GNST 091: ChesterSemester, Fall 2020

The goal of the ChesterSemester program is to expand the College’s educational mission through long-term partnerships with our neighbors in Chester. True to the civic mission of the College – reenvisioning undergraduate education as an exercise in “ethical intelligence” (Al Bloom) or “transformational power” (Valerie Smith) – this program pioneers a fully embedded learning experience for students, faculty, staff, and community partners growing together to realize a better world in the face of decades-old obstacles. This simple truth – that the welfare of each of us depends upon the welfare of all of us – has been lost on much of the wider society today, including the academy. Its continued enactment through this program will go a long way to empowering Swarthmore students, staff, and faculty, and partners and friends in Chester, to actualize together our common goals, our common dreams, and our common humanity.   

Course Learning Goals

Integration of Knowledge and Practice

Apply theory and research (i.e. what they learn within context of a course) to practice (i.e. what they learn of the “real world” through their direct service, field study, community-based learning or other modes of engaged scholarship, internship and/or project work)

Bring real world experience to academics (example: embedded in course paper or thesis)

Connect and extend knowledge (facts, theories, etc.) from one’s own academic study, field, or discipline to community engagement and to one’s own participation in civic and social life.

Demonstrate the ability to articulate the ways in which integrated knowledge and practice can contribute to the common good.

Civic and Social Responsibility

Systems Thinking

Ability to consider ideas, challenges, and solutions from multiple perspectives (landscape scan, historical context), i.e. “apprenticing with a problem”

Critical Reflection

Critically reflect upon paths/levers of social change (social service providers, social advocates, social explorers, social entrepreneurs)

Recognize the impact of their actions and decisions (i.e. path “towards shaping a more just and compassionate world") on self, on others, on systems.

Consider short term, long-term and unintended consequences of actions.


Understand and analyze multiple perspectives critically

Reality-test own perceptions to allow for accurate understanding of diverse viewpoints.

Last modified: Friday, September 4, 2020, 3:27 PM