Courses with a Community Partnership

What is unique about service learning is that it offers direct application of theoretical models. Here are our current courses with a community partnership.

BIOL 187: HIV-AIDS: Science, Society and Service

This course covers the molecular biology of HIV infection, the biochemistry of antiviral interventions; and the causes and impact of the global HIV-AIDS pandemic, including the interrelationships among HIV-AIDS, prejudice, race, and stigma. Includes a community service project in partnership with local AIDS organizations.

For more information, please contact Professor Haushalter at

CSCI 124: User Interface Design

This course is an introduction into both human-computer interaction and user-centered design. It is for students interested in designing computer systems that are both useful and usable for solving real-world problems. You will learn about four core principles of user-centric design: user and task analysis (needs finding), ideation, prototyping, and user testing (iterative refinement).

Additionally, we will discuss the latest advances in cognitive and social psychology, HCI, UX technologies, and graphic design in an attempt to answer the questions:

  • Who is your user?
  • What makes for a natural, intuitive user experience?
  • What makes design beautiful?
  • What are our ethical and social responsibilities as designers?

Through a series of design investigations, you will work in teams to design applications that solve real problems facing our local community in a way that uniquely caters to specific user groups. In partnership with the newly established Hixon Center, this semester’s design theme will be Sustainable Environmental Design. Students will work with the Hixon Center to identify local experts and organizations that will help them understand the environmental challenges and needs faced by local community members. Teams will have the opportunity to present their designs at Claremont’s Earth Day Celebration and will compete in a design challenge that will be judged by local community members and experts in environmental sustainability.

For more information, please contact Professor Boerkoel at

POST 179: Bicycle Revolution

This course explores the challenge of creating bike-friendly cities, using this as a window into broader themes surrounding the politics of urban change.  Each week we will ride along local bike routes, meeting with officials and advocacy groups from nearby cities, in addition to longer field trips on two Saturdays.  Course readings will draw on urban planning, political science, comparative public policy, urban sociology, public health, and cultural geography. The course is designed for students from all backgrounds and levels of biking experience. Capstone projects will offer analysis, design proposals, or other original contributions of value to community leaders.  Enrollment by permission of instructor.

For more information, please contact Professor Steinberg at

RLST 179D Activism, Vocation, Justice

Many powerful justice and community rights movements have been built on religious foundations. Likewise, many individuals have found their call to fight injustice, to alleviate suffering, or to improve their corner of the world in religious or spiritual practice. In this course, students will combine community engagement work with their class work; learning about justice, vocation, and service from diverse thinkers and reformers who have found religious meaning in their activist or service work, or who have interpreted doctrine, theology, or liturgy as demanding action from them. Readings will offer a range of models for thinking about the relationships between religious practices and activism (broadly construed), particularly at the intersections of religious difference, race, gender, sexuality, economics, global politics, and class.

For more information, please contact Professor Erika Dyson and community educator]

RLST155: Religion, Ethics and Social Practice

Faculty Instructor: Zayn Kassam,

Community Educator: David Mann,

Meeting time: Wednesdays 1:15-4:00 p.m. from January 16th

Through direct experience, related readings, structured reflection, and class discussion, this course seeks to develop informed responses to the following questions: What are the religious, ethical, and/or simply humane elements that motivate and sustain our social practice? How does our present commitment to justice become a lifelong vocation of participation and leadership in effective social change? How does our own personal development foster or inhibit our capacity to deal effectively with injustice? To what extent do factors such as class, gender, and ethnicity determine our assumptions about the human condition and our own role in society? We will address these questions in an intergenerational partnership of students from The Claremont Colleges and residents of Pilgrim Place and other Elders similarly committed to social justice. The class aims to develop basic skills in social/ethical analysis, community organizing, and social innovation. All undergraduates will spend 4-5 hours/week in a community placement. Our work together will culminate in undergraduate proposals for a three–to-nine month project of social change in the U.S. or abroad.

PHIL 39: Women, Crime and Punishment

Faculty Instructor: Susan Castagnetto, or

Meeting time: Pomona College, 2:45–4:00 p.m., Thursday

The course explores issues of crime and punishment through a lens of gender, also considering intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality. We will examine issues that bring women into the criminal justice system and that face them in prison and on release, the impact of the system on mothers and families, and the gendered structure of prison, among others. In addressing these themes, we will also consider the nature and purpose of punishment; the current state of the criminal justice system, including the War on Drugs, mass incarceration and the growth of the prison industrial complex; how we define or conceive of crime; the relationships between the criminal justice system and other social and political institutions; whether prisons should be reformed or abolished; changes being made; and how we can make change. Readings are from a variety of sources and disciplines, including scholarly work, pieces from the media, work by advocacy organizations, and firsthand accounts by incarcerated writers. We will also consider current issues related to class themes. The class includes participation in a multi-session writing workshop with women incarcerated at the California Institution for Women (CIW) on six Tuesday evenings (alternate weeks throughout the semester). Alternative community-based activities are under development, including a gardening project at CIW that will take place on Saturdays.

POLI 135: Political Economy of Food

Faculty Instructor: Nancy NeimanAuerbach, (

Meeting time: Scripps College, Wednesday, 2:45 to 5:30 p.m.

This course will examine social, cultural, racial and gendered power relations around the production, distribution, consumption, and waste of food in the United States and globally. It analyzes contemporary practices in our industrial food system as well as the legacy and impact of global colonial structures on the production, consumption, and meanings of food. The course will also take a look at alternative food practices and will explore such practices through community engagement projects, including Hope Partners at Amy’s Farm, Huerta del Valle community garden, and Crossroads Meatless Mondays program.