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 include a redesigned introductory course for our Tisch Scholars and a credit-bearing fieldwork practicum that frames Scholars’ work in local communities.

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 offer three popular courses focused on different ways to effect change: organizing, political campaigns, and public service.

Spring 2017 Courses

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)

Instructor: TBD
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.

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.

Below are the courses Tisch College cosponsored in Fall 2016:

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.