ACE Courses & Independent Study

"Engagement in this sense is not just a proxy for learning but a fundamental purpose of education."- Lee Shulman, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching  

Academic Civic Engagement at Carleton College is an approach to education focusing on community-based learning, community-based research, and service learning.

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Applied ACE

Spring 2017

  • Philosophy of Children
    The bulk of this course is devoted to preparing for, and then making, visits to a first grade class at Greenvale Park Elementary School to teach philosophy to children via kids' books.
  • Pre-Student Teaching Practicum: Teaching Reading in the Content Areas
    This course prepares students for their student teaching placement by providing licensure candidates with an opportunity to work in schools and community organizations related to schools and to reflect on that experience in a classroom setting.
  • Educational Psychology
    Human development and learning theories are studied in relation to the teaching-learning process and the sociocultural contexts of schools. Observing learning activities in elementary and secondary classrooms and working with students.
  • Methods of Teaching Mathematics
    Methods of teaching mathematics in grades 7-12. Issues in contemporary mathematics education. Regular visits to school classrooms and teaching a class are required.
  • History Beyond the Walls
    This course will examine the world of history outside the walls of academia. Looking at secondary-school education, museums, and public policy, we will explore the ways in which both general and specialized publics learn and think about history.
  • Intermediate German
    Continuation of the study of basic structural patterns of the German language, and the reading and discussion of longer texts, films, and other media from German-speaking cultures.
  • Methods of Sociological Research
    The course is concerned with social scientific inquiry and explanation, particularly with reference to sociology and anthropology. Topics covered include research design, data collection, and analysis of data.
  • EDUC Senior Seminar
    This seminar focuses on a contemporary issue in American education. Some off campus work with public school students and teachers is an integral part of the seminar.
  • Environment and Society
    This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to a number of the pressing environmental changes currently facing human societies around the world.
  • Statistical Consulting
    Students will apply their statistical knowledge by analyzing data problems solicited from the Northfield community. Students will also learn basic consulting skills, including communication and ethics.
  • Archaelogical Methods
    This course involves real archaeological fieldwork, and students will have an opportunity to contribute to the history of the local community while learning archaeological methods applicable all over the world.
  • Designing for Diversity: Anthropology and New Technologies
    Students in this course learn to apply anthropology to study user experience in order to propose ways to make technologies more inclusive and culturally sensitive.
  • The Ethics of Civic Engagement
    In this course, students will discuss the ethical questions that arise when they engage with others in research, service, organizing, or policy work.
  • West African Drum Ensemble
    The ensemble will use indigenous instruments and an African approach to musical training in order to learn and perform rhythms and songs from West Africa.
  • Advanced Ceramics
    This course is a continuation of either or both beginning courses, focusing on sophisticated handbuilding and throwing techniques and advanced problem-solving in ceramics.

Fall 2017

  • Looking at Animals
    Students learn to watch media critically, asking questions about production, distribution, and audience, while exploring perspectives in lesser-known and experimental works.
  • Measuring and Evaluating Social and Ecological Systems
    We study measurement, monitoring, and management of prairie and forest ecosystems in local agricultural use and restoration projects. Much of the course occurs on site in field trip locations.
  • Mining and the Environment
    Students will explore rich and intersecting issues that arise with this type of resource extraction in landscapes at risk, globally and in Minnesota.
  • Nonfiction
    Students engage with diverse modes of nonfiction production including essayistic, experimental, and participatory forms and create community videos in partnership with CCCE and local organizations.
  • Soot, Smog and Satanic Mills: Environment and Industrialization
    In this course, we trace the history of industrialization through the lens of the impact of this major social and economic change on the built and natural environment and on public health.
  • Spain Today: Recent Changes through Narrative and Film
    Through contemporary narrative and film, this course will examine some of these changes and how they contribute to the creation of what we call Spain today.
  • Intermediate Spanish
    Spanish 204 integrates academic study with public service. The language classes team up with the Northfield public schools to help both Northfield and Carleton students through service-learning.
  • Senior Seminar
    As part of their senior capstone experience, majors will work together in teams (typically four to seven students per team) on faculty-specified topics to design and implement the first stage of a project.
  • Statistical Consulting
    Students will apply their statistical knowledge by analyzing data problems solicited from the Northfield community. Students will also learn basic consulting skills, including communication and ethics.
  • Race, Immigration, and Schools
    This course explores the important role that public schools have played in the American national imagination as the way to socialize students about what it means to be American and to prepare them to participate as citizens in a democracy.
  • New African Migrations
    This course introduces students to African and African diaspora studies through an examination of new African migrations.
  • Introduction to Environmental Geology
    An introduction to geology emphasizing environmental health and humankind's use and abuse of soil, water, fuels, and other resources. Field trips and laboratories included.
  • FOCUS Sophomore Colloquium
    This colloquium is designed for sophomore students participating in the Focusing on Cultivating Scientists program. It will provide an opportunity to participate in STEM-based projects on campus and in the community.
  • Educational Psychology
    Three hours outside of class per week are devoted to observing learning activities in public school elementary and secondary classrooms and working with students alongside learning about the sociocultural contexts of schools.
  • Cognitive Development in Childhood
    This Argument and Inquiry seminar will focus on the cognitive changes experienced by children in the preschool and elementary school years. Weekly observation at local day care centers or elementary schools will be a required course component.
  • Civic Engagement, Social Change, and the Participatory Video
    Students will understand how to produce an effective short participatory video and they will also learn practical tools and techniques used in visual persuasion.
  • Health Psychology
    Students in groups will critically examine the effects of local policies on health outcomes and propose policy changes supported by theory and research.
  • Environmental Ethics
    This course is an introduction to the central ethical debates in environmental policy and practice, as well as some of the major traditions of environmental thought.

Winter 2018

  • Adolescent Cognitive Development: Developing an Identity and Life Plans
    An examination of the recent literature on how adolescents develop their value system, explore their goals, begin to make a life-framing decision, establish new relationships, and discover answers to the question "Who am I?"
  • Sports and Globalization in London and Seville: Introductory Coaching Practicum
    Students will practice methods of teaching skills, structure, and strategies of team-oriented sports in a cross-cultural setting.
  • Icons for All: A Public Humanities Practicum
    Students will focus on all aspects of mounting a successful public exhibition. They will develop the didactic materials for an exhibition on icons, including educational materials for K-12 and programming and docent training for adults.
  • Statistical Consulting
    Students will apply their statistical knowledge by analyzing data problems solicited from the Northfield community. Students will also learn basic consulting skills, including communication and ethics.
  • Anthropology of Health and Illness
    This course examines patients, practitioners, and the social networks and contexts through which therapies are managed to better understand medical systems as well as the significance of the anthropological study of misfortune.
  • West African Drum Ensemble
    The ensemble will use indigenous instruments and an African approach to musical training in order to learn and perform rhythms and songs from West Africa.
  • Advanced Ceramics
    This course is a continuation of either or both beginning courses, focusing on sophisticated hand building and throwing techniques and advanced problem-solving in ceramics.
  • Intermediate Spanish
    Through discussion of literary and cultural texts and films, as well as a review of grammar, this course aims to help students acquire greater skill and confidence in both oral and written expression.
  • Immunology
    This course will examine the role of the immune system in defense, allergic reactions, and autoimmunity.
  • Physical Systems: Mechanics and Relativity
    The course moves beyond the Newtonian framework to address topics including special relativity and also selected applications to atomic, nuclear, and particle physics.
  • FOCUS Sophomore Colloquium
    This colloquium is designed for sophomore students participating in the Focusing on Cultivating Scientists program. It will provide an opportunity to participate in STEM-based projects on campus and in the community.

Spring 2018

  • The Ethics of Civic Engagement
  • Visions and Visionaries: An Introduction to Visual Communication Analysis and Media Archeology
    This course, focusing on both theory and practice, will provide Spanish students interested in the representation of global issues, social movements, and activism the opportunity to explore the field of visual communication.
  • Gender, Globalization and War
    This course examines the relationship between globalization, gender and militarism to understand how globalization and militarism are gendered, and processes through which gender becomes globalized and militarized.
  • West African Drum Ensemble
    The ensemble will use indigenous instruments and an African approach to musical training in order to learn and perform rhythms and songs from West Africa.
  • Geology of Soils
    The study of soil formation, and physical and chemical properties of soils especially as related to geomorphology and land use. Laboratories and field trips will emphasize how to describe and interpret soils.
  • FOCUS Sophomore Colloquium
    This colloquium is designed for sophomore students participating in the Focusing on Cultivating Scientists program. It will provide an opportunity to participate in STEM-based projects on campus and in the community.
  • Statistical Consulting
    Students will apply their statistical knowledge by analyzing data problems solicited from the Northfield community. Students will also learn basic consulting skills, including communication and ethics.
  • Pre-Student Teaching Practicum: Teaching Reading in the Content Areas
    The course provides a theoretical and practical foundation for helping secondary teachers learn to provide specific instructional support for secondary readers.
  • Educational Studies Senior Seminar
    This is a research and design seminar for educational studies concentrators. It focuses on a contemporary issue in American education.
  • Methods of Social Research
    The course is concerned with social scientific inquiry and explanation, particularly with reference to sociology and anthropology. Topics covered include research design, data collection, and analysis of data.
  • Intermediate German
    Continuation of the study of basic structural patterns of the German language, and the reading and discussion of longer texts, films, and other media from German-speaking cultures.
  • Environment and Society
    This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to a number of the pressing environmental changes currently facing human societies around the world.
  • Sustainable Development
    This course is designed to give students the ability to recognize and address sustainable development issues in any context.

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Theoretical ACE

Spring 2017

  • African American History II
  • EDUC Senior Seminar
    This seminar focuses on a contemporary issue in American education. Some off campus work with public school students and teachers is an integral part of the seminar.
  • History Beyond the Walls
    This course will examine the world of history outside the walls of academia. Looking at secondary-school education, museums, and public policy, we will explore the ways in which both general and specialized publics learn and think about history.
  • The Ethics of Civic Engagement
    In this course, students will discuss the ethical questions that arise when they engage with others in research, service, organizing, or policy work.
  • The Political and Cultural History of the Cuban Revolution
    This course studies the political and historical background that sustained the Cuban revolution. We will read historical, political, philosophical, and cultural texts to understand this process and the fascination that it commanded around the world.
  • Economics of the Public Sector
    This course provides a theoretical and empirical examination of the government's role in the U.S. economy. Emphasis is placed on policy analysis using the criteria of efficiency and equity.
  • Exile in Literature and History
    This course examines four different moments in the history of Spanish exile: the mass expulsion of Jews in 1492, that of Moors converted to Christianity in 1609, the Liberal exile in 1823, and the Republican exile in 1939.
  • Democracy and Dictatorship
    An introduction to the array of different democratic and authoritarian political institutions in both developing and developed countries.

Fall 2017

  • Talking about Diversity
    This course prepares students to facilitate peer-led conversations about diversity in the Critical Conversations Program.
  • Global-Local Commons: Sustainability, Diversity & Self-Gov't in Complex Social-Ecological Systems
    This course introduces students to the study of commons, particularly natural resources commons. The dilemmas of commons governance often reveal links between "governments" and "governance" as well as the global stakes of bettering local livelihoods.
  • Hinduism: An Introduction
    This survey course introduces students to this great variety, including social structures, rituals and scriptures, mythologies and epics, philosophies, life practices, politics, poetry, sex, gender, Bollywood, and some 330 million gods and goddesses.
  • Democracy and Dictatorship
    An introduction to the array of different democratic and authoritarian political institutions in both developing and developed countries.
  • U.S. Consumer Culture
    Students will explore the development of consumer culture through such topics as advertising and mass media, the body and sexuality, consumerist politics in the labor movement, and the response to the Americanization of consumption abroad.

Winter 2018

  • Contemporary Issues in Critical Criminology
    Students focus on the United States with topics including white collar crime, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, mass incarceration and other transformations in punishment, prisoner reentry, and the risk of recidivism.
  • Student Conversations about Diversity and Community
    Students complete readings and engage in experiential exercises that invite them to reflect on their own social identities and their attitudes toward race, gender, class, and sexuality.
  • Democracy and Dictatorship
    An introduction to the array of different democratic and authoritarian political institutions in both developing and developed countries.

Spring 2018

  • The Ethics of Civic Engagement
    In this course, students will discuss the ethical questions that arise when they engage with others in research, service, organizing, or policy work.
  • Civic Engagement, Social Change, and the Participatory Video
    Students will understand how to produce an effective short participatory video, and learn practical tools and techniques used in visual persuasion—an essential learning outcome for an era in which video/image consumption is growing exponentially.
  • Mapping the World Before Mercator
    Students will examine the functions and forms of medieval European and Islamic maps and then look closely at the continuities and transformations in map-making during the period of European exploration.
  • Educational Studies Senior Seminar
    This is a research and design seminar for educational studies concentrators. It focuses on a contemporary issue in American education.
  • Democracy and Dictatorship
    An introduction to the array of different democratic and authoritarian political institutions in both developing and developed countries.

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