2014-2015 Course Development Grant Recipients

2014-2015 Course Development Grant Recipients


Writing Center Theory & Practice: A Community-Based Practicum in the Teaching of Writing

Matthew Capdevielle

Director, University Writing Center
Assistant Professor of the Practice, University Writing Program

“Writing Center Theory & Practice: A Community-Based Practicum in the Teaching of Writing” is a writing pedagogy course for all new graduate and undergraduate Writing Center tutors, addressing issues of literacy and educational equality in the community. The course invites students to examine the very concepts of “community” and “literacy” and to explore the processes by which individuals learn to express themselves in writing, even as we work to locate ourselves within communities of practice that shape the terms of literacy. We will investigate those material conditions that constrain and enable the acquisition of literacy in different institutional and social contexts (e.g. the middle school student preparing for standardized tests, the first-year undergraduate writing her first research paper, the graduate student drafting a dissertation, the adult English language learner seeking a small loan). Our investigation of the nature of literacy through community engagement will lead us to a fuller appreciation of the connections—and discontinuities—among our various realms of discursive interaction with others. In other words, pursuing a study of writing pedagogy grounded in community engagement will illuminate both the perils and the possibilities entailed by any effort to help a writer find his or her voice in writing.


Community Engagement: Hispanic Outreach and Education

María Coloma

Associate Professional Specialist, Romance Languages and Literatures

The local Hispanic community faces many hardships including language barriers, financial constraints, and lack of mentors in post-secondary education that can serve as role models to a younger generation. We strive to alleviate some of these challenges in this course through selective outreach and engagement. Students will be assigned to local area schools to serve as tutors, mentors, and to provide advice to Hispanic students. This experience will allow Notre Dame students to become aware of the challenges facing the Hispanic community around them, and to reach out to local high school students. This experience could interest Hispanic high school students in a future that might include an undergraduate education. Observations and experiences will be logged and will culminate in an end-of-semester presentation in any variety of acceptable formats, such as writing a paper or creating a poster presentation. Reading assignments and videos will round out the course. Students should expect to practice their Spanish-speaking skills extensively both in and out of the classroom. This course is suitable for students who want to participate in civic engagement in the community in order to help foster a culture of education and accomplishment. It is available to students who have completed ROSP 20202.


Chemistry in Service of the Community: Drug Detectives

Marya Lieberman

Associate Professor

Michelle Pillers

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry

We all expect that medicine will contain the ingredients that are listed on the label. But in the developing world, about a third of the medications do not meet quality standards, and some do not contain any of the active pharmaceutical ingredient. These low-quality medications harm patients, support corrupt business practices, and damage trust in the medical system. In this class, we will use the fantastic lab resources at Notre Dame to analyze suspect medications from Kenya, the Middle East, Haiti, or Southeast Asia. Students will learn about the extent and impact of falsified drugs and will run IR, NMR, spot tests, and HPLC to evaluate the quality of the mystery pharmaceuticals. Course assignments will include a weekly written reflection, several lab reports, a final report on the mystery drug. Students will also participate in a hands-on workshop on forensic analytical chemistry for the Expanding Your Horizons program in April.


2014–2015 Gray Family Course Development Grant


Social Media

Brett Robinson

Visiting Assistant Professor, Marketing

The MBA Social Media course will reflect on the nature of new communication technologies and their potential for aiding in the pursuit of achieving business and humanitarian goals. Alongside theory and trade articles on the most effective commercial uses of social media, we will square our findings with a conception of social media that is ethical and animated by a focus on the human person. We will apply the course concepts, theories and ethical insights to client consulting projects that include companies with a social mission. We will work with companies like Green Bridge Growers and Custom Elevation. Green Bridge Growers is a South Bend aquaponics farm that employs high functioning autistic individuals to manage their greenhouse operations. Custom Elevation hires underemployed Nicaraguan artisans to handcraft novelty items (hammocks, wine caddies, salbekes) for college bookstores. Both companies embody Catholic social teaching by respecting the dignity and rights of workers while creating sustainable products. Companies like these are well positioned to benefit from the strengths of social media to tell compelling stories and connect with individuals who otherwise might not have discovered them. The aim of the course is to provide MBA students with a strong foundation in the social media strategies and tactics that make for good business while also considering the ways in which business has the potential to contribute to the common good with technology as an aid to that end.