Student Coursework

Students who are interested in Community Engaged Scholarship are encouraged to take part in a Community-Engaged course taught by one of our faculty leaders. The classes below connect to the work of the Equity Center, offering high impact experiences and many fulfill general education and major requirement for undergraduates.

Civic and Community Engagement Classes

These year-long courses in the College of Arts & Sciences challenge students to integrate their classroom with ethical community engagement. This unique learning experience invites students to participate in a curriculum that works on impactful and meaningful projects that redress inequity.

SWAH 1010: Introductory Swahili

  • Fall 2021 - MWF 10 – 10:50 am; 11– 11:50am
  • Professor: Anne Rotich

MUSI 2559/3559: Music and Sound as Community Engagement: Amplified Justice

  • Fall 2021 - Tu/Th 9:30-10:45
  • Professors: Nomi Dave and Bonnie Gordon

AMST 3221: Hands-On Public History: Slavery & Reconstruction

  • Fall 2021 - Th 3:30-6:00
  • Professor: Lisa Goff

SPAN 3020: Spanish Grammar and Composition II Writing for Social Justice and Change

  • Fall 2021 - Tu/Th 11am - 12:15pm
  • Professor: Esther Poveda Moreno


Additional courses

These courses, taught by Equity Center Faculty Leaders and/or Affiliates are single-semester classes that guide students through community engagement methods and best practices.

PLAN 3813: Methods of Community Research and Engagement 

  • Fall 2021 - Tu/Thu 11am - 12:15pm
  • Professor: Barbara Brown Wilson
  • School of Architecture

LPPS 5360: Imagining Equitable Policy

  • Fall 2021 - M/W 2 - 3:15pm
  • Professor: Michele Claibourn
  • Batten School

EDHS 1120: So You Want to Change the World: Foundations of Community Engagement

  • Fall 2021 – Tu/Thu 11am – 12:15pm
  • Professor: Melissa Levy
  • School of Education and Human Development

PLAC 5240: Collaborative Planning for Sustainability

  • Fall 2021 - Tu 1 - 3:30pm
  • Professor: Frank Dukes
  • School of Architecture

UNST 1400/5400: Introduction to Community Engagement ​

  • Fall 2021 - Mo 7 - 7:50pm
  • Professor: Louis Nelson


Course Descriptions

SWAH 1010: Introductory Swahili (Fall 2021 - MWF 10 – 10:50 am; 11– 11:50am)

Professor: Anne Rotich

Introductory Swahili language course is designed to help students learn Swahili language and cultures for basic conversations with native speakers. Students will learn how to greet others, introduce themselves, and talk about a variety of topics of common interest. Students will also have an opportunity to explore, experience, and engage in some civic work in the Charlottesville Swahili immigrant community. Part of the course activities will include engagement opportunities where students will share their culture and experiences with Swahili native speakers in Charlottesville while they discuss and address some of the Swahili speakers' interests. Students will also plan, design and carry out collaborative activities with the community.

Fall 2020 Activities

  • Anne Rotich’s students spend much of the fall semester learning about the subject matter (in this case, improving their Swahili language proficiency) and formulating community-based plans for the spring semester.
  • Using Zoom, Anne invited a number of individuals from the local Swahili immigrant community to speak with her students about their daily lives and cultural differences they observe between Charlottesville and their birth countries.
  • These guest speakers, which the CCE program compensates for their time, also advise the students on how they may be able to contribute to the wellbeing of the Swahili community through group projects completed in SWAH 1020.


MUSI 2559/3559: Music and Sound as Community Engagement: Amplified Justice (Fall 2021 - T/Th 9:30-10:45)

Professors: Nomi Dave and Professor Bonnie Gordon

What does justice sound like?  What are the voices and narratives that are often left out of formal, disciplinary proceedings? How do individuals and collectives tell stories in sound?  How can music play a role in telling histories for a more just future? How are justice claims sounded outside of the legal system and in everyday life, through stories, political actions, and art? Social media, mainstream news, and television show us how legal proceedings often silence stories. On the other hand, artists and activists amplify voices to incite change. This year long class digs into the dissonance between these voices and ways of hearing through principles and practices of community engagement. Students and faculty will work with community partners to think intentionally of the role of creative practice in redressing inequity. Students will collectively and individually explore a range of research and methods that connect music and sound to community engagement. The class is connected to the new Sound Justice Lab and the Equity Center and is part of the Civic and Community Engagement program.


AMST 3221: Hands-On Public History: Slavery & Reconstruction (Fall 2021 - Th 3:30-6:00)

Professor: Lisa Goff

"Public history" is history that is delivered to a non-academic audience, often at historic sites, museums, archives, and on digital platforms. Some films, podcasts, fiction, and poetry might also be considered public history. This course will use all of those formats to investigate how the history of slavery in central Virginia is presented to the public. We will critique how historic sites in the Charlottesville area, including the university, interpret this history, and identify the political and social impacts of these interpretations. Field trips to local and regional historic sites will be a key (and hopefully enjoyable) component of this class. We'll visit Montpelier and Monticello, for example, as well as Richmond, where we'll see Kehinde Wiley's powerful new statue, Rumors of War. But critique is not the only, or even the most important goal of our class. Students will collaborate with local community groups, WTJU, and Scholar's Lab to produce podcasts and digital maps that fill in some of the gaps in the public history of slavery and its legacies in Charlottesville and surrounding counties--contributing, in some small way, to a more just and comprehensive public history. PLEASE NOTE: Class participation will play a very large role in student assessment, as will the final project and all the assignments leading up to it. Several (2-3) field trips will be scheduled on weekends; these are all mandatory. Dates will be announced at the first class meeting.

Fall 2020 Activities:

  • Lisa Goff’s Public History students completed a number of in-person activities while adhering to the university’s public safety rules. These activities included a tour of the university’s Special Collections library, an African American history-focused tour of the UVA campus, independent tours of Monticello, and a field trip to Montpelier for a tour of the enslaved landscape.
  • Lisa livestreamed the tour of the Special Collections library, enabling students who could not attend in person to participate. These students also took virtual tours of Monticello and Montpelier.
  • Like her CCE colleagues, Lisa effectively used Zoom to bring these guest speakers into her virtual classroom: Gloria Gilmore and Robin Patton of One Shared Story, Professor Frank Gill, and Professor Kiki Petrosino. Topics included African American genealogical research, oral history, memory, ancestry, as well as practical how-to's for and digital mapping. 
  • Students completed research into their own family histories, an activity that underscores the historicity in every family tree.
  • Students worked in groups to research historical African American residents of Louisa County and used Story Maps to create digital maps.


SPAN 3020: Spanish Grammar and Composition II: Writing for Social Justice and Change (Fall 2021 - T/Th 11-12:315)

Professor: Esther Poveda Moreno

Have you ever wondered what kinds of change could you enact with more proficient Spanish writing skills? In this section of SPAN 3020, you will have the opportunity to grapple with advanced grammatical and writing skills while you read and discuss selected works by representative Latin American authors that have used writing as a tool for social justice and change, and by participating in a community engagement project. In this course, in addition to completing 15-18 hours of volunteer work with a local organization in the fields of immigration and education, health, or social work, you will deliberately use advanced grammatical forms to construct meaning and will produce texts in which grammar and meaning interact to lead to effective writing in Spanish.

Fall 2020 Activities:

  • In years past, Esther has worked with Madison House to have her students placed in volunteer positions with their Latinx and Migrant Aid program, and with Max Luna for placements in the Latino Health Initiative. For the fall 2020 semester, many of Esther’s students were able to participate in Madison House’s new virtual tutoring program, created in partnership with Albemarle County Public School and with the Equity Center. UVa students provided support for Spanish speaking students learning in person and remotely.
  • In addition to tutoring, SPAN 3020 students volunteered to create Spanish-language STEM educational resources for Earth Science and Mathematics. This experience highlighted how there may be areas of need in bilingual education.



PLAN 3813: Methods of Community Research and Engagement (Fall 2021 - T/Thu 11am - 12:15pm)

Professor: Barbara Brown Wilson 

This class explores the ethics and methods beyond the conventional town-hall meeting format available for practitioners hoping to work in/with communities. You will be exposed to a range of research and engagement methods appropriate for use in community partnerships, including more traditional methods of qualitative research such as focus groups, interviews, charrettes, participatory action research, as well as strategies like asset mapping, visual preference surveys, games, and participatory budgeting. Group projects will allow students to apply qualitative research and engagement techniques while contributing to a local planning question.


This video was created as a final project for PLAN 6020: Methods of Community Research and Engagement by Dmitri Johnson


LPPS 5360: Imagining Equitable Policy (Fall 2021 M/W 2:00AM – 3:15PM)

Professor: Michele Claibourn

What does it mean to prioritize equity in policy? Equity must be operationalized & incorporated into all policy stages: agenda setting, design, implementation, & evaluation. Consider frameworks & tools for centering equity in policy design: engage disadvantaged communities; evaluate degree current policies promote equity, examine policy histories & differential impacts; surface apparent tradeoffs in elevating equity over other analytic concerns.


EDHS 1120 So You Want to Change the World: Foundations of Community Engagement (Fall 2021 – T/Th 11am – 12:15pm)

Professor: Melissa Levy

How can we be part of creating a more just world? In this course, we'll aim to answer that question for ourselves by examining practices of youth and community engagement through a critical and discerning lens. We'll reflect on our own practice engaging with youth and their communities, examine our roles in those relationships and interactions, explore the complexities and importance of culture, and consider our own cultural influences.


PLAC 5240 Collaborative Planning for Sustainability (Fall 2021 - Tu 1:00pm - 3:30pm)

Professor: Frank Dukes

Examines the processes by which consensus can be developed, focusing general negotiation theory and skill development, including the concept of principled negotiation; the conflict landscape, including government and non-government organizations; and negotiation resources and opportunities, including organizations, processes, and enabling legislation.


UNST 1400/5400 Introduction to Community Engagement (Fall 2021 – M 7:00 – 7:50pm)

Professor: Louis Nelson

This course surveys theories and models of community engagement. Contemporary communities are diverse and interconnected; in order to impact positive social change, members in these communities must understand theories of community engagement. This course will introduce students to theories and models of community engagement including, but not limited to, theories of equity, citizenship, human rights, advocacy, activism, and civil discourse.