Course Descriptions

Ecuador: SASS 375A / 575 – Health, Human and Social Development
Register for Fall

Mark Chupp, PhD and Sonia Minnes, PhD

This 3-hour experiencial course provides an integrated approach to the study of the multicultural issues related to policies and services that center around human and community development in Ecuador. Travel to Ecuador for two weeks to experience the capital city, Quito, spend time in the Amazon rain forest, live with a Quichua indigenous family, and spend a day with the Afro-indigenous community. The learning objectives will be accomplished through a series of visits in urban and rural Ecuador that expose you to basic knowledge of the country’s history, politics, economic system, delivery of social and health services, and the unique diversity of Ecuadorian citizens. You will have site visits that include programs in public and private hospitals, HIV/AIDS, education, child welfare, disaster interventions, trafficking in human persons, and U.S. Aid policy. Another highlight is a visit and service learning project with a center for families of young boys that work in the streets of Quito to make money for their families. The center is quite unique in its philosophy and service delivery. Other experiences include shopping at a traditional open air market in Otavalo, the largest in South America, visit to the equator, cultural museums, zip-lining, hiking volcanoes and mountains. You will also have free time in Quito to explore on your own.

India: SASS 375 I / 575 (EECS 342 I) Global Issues, Health, and Sustainability
Register for Fall

Deborah Jacobson, PhD and Sree N. Sreenath, PhD

The 3-hour experiential course is an engineering, health and social work collaboration, which includes a short-term cross-cultural immersion. Travel to Southern India will take place for two weeks during winter break. This course brings together a social work perspective (knowledge, values and skills) to the understanding of technical project assessment, selection, planning and implementation in India. The course is also designed to help students understand culturally-relevant community engagement strategies to ensure project acceptance in under-served and developing communities. Many field sites will be visited in order to observe first-hand the community assessment and development of projects that engineers implement. An example of these projects could include infrastructure to support water and sanitation as well as projects around energy, agriculture, human rights, Child welfare and women empowerment. Our focus trip will be to Southern India, including the Silicon City of India Bangaluru (Bangalore) and Kerala. Examples of projects include: Nelle- a home for rage picker children, Akshay Patra – Food for Education, SVYASA – International University for Yoga Sciences, all in Silicon City of India-Bangaluru, Rural Solar Energy Project, Vivekanand Medical Mission- A medical mission for tribals in Kerala, Scenic backwaters of Kerala in house boats, Vivekanand Rock memorial at Kanyakumari – Southernmost tip of India, where 3 oceans meet (Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean) and we will visit the relaxing and biggest National Tiger reserve at Periyar- with elephant rides.

Guatemala: SASS 375D / 575 Child Welfare

Zoe Breen Wood, PhD and Victor Groza, PhD

This 3-credit hour graduate and undergraduate course is designed to familiarize participants with the culture and history of Guatemala, as well as study child welfare from a community development perspective. All students will spend some time each morning to learn Spanish, followed by guided tours of programs. The experience will challenge participants to compare Guatemala with the United States at social, economic and political levels. The program is an intense, small group experience in living, learning, traveling and studying. Students will study child welfare issues, social services and indigenous community practices, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of social policies and human services in both Guatemala and the U.S. The course acquaints participants with the socio-political factors that influence the development of child welfare programs in the nongovernmental sector (private, nonprofit) and governmental sector in Guatemala. The role of the helping professions in child welfare are explored via agency visits, lectures and collaboration with Guatemalan professionals.

Netherlands: SASS 325, 375B, 375F & 575

There are three sections:
1) SASS 325 Social Justice – Undergraduates: Dean Grover Gilmore, Graduates: Mark Singer, PhD
2) SASS 375B / 575 Mental Health Issues and PracticesPatrick Boyle, PhD
3) SASS 375F / 575 Gender and Sexuality JusticeElisabeth Roccoforte

These 3-hour courses during Spring Break in the Netherlands are for undergraduate and graduate students. They take place in Amsterdam and surrounding areas. This experience is designed to familiarize students and faculty with Dutch culture, social policies and practices for homelessness; prostitution, drug use, substance abuse, mental health, neighborhood social control, multicultural aspects of healthcare, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The trip includes guided tours of neighborhoods and social institutions, and daily lectures by government officials, practicing social workers and many of Holland’s most prominent scholars. The experience will challenge students to compare Holland with the United States and help students understand the strengths and weaknesses of social policies and human services in both countries.

Poland / Germany : SASS 375C / 575 Invisible Groups

Kathleen Farkas, PhD and Richard Romaniuk, PhD

This 3-hour Spring Break course for undergraduate and graduate students introduces students and faculty to Polish culture and Polish social policies and practices concerning disenfranchised, stigmatized and disempowered social groups. The course will encourage students to understand how Poland’s recent political and economic transformations affect society, in general, and some groups, in particular. The course will focus on how Polish society addresses problems of poverty, homelessness, aging, domestic violence and mental health disorders. In cooperation with the Institute of Sociology at the University of Poznan, students and faculty will use frameworks such as multiculturalism, social integration, feminism and determinants of social exclusion to understand Polish policy responses to various social phenomena. Students will have opportunities to engage government officials, practicing social workers, and some of Poland’s most prominent scholars in conversation. In addition to lectures and workshops, the trip includes guided tours of neighborhoods and social institutions. Cultural events and outings will provide additional insights into Polish society and the Polish people.

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