Tisch College’s Project PERIS (Partnering for Economic Recovery Impact through Service), supports service learning courses working to address community-identified priorities for Somerville’s economic recovery.  Led by Tufts faculty and Somerville community co-educators, these courses enrich undergraduate and graduate learning experiences through collaborative instruction, reflection and meaningful community engagement.

Fall 2011 Courses:

Homelessness and Health
Kevin Irwin, Lecturer of Community Health, School of Arts and Sciences
Mark Alston-Follansbee, Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC)  
        
In this yearlong seminar course in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), students embark upon a project in Somerville following the principles of CBPR. This presents students with the opportunity to engage in a diverse set of research activities, including: qualitative field methods, survey research design, data analysis and reporting, the translation and sharing of research findings and grant writing. Much of this participatory work will be done through service, such as working at food pantries, supporting the work of case managers, fundraising, etc. Student work will be concentrated upon issues of homelessness, housing and food insecurity in Somerville. The primary community partner will be the SHC. The course will begin with background readings and discussion in homelessness, immigrant health, CBPR and research ethics.

Urban Borderlands
Deborah Pacini H., Professor of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences
Warren Goldstein-Gelb, The Welcome Project

This community-based research seminar integrates academic and experimental learning into an ongoing (since 2001) project documenting the history and development of Cambridge and Somerville’s immigrant, particularly Latino, communities. This semester, students are working with The Welcome Project, a Somerville-based non-profit that sponsors a range of projects and activities in support of the city’s immigrants. Collaborating on their YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City project, students will help promote and support immigrant-run restaurants in Somerville. This collaboration will train students to design and conduct community-based research projects while simultaneously assisting The Welcome Project by increasing their contact with immigrant restaurant owners and engaging them in the YUM project.

Building Community Collaborations for Children’s School Success: Evolving SomerPromise
Christine McWayne, Associate Professor of Child Development, School of Arts and Sciences
Nomi Davidson, Somerville Public Schools

This course develops analytical and community planning skills as students explore the complexity of cross-agency community collaborations. Through this course, students learn to articulate what enhances and hinders these partnerships, evaluate the ways in which communities jointly shape the relationships and analyze the role that community-based organizations play in child, youth and family development. The course asks students to consider how to overcome barriers in this work and to complete semester long projects that: attend to the complexities inherent to cross-agency collaborations within urban contexts, enhance dialogue within the Somerville provider community, and provide tangible deliverables to the SomerPromise initiative.

Spring 2011 Courses:
Homelessness and Health
Qualitative Skills for Planning and Public Policy
Families, Schools and Child Development
Field Projects: Planning and Practice
Immigrant Youth Within Developmental Systems

Fall 2010 Courses:
Homelessness and Health
Foundations of Public Policy and Planning
Realizing the Promise of Urban Education
Urban Borderlands: Learning in and from the Community

Spring 2011

Homelessness and Health
Faculty: Kevin Irwin, Community Health
Community Co-Educators:
Mark Alston-Follansbee, Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC)
Lisa Brukilacchio, Somerville Community Health Agenda (SCHA)              

This is a yearlong seminar course in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). The scope and definition of the course is intentionally broad. Students will embark upon a project in Somerville following the principles of CBPR. This will present students with the opportunity to engage in a diverse set of research activities, including: qualitative field methods, survey research design, data analysis and reporting, the translation and sharing of research findings and grant writing. Much of this participatory work will be done through service, such as working at food pantries, supporting the work of case managers, fundraising, etc. Student work will be concentrated upon issues of homelessness, housing and food insecurity in Somerville. The primary community partner will be the SHC. The course will begin with background readings and discussion in homelessness, immigrant health, CBPR and research ethics.

Qualitative Skills for Planning and Public Policy
Faculty: Justin Hollander, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Community Co-Educator: Meridith Levy, Somerville Community Cooperation (SCC)

The objectives of this Spring 2011 course are to aid students in: increasing their knowledge and understanding of research question development and methodology selection; and developing a set of qualitative skills for answering those questions.
Through the advancement of an ongoing partnership with Somerville Community Corporation called Open Neighborhood/InTeractive Somerville this course will serve residents in an around Gilman Square as they prepare for land use changes associated with the Green Line Extension. The course will also advance current efforts to involve members of the Somerville High School community in the same planning process.

Families, Schools and Child Development
Faculty: Christine McWayne, Child Development
Community Co-Educator:  Dr. Sarah Davila, Somerville Public Schools

In this Spring 2011 advanced undergraduate/graduate seminar, students will examine the complex relationships between family and school systems, with a focus on urban public education settings serving culturally diverse communities. We will be examining family-school connections, by taking a look at the nature of both systems as they relate to child and adolescent development. The course begins with an introduction to developmental-ecological-systems perspectives. We will then consider existing theories and taxonomies regarding family involvement in education, review empirical studies testing aspects of these theories, and consider school policies and practices. Case studies from the main text will be used to generate questions and discussion. Throughout the course, we will pay particular attention to the roles that culture, immigration, and racial and ethnic diversity play in establishing effective partnerships between families and schools within low-income, urban settings for the benefit of children’s learning and overall development.

Field Projects: Planning and Practice
Faculty: Rachel G. Bratt and Robert Russell
Somerville Clients:

  • City of Somerville, Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development
  • Groundwork Somerville
  • Shape Up Somerville, Somerville Health Department
  • Somerville Community Corporation (SCC)

This Spring 2011 core first-year course for M.A. in Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Field Projects connects five-member student consulting teams with priority projects sponsored by community groups, agencies and firms involved in urban development, environmental quality, land-use planning and social justice. Student teams serve as consultants to community clients, with overall supervision provided by UEP faculty. Students participate in weekly classroom activities that refine skills needed in the field.

Immigrant Youth within Developmental Systems
Faculty:
Jonathan Zaff, Child Development
Community Co-Educator:
  Warren Goldstein-Gelb, The Welcome Project

This spring, the Child Development Department and The Welcome Project of Somerville are working with a group of independent study students to continue two projects begun in the Fall of 2010. Through the First Generation project, Tufts students will regularly meet with youth members of The Welcome Project’s Liaison Interpreter Program of Somerville (LIPS). The students will also examine the gaps that the First Generation students often face in college preparedness and make recommendations for how The Welcome Project, the schools, and the community could more effectively bridge the gaps that the Tufts students identify. In the second project, Tufts students will provide direct support to The Welcome Project’s Parents Group. Two key issues the parents have identified are improved communication and engagement with the schools and specific ways to help their children in schools. The Tufts students will also attend group meetings to reflect on their field experience and to connect their experience to broader developmental theories and to the broader youth development agenda in Somerville. 

Fall 2010

Homelessness and Health
Faculty: Kevin Irwin, Community Health
Community Co-Educators:
Mark Alston-Follansbee, Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC)
Lisa Brukilacchio, Somerville Community Health Agenda (SCHA)               

This is a yearlong seminar course in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). The scope and definition of the course is intentionally broad. Students will embark upon a project in Somerville following the principles of CBPR. This will present students with the opportunity to engage in a diverse set of research activities, including: qualitative field methods, survey research design, data analysis and reporting, the translation and sharing of research findings and grant writing. Much of this participatory work will be done through service, such as working at food pantries, supporting the work of case managers, fundraising, etc. Student work will be concentrated upon issues of homelessness, housing and food insecurity in Somerville. The primary community partner will be the SHC. The course will begin with background readings and discussion in homelessness, immigrant health, CBPR and research ethics.

Foundations of Public Policy and Planning
Faculty:
Justin Hollander, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Penn Loh, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning    
Community Co-Educator: Meridith Levy, Somerville Community Cooperation (SCC)

This Fall 2010 course provides a critical overview of the basic elements of planning and public policy formation and application, involving a range of environmental and social policy issues. Materials are aimed to give students an introductory understanding of key spatial and non-spatial issues and challenges in planning and public policy.

Select issues are utilized in each area to emphasize major ideas and debates regarding planning and public policy. Additionally, the materials and presentations are aimed to help students understand how planning and public policy are both distinct and overlapping.

Realizing the Promise of Urban Education: Understanding the Complexities of School Reform through the Lenses of Literacy and Human Capital
Faculty: Joan Dabrowski, Child Development
Community Co-Educators: Warren Goldstein-Gelb and Maria Landaverde, The Welcome Project

This Fall 2010 advanced undergraduate/graduate course will explore the complexities of K-12 school reform using the lenses of literacy achievement and human capital. It will explore how schools can best provide literacy instruction for students in kindergarten through grade twelve, how school leadership impacts the comprehensive goals for students and teachers and how teacher knowledge and their relationships with students and families impact instruction.  Additionally, the course will look “outside” of the school to understand more fully how K-12 literacy achievement is influenced and impacted by families, communities and the larger society.

Urban Borderlands: Learning in and from the Community
Faculty: Deborah Pacini, Anthropology
Community Co-Educators: Warren Goldstein-Gelb and Maria Landaverde, The Welcome Project

This Fall 2010 community-based research seminar integrates academic and experiential learning in an ongoing (since 2001) project documenting the history and development of Cambridge and Somerville’s Latino communities. Student research will contribute to a larger project sponsored by the Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) examining how the planned Green Line will impact the neighborhoods adjacent to the new transit stops, in particular its immigrant residents. Urban Borderlands students will focus specifically on Union Square and adjacent areas of East Somerville, where most immigrants and immigrant-oriented businesses and organizations are located. Students working independently or in teams will design projects focusing on the businesses, churches, community centers, organizations or other immigrant-related institutions that may be affected by the arrival of the Green Line.  Students will conduct and transcribe in-depth interviews with relevant individuals, and collect other form of documentation (e.g. photographs) that will be synthesized and interpreted in a final report that will be presented to SCC at the end of the semester.  All final reports and accompanying documentation will be added to the growing Urban Borderlands oral history archive at Tufts Digital Collections and Archives.

View descriptions of 2009-2010 courses