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Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences

Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences

Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS) courses are designed to link coursework and critical thinking skills developed and practiced by Bard undergraduates in the classroom with civic and other forms of engagement activities that contextualize course materials and enhance learning. A significant portion of the learning takes place outside of the classroom: students learn through engagement with different geographies, organizations, and programs in the surrounding communities or in the national and international venues in which Bard is involved. ELAS courses challenge students to develop creative approaches to social, cultural and scientific issues. Students are exposed to an array of perspectives and contexts and given the opportunity to apply theory to practice.

Engaged liberal arts and sciences classes may involve a variety of activities, but emphasize reflective learning. Community engagement is not based on “service,” but on respect and reciprocity. Such an emphasis encourages open exchanges, collaboration, and the potential to produce new forms of knowledge.

Explore our resources:

Faculty Resources
Call for Course Development Grants

Engaged Liberal Arts Courses

ELAS courses have been developed in each of Bard’s divisions. Courses can incorporate community-based research, field-work, public art, practica, internships, and policy research that are developed and shared with community organizations.
ELAS courses incorporate traditional liberal arts with community work and research including:
  • Conducting interviews
  • Engaging in environmental research in communities with government or community organizations
  • Reviewing and summarizing research or policy options
  • Creating public art or instructional materials
  • Conducting project based work
  • Engaging with local governments 
Courses must still go through the regular approval process at Bard.

Spring 2018
  • EUS 316 and ART 206 Waste Cluster 2 (2 classes)—Eli Dueker and Ellen Driscoll
  • ANTH 220 Doing Ethnography—Michele Dominy
  • BI202 Conservation Biology—Cathy Collins
  • MATH 290 Mathematics and Civic Engagement—Lauren Rose
  • HIST 117 Inclusion at Bard—Myra Armstead
  • EUS 222 Air—Eli Dueker
  • BGIA 301 Core Seminar—Jim Ketterer
  • BIO 311 Field Ornithology—Bruce Robertson
  • EUS 308 EUS Practicum: Culture Through Nature: Landscape Environment and Design Into the 21st Century—Margie Ruddick
Fall 2017
  • ARTH 225 Art Through Nature: Landscape, Environment, and Design in America—Julia Rosenbaum
  • ARTH 260 New/Old Amsterdam—Susan Merriam
  • BGIA 301 Core Seminar: NYC—James Ketterer
  • BIO 117 Botany for Herbivores—Emily Pollina
  • BIO 340 Metagenomics—Gabriel Perron
  • EUS 305 EUS Practicum: Farm to Bard—Katrina Light
  • HIST 123 The Window at Montgomery Place in the Nineteenth Century—Myra Armstead
  • HR 153 Eleanor Roosevelt—Anya Luscombe
  • LIT 131 Women and Leadership—Deirdre d'Albertis
  • MAT ED151 Pedagogy and Practice: Social, Cultural, and Educational Issues in Civic Engagement—Mary Leonard, Michael Murray
  • PS 270 All Politics is Local—Jonathan Becker
  • REL 358 Sanctuary: Theology and Social Action—Bruce Chilton
Spring 2017
  • ANTH 220 Doing Ethnography--Jonah Rubin
  • ART 206 Sculpture II: Air, Water, Earth—Ellen Driscoll
  • BLC 215 Essays and Evidence—Jim Keller
  • EUS 102 Introduction to Environmental & Urban Science—Eli Dueker
  • EUS/SOC 319 Hudson Valley Cities and Environmental (In)Justice—Peter Klein
  • HIST 117 Inclusion at Bard—Myra Armstead
  • HR 347 Social Action: Theories and Practice—Paul Marienthal
  • HR 355 Scholars at Risk—Thomas Keenan
Fall 2016
  • BIO 117 Botany for Herbivores—Emily Pollina
  • BIO 118 Conservation Biology—Cathy Collins
  • BIO 340 Metagenomics—Gabriel G. Perron
  • CHEM 123 Art and Science of Fermentation—Swapan Jain and Gabriel Perron 
  • EUS 221 Water—Eli Dueker
  • EUS Practicum 305 Farm to Institution: Bard's Current and Future Food System—Katrina Light
  • HR 250 Black Lives Matter—Ariana Gonzalez Stokas
  • Lit 113 Women in Leadership—Deidre D’albertis
  • MAT ED 151 Pedagogy and Practice: Social, Cultural, and Educational Issues—Rachel Cavell, Mary Leonard
  • PS 261 Voting and Elections—Jonathan Becker
  • PS 265 The Campaign 2016 —Simon Gilhooley
Spring 2016
  • ANTH 220 Doing Ethnography, Memory—Laura Kunreuther
  • ANTH 323 The Politics of Infrastructure—Sophia Stamatopolou-Robbins 
  • ART 206 ED Sculpture II: Fluid Dynamics—Ellen Driscoll
  • BIO 117 Botany for Herbivores—Emily Pollina
  • BIO 124 Measuring Nature—Gabriel G. Perron
  • BIO 240 Biostatistics—Gabriel G. Perron
  • EUS 222 Air—Eli Dueker
  • EUS 316 Waste Cluster—Ellen Driscoll, Eli Dueker, Sophia Stamatopolou-Robbins
  • HR 347 Social Action: Theories and Practice—Paul Marienthal
  • MAT 115 Tutoring Theory and Practice—Rachel Cavell
  • PS 270 All Politics Is Local—Jonathan Becker
Fall 2015
  • ANTH/Film 224 Ethnography in Image, Sound and Text—Jackie Goss and Laura Kunreuther
  • EUS 221 Water—Eli Dueker
  • HR 347 Social Action: Theories and Practice—Paul Marienthal
  • MAT 115 Tutoring Theory and Practice—Rachel Cavell
Call for Course Development Grants
The Bard Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) seeks to connect student’s classroom experiences with the community to enhance learning and promote active citizenship. CCE invites proposals from Bard faculty to design and support courses, which contain an element of community work, called the Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS).
Creative approaches to community engagement are encouraged, and the objectives are flexible and can include:
  • Community speakers, activists and artists whose work focuses on engagement
  • Classroom time off campus with a wide range of community interactions at places like town meetings, relevant site visits, trainings, etc.
  • Project based coursework or activities related to engagement with interactions with local leaders, community organizers, artists, activists, etc.
  • Explicit engagement outside of class hours where students volunteer in a project or program
  • Type of readings assigned which may include more primary source focus, reflections on their experiences and research related to a social issue being addressed through the engagement
Course Development
CCE is funding faculty stipends of up to $1,000 for Spring 2017, Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 in support of new or revised courses that incorporate ELAS practices:
  • All faculty are eligible to apply, although preference will be given to tenure and tenure-track faculty.
  • Faculty should submit 500 word proposals outlining ELAS course ideas.
  • Courses with sustainable cooperative community partnerships will be given priority. 
Successful applications will be provided with logistical and structural support including transportation, funding (upon submission of a budget) of up to $750 for student fellows to facilitate the course development and course (preferably a student familiar with a faculty member’s work and chosen by the faculty member), and community contacts and resources.
Apply here

Community Partners
Utilizing Bard’s vast networks, faculty can work with CCE staff to identify community partners including nonprofits, government offices, non-governmental agencies, social entrepreneurship, museums and schools. Faculty can utilize existing partnerships, identify partnerships on their own or work with CCE staff. Courses can require students to identify community partners from a list of organizations or to develop the partnerships independently.

For further information, contact Erin Cannan, Dean of Civic Engagement (cannan (at) bard (dot) edu), Jonathan Becker, Vice President for Academic Affairs (jbecker (at) bard (dot) edu), or Cammie Jones, Assistant Dean of Civic Engagement (cjones (at) bard (dot) edu).

Student Projects

The following are an example of successful student projects from the ELAS program.

Women and Leadership at West Point

Students from Women in Leadership (Deidre d’Albertis) visit with Brigadier General Cindy Jebb, West Point’s first female dean.

Students in Voting and Elections

Students from Voting and Elections (Jonathan Becker) working as poll workers during the 2016 elections.

Art and Science of Fermentation

Students from Art and Science of Fermentation (Swapan Jain and Gabriel Perron) visit Panzur Restaurant and present their research

All Politics is Local

Student Zev Fogleman's video promoting the Village of Red Hook.

All Politics is Local

Student Xaver Kandler created this handbook for renters in Tivoli, NY, the town bordering Bard's campus to the north.