Project Pericles Grant Winners

From sustainable development to disability studies to peace and justice, grants support a variety of faculty who are ensuring all is A-OK in Pace’s community-based learning courses.

Community-based learning courses for Civic Engagement and Public Value (AOK1) are an important component of our students’ education and the University’s Core Curriculum. Recently five Pace faculty were awarded $1,000 Project Pericles Fellowship Grants to develop courses that address the importance of social responsibility and active citizenship.

Professor of Management for the Lubin School George L. DeFeis who received a grant to focus on sustainable development says his interest in the field began while he was working as the Director of International Affairs for the American Society of Civil Engineers. “I was interested in the world’s diverse interests in sustainable development, from a multitude of standpoints—haves and have-nots, collective interests and individual interests, long-term versus short-term,” he says.

After having an opportunity to teach a course on environmental policy in the graduate program at the City College of New York, he developed his Project Pericles proposal: “Global Sustainable Development: Management and Social Responsibility.” “The corporate (and personal) responsibility component was based on my growing interest in Eugene Lang’s vision of service learning and civic engagement,” DeFeis says of the course, “which is absolutely imperative for our growth in the globally interconnected world of the 21st century.”

Another side to the same civic engagement coin are the two courses proposed by Dyson College Professor of English Stephanie Hsu, PhD. In one course, “Disability Studies in Literature and Culture,” Hsu will focus on works including novels, poetry, creative fiction, and autobiographical works about and by people with disabilities. Additionally, students will complete a semester-long service learning experience at a community-based organization that serves youth with disabilities.

“The service learning component of [the class] will help students think about disability as a cultural concept,” says Hsu. “By comparing their academic readings to their first-hand experiences they will gain insight into how disability culture itself is produced.”

The other course proposed by Hsu, “Diasporic Literature and Communities,” takes advantage of the New York City Campus’ downtown location and the diverse culture the surrounding neighborhoods offer. “Diasporic literature and film relates the distinct histories and cultures of immigrants and people of color to contemporary issues in U.S. society while also imparting important lessons in global citizenship,” Hsu says.  While the course can be tailored to fit various ethnic communities—Latino, African American, Native American—it will first be presented by Hsu with a focus on Asian American literature and culture, which seems a natural fit for Pace’s location. “Pace’s downtown campus is just steps away from Manhattan’s Chinatown, one of the oldest and, currently, most dynamic diasporic Chinese community in North America,” Hsu notes.

Additional grant winners and fields of study include Dyson Professor of Fine Arts Linda Gottesfield’s course on integrating design and service, Dsyon Professor of Political Science Emily Welty, PhD, course on peace and justice, and Dyson Economics Professor Walter Morris, PhD, course on the economics of poverty and income distribution.

For more information about civic engagement at Pace and Project Pericles, please click here.