchell (Biology) and community collaborators

The Cuyahoga Valley is an important touchstone in the national discussion of how damaged ecosystems can be restored. With Akron in the center of that valley, it is only fitting that UA students should participate actively in this topic. In this unclass an interdisciplinary team of students from Biology, Geology, Environmental Sciences, and related disciplines will work with academics and restoration professionals. Along with classroom learning, these students will be working hands-on to both monitor and maintain existing urban restorations (Haley’s Run), and to plan and evaluate new restoration (Adam’s Run).

Big Data in Sports unclassBig Data In Sports unclass poster


T 4:15 - 6:45 p.m.

Dr. Matthew Juravich (Sport Studies), faculty member(s) from Economics (TBD), the Cleveland Cavaliers, and (hopefully) the Cleveland Indians

The use of analytics by sport organizations provides an opportunity for teams to distinguish themselves from their competition. As such, the extent to which organizations analyze and utilize data in unique ways can create competitive advantage. But questions arise regarding how much weight the numbers (data) carry in informing the decision making process. This unclass will introduce students to the use of big data in professional sport organizations to inform decision-making. Students, faculty and industry partners will use the semester to explore core methods and issues, and to develop a proposal for a degree track in this evolving field.

Environmental Security: Community Renewable Energy in Akron unclassEnvironmental Security unclass poster


TH 4:15 - 6:45 p.m.

Terry O’Sullivan (Political Science and Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security); Engineers for Sustainability student org. (Josh Loveland, president); community partners Akron Solar Project (Tom Ghinder, coordinator), The Sustainer project (Steve Lederer, Knight Foundation funded), Dom Bruno, UA Electrical Engineering graduate

Students are expressing growing interest in renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) generally, as well as in analyzing the technical, geographic (including urban planning), political, and social opportunities and challenges for feasibly promoting renewables such as solar power in Akron. This course would challenge students to find ways to evaluate the potential that such power sources could bring down utility costs and be available to facilitate resilient disaster responses. (A major power outage like that experienced by the region more than a decade ago will offer potential data.) Through engagement with active energy experts in the community, students will develop or join projects that test their emerging ideas.

Spring 2018

Unearthing the Paranormal: Ghosts of Akron's unclass

Spring 2018

Dr. Mira Mohsini (Anthropology) - This unclass took students outside the typical boundaries of the classroom to explore stories of ghosts and hauntings in Akron. Students interviewed Akron residents about their experiences of paranormal activities and presented their findings to the public. Some questions to be considered by this unclass included: How do stories of ghosts and experiences of hauntings shape people’s perceptions of their environment? What is real and what is imagined? How do we know the difference? In addition to working on a final class project, students learned about the fundamentals of fieldwork and gained skills in analyzing data.

Civil Dialogues, Civil Communities: An unclass in Civil Engagement

Spring 2018

Dr. Toja Okoh (History) in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Lee (Sociology) - Taking the University of Akron’s annual series on “Rethinking Race” as a point of inspiration, this unclass sought to expand the conversation to cover broader themes in the context of civil discourse, and extend this discourse into our immediate Akron community. The lack of understanding and will to engage alternative or opposing visions in our public life has reached a toxic level. This was made apparent in the 2016 election season. The primary goal of this unclass was to collectively reflect, imagine and forge the future of our communities – both locally and nationally. Read critical voices from the past and present to help reflect and engage in the current moment, and to inspire engagement in immediate communities.

Digital Humanities in the Archives unclass posterDigital Humanities in the Archives unclass

Spring 2018

Digital Humanities in the Archives unclass posterDr. Hillary Nunn (English) and Dr. Jodi Kearns (Center for the History of Psychology) - This unclass focused on experiential learning through a collaboration with the Archives of the History of American Psychology, housed at The Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP). Students will worked in teams to 1) make images of the CCHP's immense postcard collections available online, in properly cataloged, searchable format with rich metadata, 2) transcribed the handwriting on these postcards, and 3) interpreted these materials through a series of blog posts and research reports, which were made available on the CCHP website and through UA's IdeaExchange Institutional Repository.

Synergistic Teams unclass

Spring 2018

Lauren Houser (CBA) - This unclass focused on cultivating effective individuals within contemporary business teams. The class had two goals. First, to provide students with opportunities to hone disciplinary skills and gain leadership experience by challenging them to work together on interdisciplinary teams to solve complex, real world problems. Second, it challenged students to create the basic materials for a future class, Coding for Non-Coders.

Open Science for Clean Water unclass
Open Science for Clean Water Natural Science Honors Colloquium

Spring 2018

Dr. Hunter King (Polymer and Biomimicry) in collaboration with Kelly Siman (Biomimicry) - Introduced issues concerning water resources around the world, and explore present open-source hardware and citizen-science based efforts to address them. Students worked on team projects in the classroom and in the field, and informally shared their progress. The Honors Colloquium and the unclasshad 3-4 joint meetings to share work and inspire innovation.

Difficult Dialogues and the Life of Meaning

Spring 2018

Dr. Matthew Lee (Sociology) in collaboration with Dr. Okoh’s (History) unclass - This course provided skills for engaging in difficult dialogs with others and for enriching the meaning in your life. With support from UA’s Center for Experiential Learning,students in this course engaged with students enrolled in another course (“Civil Dialogs, Civil Communities: An Unclass in Civil Engagement”) to put into practice the lessons from social science about transforming conflict and living a life of meaning.

Fall 2017

Applied Research on the Commuter Student Experience at UA unclass

Fall 2017

Dr. Kathryn Feltey (Sociology) - This unclass looked at who are our commuter students? What barriers and pathways does UA present them with? What needs to be improved and what would creative solutions look like? This class takes on this set of questions in a team-based, problem-based format. The goals include learning good research methods, honing specific skills, and working with a diverse group to develop ideas that will make UA culture stronger, more inclusive, and more responsive to commuter students.

TEDx Unclass/Honors Colloquia unclass

Fall 2017

David Flynn, Myers School of Art with support from Anoo Vyas, J.D - In these two Honors Colloquia sections, students explore TEDx from the inside. The TEDx format is a compelling educational tool but in this unclass, students from a range of majors will use team-based, problem-based approaches, to learn about and participate in the creation of TEDx-style events here at UA. This includes discovering and interviewing speakers, and creating and bringing an event to the stage. Students exercise and hone the skills they have and be challenged to learn new skills and step outside their comfort-zones including creating and giving their own “Pecha Kucha” presentation.

Common Hope (Guatemala): Global Citizenship Honors Colloquium unclass

Fall 2017

Juan Contreras, School of Communication - This unclass collaboration with the Honors College takes as its goal a greater understanding of the experience of our place in the global context. Through experiences with Akron’s Global Ties organization which hosts State Department-funded international business and entrepreneurial visitors and International Institute of Akron which helps resettle refugees, students will gain perspectives on the complex flow of people and ideas that Akron participates in. Part of the class focuses on the country of Guatemala specifically with an optional Winter Break trip to the organization Common Hope in Guatemala.

Spring 2017

Strategically Communicating Science: PR & Marketing Planning and Implementation for Student Design Teams unclass

Spring 2017

McKenna Vietmeier, School of Communication with support from Lauren Houser (Business Administration) - The intention of this unclass was to pair students with interests in communication or marketing with Student Design Teams from the College of Engineering. Students in this class got direct, hands-on experience translating STEM concepts and current scientific developments to the public. This vital skill was developed in a structured framework by faculty but undertaken in the field setting of direct engagement with the Engineering Design Teams. Students got real-world experience of value for those entering careers that involve interdisciplinary teams and at the same time they enhanced the potential for success of these competitive UA student teams.

Swimming with the Sharks unclass

Spring 2017

Dr. Amanda Booher, English Department and Elyse Ball, J.D., UA Research Foundation - Student had a hands-on role in determining the medical and scientific innovations of the future. This Unclass connected UA students and the UA Research Foundation (UARF) for the evaluation of UA scientists’ proposals seeking to translate scientific innovations into commercial products. Students worked with cross-disciplinary teams to:

  • Understand and communicate clearly about the development and purpose of the innovation
  • Research and critically analyze the potential and feasibility of the proposal
  • Ultimately recommend awarding up to $100,000 in funding from the UARF to develop the best proposals into commercial products

This unclass challenged students to enhance research, critical thinking, and writing abilities. Additionally, they gained insight into and experience with university and government funding organizations for the sciences and medicine, and invaluable skills for future careers.

Fall 2016

Consequences of Caring unclass

Fall 2016

Dr. Pamela Schulze, Family and Consumer Science with support from Dr. Kathy Feltey (Sociology) - This course invited students from all disciplines to join in a study of the impact of UA students’ care-giving responsibilities on their attendance, resources, and ability to succeed at in college. It involved designing and conducting research, analyzing data and sharing findings.

Reinventing Place: Place-making and the University-City Interface unclass

Fall 2016

Dr. Peter Niewiarowski, Biology and Dr. Matthew Kolodziej, Art with support from Dr. Carolyn Behrman (EXL), Andy Davis (City of Akron), Dr. Petra Gruber (Biomimicry), and Carol Murphy (community) - This course invited students from all disciplines to join in an exploration of the boundaries between UA and the city of Akron in an effort to identify and understand sources of separation/isolation and opportunities for greater integration/synergy. Students worked with community partners as a part of the class.

Skills for Community Engagement unclass

Fall 2016

Dr. Jodi Henderson-Ross, Sociology and Dr. Charlie Waehler, Psychology with support from Dr. Matthew Lee (Sociology) and Dr. Rob C. Schwartz (Counseling) - People often feel they have to “go it alone.” This class focused on skills to empower individuals to act productively within their communities by becoming more centered and self-aware through mindfulness, better at connecting with others through active listening skills, and more adept at advocating for change. Students engaged with community partners to explore the application of these skills.

EXL-Assisted Classes and Teaching-Research Projects Honors Colloquium: The Meaning of Life unclass

Fall 2016

Dr. Matthew Lee, Sociology with support from Mr. Jeremy Lile (Heart to Heart Communications, Inc.) and Dr. Carolyn Behrman (EXL) - This class helped students learn what social science can teach us about how to lead a meaningful and abundant life. The class was supported by EXL and the Knight Foundation, which funded a proposal titled, “Global Learning That Engages the Head, the Heart, the Hands, and, through Ongoing Relationship and Connection, Encourages Students to Call Akron ‘Home.’” Funds were used to partner with local nonprofit (Heart to Heart Communications, Inc.) which offered in-class activities and helped coordinate opportunities to collaborate with leaders in Akron who have created innovative solutions to local problems. The course was designed to help students develop the skills needed to clarify and connect their personal values to their life after graduation.

Organizations, Community, and Social Action unclass

Fall 2016

Dr. Matthew Lee, Sociology with support from Mr. Jeremy Lile (Heart to Heart Communications, Inc.) and Dr. Carolyn Behrman (EXL) - This course provided a workshop to enable students to take an active role in addressing the organizational and community issues that affect social action (defined as the activities of collectives devoted to the realization of shared goals). To achieve this goal, students completed a project in partnership with a community organization. The course emphasized evidence-based interventions at both the organizational and community level in order to facilitate positive social action. The course format incorporated online assignments, on-campus meetings, community site visits, and other community-based activities. The class was supported by EXL and the Knight Foundation, which funded a proposal titled, “Global Learning That Engages the Head, the Heart, the Hands, and, through Ongoing Relationship and Connection, Encourages Students to Call Akron ‘Home.’”

FrontLine Service Project unclass

Fall 2016

Dr. Rebecca Erickson, Sociology with support from Dr. Matthew Lee (Sociology) and Markus Vogl (Myers School of Art) - Since 2008, FrontLine Service (a Cleveland-based behavioral health organization) and the Cleveland Police have worked closely with one another to respond to the needs of children and adults who have witnessed or experienced a homicide. The purpose of this interdisciplinary student/faculty project was to use social scientific methods to document the creation of this inter-organizational collaboration, and the compassionate organizational practices that enable its continued success, with the goal of replicating it within other Ohio communities such as Akron. With support from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation and EXL, an interdisciplinary student team comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students from the social sciences, humanities, and graphic design focused on the marketing and initial research processes associated with the FrontLine Project. Students designed marketing materials associated with the FrontLine Model and the initial research related processes associated with data collection and thematic analysis of interview data.

Extending the Compassion Capability Project – Serving Those Who Serve Others unclass

Fall 2016

Dr. Matthew Lee, Sociology with support from Dr. Rebecca Erickson (Sociology) and Dr. Rob C. Schwartz (Counseling) - This project extended a compassion capability research project that began with two Akron-area behavioral health organizations with funding to Drs. Erickson and Lee from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation. Graduate students from the School of Counseling served as participant observers within their own internship organizations. We sought to better understand the internship experience through the longitudinal use of audio diaries documenting the students’ internship-related experiences and identifying best practices underlying compassion capability.