Each year, Tisch College creates, cosponsors, or otherwise supports undergraduate courses that help students acquire the knowledge, skills, and values needed to engage in productive civic lives. In 2016-2017, these included a redesigned introductory course for our Tisch Scholars and a credit-bearing fieldwork practicum that frames Scholars’ work in local communities.

Fall 2017 Courses

TCS 094-01 / ELS 194-09 / PS 188-05 – Peace through Entrepreneurship

Professor: Steven R Koltai, A76, F78 (Visiting Lecturer, Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution)
International political instability, unrest and violence most often stem from massive rates of mostly youth unemployment, and the most effective way to address this is by spurring entrepreneurship—the greatest single, private sector job-creator. This course is based on this central theory, covering a range of related topics including theories of international economic development, impact investing, microfinance, and practical operations of the international development space. A veteran of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institute, Warner Bros. Inc., McKinsey & Co., and the Department of State, Prof. Steve Koltai pulls from his professional background to create a unique classroom experience. This course will particularly appeal to those interested in working in the international economic development sphere, and will rely heavily on Prof. Koltai’s recent book, “Peace through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development.” Open to Junior and Senior undergraduates.

TCS 094-02 / PS 118-03 – Topics in American Politics: Massachusetts State Government: How the Sausage Gets Made

Professor: Stan Rosenberg (President of the Massachusetts Senate)
Learn from Massachusetts Senate President, Stan Rosenberg, about the process, roles of key players and strategic thinking involved in creating public policy addressing today’s most pressing issues. This class will operate as the legislature itself by identifying a chosen problem, creating and debating possible solutions from the perspective of key stakeholders and interest groups, and drafting and passing comprehensive legislation. Course methods include focus on experiential learning in addition to discussion and debate, research and policy writing. Class time will be enhanced by guest speakers and visits to the Massachusetts State House.

TCS 094-03/ELS 194-05 – Philanthropy, Social Enterprise, and Community

Professor: Nancy Lippe
Philanthropy plays many roles in our communities, from alleviating crisis situations to encouraging strategic, systemic change. Nonprofit organizations are the intermediaries connecting donors to community needs. Working with a grant from former Tufts Trustee Nathan Gantcher, students have the opportunity to practice philanthropy by serving as a young adult grant-making board to award $25,000 to local nonprofits in the cities of Medford, Somerville, Cambridge and Boston. Students will learn about different styles of philanthropy and effective nonprofit management; how to think about and evaluate philanthropic impact; how to create and implement a community project; how to read nonprofit financials and assess nonprofit organizational health and potential; sources of philanthropic news, and thinking; and trends in philanthropy and nonprofit management.

TCS 094-04 / FMS 094-04 / ENVS 195-01 – Media and Environment: Creating Change

Professors: Julie Dobrow & Ninian Stein
Now, more than ever, the environment needs engaged informed and skilled advocates. This class will explore current issues ranging from the Dakota Pipeline, to deforestation, to pollution of the oceans. to climate change, and give you ways to sharpen your skills to use the media for getting out effective and targeted messages. We’ll be bringing in a diverse group of important environmental advocates, organizers, filmmakers and journalists as guest speakers who will tell their stories of creating environmental awareness and change. Our focus includes the powerful role media can play in giving voice to underrepresented voices and illuminating issues of environmental justice. Learn to make a difference in local, national and global communities on the environmental issues that are most pressing.

CH 99-03 –  Special Topics: Science and Civic Action

Professor: Jonathan Garlick
This course teaches students conceptual approaches and practical skills needed to effectively impact change on science-based issues of societal consequence. This course will link science issues to our professional, personal, civic and moral responsibilities and will equip students to make critical choices on divisive, contemporary science issues. Future scientists and engineers will learn to be active citizens by acquiring skills that build civic capacities, including advocacy and communication on complex, science issues. Students from the humanities and social sciences will learn skills indispensable for positive civic and democratic engagement that will guide critical decisions on science issues. This course aims to maximize opportunities for engaged citizenship and social action, as well as to strengthen inclusivity through pluralistic and dialogic approaches to learning.

VISC 0145 / AMER 0094 – Mass Incarceration and the Literature of Confinement

Professor: Hilary Binda
This seminar on the literature of incarceration will meet most weeks at the state prison in Shirley, MA (Tisch College will provide transportation). The course will be composed of Tufts students and incarcerated students in equal numbers. Together, students will read, discuss, and write on literary and sociological texts directly and indirectly pertaining to the experience of confinement—understood in different senses—as well as mass incarceration. Inside and outside students will work in small groups to complete an interdisciplinary project of the group’s invention and design. Throughout the semester, students will learn about the structuring ideologies of race, class, gender-sexuality, and education in relation to the US criminal justice system. Through a weekly focus on interactive learning across cultural, social, and literal barriers and on self-reflection, and because the course incorporates literary texts, students will develop qualitative knowledge about confinement, power, and resistance in the face of social injustice and structural inequalities.

Class size limited and signature required. Please email hilary.binda@tufts.edu as soon as possible to set up a required in-person conversation

PS 118-01 – Topics in American Politics: Rules, Strategies & Outcomes

Professor: Eitan Hersh
This survey course of U.S. elections will connect the dots from laws (the Constitution, case law, state and federal statutes) to strategies (by political parties, candidates, interest groups, and donors), and from strategies to outcomes (voting, public opinion, activism). No pre-requisites. All are welcome.

PS 118-02 – Topics in American Politics: Information, Technology & Privacy

Professor: Eitan Hersh
This wide-ranging course focuses on how politics affects information technologies and in how information affects politics and governance. Topics include oversight, government leaks, free speech, surveillance, collective action, voter decision-making, campaign targeting, Uber, Amazon, antitrust laws, and more.

Tisch Scholars Courses

The following courses are exclusive to participants of the Tisch Scholars program.

Civic Identity, Reflection, and Action: Tisch Scholars Foundation (EXP-0111)

Instructor: Grace Talusan

Through this course, Tisch Scholars will explore the connections between identity and systems of privilege, power, and oppression, and will apply their learning directly to their fieldwork. Students will learn to apply an asset-based approach to community work, and will gain skills in dialogue and deliberation.  The coursework will allow students to critically reflect on the service learning work they are engaging with at their partner sites, and share ideas on how to address social issues in the community. Each semester that they participate in the program, Tisch Scholars will work 8 hours per week at a community-based placement.  Scholars will continue learning about Tufts partner communities and forge meaningful, reciprocal partnerships with community members through service and collaboration.

Tisch Scholar Fieldwork Practicum (EXP-0112)

Instructor: Sara Allred

Each semester that they participate in the program, Tisch Scholars work 8 hours per week at a community-based placement. Scholars will continue learning about Tufts partner communities and forge meaningful, reciprocal partnerships with community members through service and collaboration.  Scholars will meet several times per semester with their peers in the program to critically reflect on the work and learning they are engaging with at their partner sites, and share ideas on how to address social issues in the community.

Past Courses

The following courses were cosponsored by Tisch College in the 2016-2017 academic year. In Fall 2016, we were excited to offer two unique courses taught by experts in media and politics that analyzed the presidential election in the broader context of how politics are covered and conducted in America. In Spring 2017, we offered three popular courses focused on different ways to effect change: organizing, political campaigns, and public service.

Organizing for Social Change (PS 118-02)

Instructors: Daniel LeBlanc + Kenneth Galdston
This course will trace community organizing to some of its early roots in the United States, as well as drawing connections between community organizing and other movements, including the labor, civil rights, and environmental movements. Presentations and discussions with other Boston area community organizers will be included as will be opportunities to visit with and observe local community-based organizations.

Massachusetts State Government: Learning While Doing (PS 118-03)

Instructor: Ben Downing
Students will be placed in one of a dozen State House offices—for a legislator, committee, in the governor’s office, or for an executive branch agency—to serve in a policy-focused internship. These experiences will be supplemented with a class built around discussion of shared experiences, as well as on the interplay between policy and politics. The primary goal is for students to develop real world skills and a deeper understanding of how politics and policy intersect to create law, regulatory programs, and social change.

How Campaigns, Communications, and Organizing Can Impact Our World (PS 118-05)

Instructor: Doug Rubin
Conventional political wisdom is dead. The proliferation of media channels has radically transformed the way we communicate and the way we campaign for public office, impacting traditional campaign tactics and opening the door for different strategies and candidates. This course will explore how the way we communicate and campaign has changed, and the impact those changes have on our political process. We will include guest lectures from campaign professionals, elected officials, and grassroots organizers to illustrate the transformation of the modern political campaign, and discuss / debate the impact these changes will have on the future of our electoral system. We will also use the 2016 Republican and Democratic Primaries as a case study, and closely analyze the tactics and strategies used by the campaigns as they move through the 2016 election.

Innovative Social Enterprises (ELS-0141)

Social entrepreneurs bring innovative, practical solutions to social problems. Entrepreneurs are opportunity oriented, resourceful, value-creating change agents. Social entrepreneurs are similar, but they focus on public problems. Students will consider the role of social enterprises in improving society, and learn to develop a business plan to create enduring social impact: Identify social impact model, plan needed activities and resources, conduct market research and create a marketing plan, build a team, prepare a financial model, and create a plan to attract the support the mission requires.

Topics in American Politics: Race to the White House in a Modern Media Environment (PS-118-26)

Instructor: David Gregory, Tisch College Professor of the Practice; Julie Dobrow, Co-Director of the Film and Media Studies Program
David Gregory, Tisch College Professor of the Practice and former NBC News White House Correspondent and Moderator of “Meet the Press,” takes students inside the historic 2016 presidential campaign. Students look at the campaign side: how candidates devise strategy, use social media and television advertising, and target voters. On the media side, students go inside the newsroom to learn how campaigns are covered and candidates are scrutinized. What is the best way to question a candidate? How do reporters ensure fairness in their reporting? Does the media play an outsized role in the campaign by driving the narrative for voters? Students examine the presidential debates in real time and experience the final stretch of the campaign by studying the importance of get-out-the-vote efforts, polling, and the electoral map, and how these aspects get covered by the press. Students also get some historical perspectives about how campaigns reflect where the country is at a particular moment, and try to determine what a presidential campaign and its coverage in the press shows us about how a candidate would lead the country.

Topics in American Politics: Changing America, Changing Politics (PS 118)

Instructor: Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network and member of the Tisch College Board of Advisors
This course examines large-scale and ongoing changes in American politics, with particular focus on demographic, economic, geopolitical, media and technological dynamics and trends that are creating a new political era in America.  Emphasis is placed on discussing how outsiders advocating a “new politics,” such as Obama, Sanders and Trump, have been disrupting recent presidential elections. Experienced political strategist Simon Rosenberg, A85, teaches the seminar, and most class sessions include contemporary experts and practitioners brought in from Washington, D.C., and around the country.

Community Mental Health (CH99)

Instructor: Carolyn Rubin
Students examine the complex factors that contribute to mental health and the effects of community and family support and culture.  This class will look at the experiences of specific populations such as racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ youth to highlight resilience and community-based strategies for health promotion and overall community wellness. This class centers the perspective and voices of mental health consumers/peers in this work and what innovative strategies are being developed for those in recovery.