Courses Integrate Justice, Mercy, and Critical Exploration with an Eye Toward Career Readiness

First-year nursing student Julianna Mamajek calls her Society on Trial course "eye-opening" and "goal- changing." Words that are music to her professor's ears.

Society on Trial is a course within Carlow's Compass general education curriculum. Students examine allegations of governmental abuse against citizens and discuss broader implications for a just society.

William Schweers, assistant professor of political science and fraud and forensics, says the course aims to "do more than attempt to increase students' knowledge of and interest in social and political matters—or what might be de ned as consciousness-raising.

"Its purpose is to be consciousness-galvanizing—a call to action," he says. Asked to reflect upon how the course changed her view of contemporary American life, Mamajek responded that "we need to eliminate the discrimination in our hearts, come together, and work out our issues as Americans."

According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the ability to meet 21st-century career challenges depends on outcomes like those generated by Society on Trial—outcomes that "enable individuals to deal with complexity, diversity, and change."

This approach develops competencies that cut across all disciplines—like the ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems.

Compass courses require students to dive deeper as they prepare for the careers of today and tomorrow.

Rooted in Carlow's Mercy mission, Compass courses also seek to inspire students to make a meaningful difference through a unique Just and Merciful World Curriculum.

Jessica Friedrichs, assistant professor of social work, is coordinator of the Just and Merciful World Curriculum. "Students explore who they want to be in terms of how they can be of service to the world," says Friedrichs.

In Friedrichs' course Having it All, students consider how to balance all aspects of their lives—not just work and family, but also social, civic, romantic, spiritual, and academic realms. Students then deepen their thinking about service, social justice and social responsibility in an upper-level course that includes experiential learning.

"I ask them to think about one area of their life and decide how they can live more deliberately," she says. "Take small daily actions that impact others in a positive way."

In her upper level course, Introduction to Social Welfare Policy, Friedrichs' students select an issue affecting their lives and then learn the course content through the lens of that issue. They study bills related to their chosen issue and write to elected officials to advocate for support of those bills.

Katie Kos, a social work major, received over 18,500 signatures on her petition. Her bill would allow people with criminal records for drug offenses to be allowed to apply for federal financial aid.

"By putting their signature on it, by sending that letter, they’re not just doing it for class. They're choosing an issue they really care about," says Friedrichs, and that makes an impact in the world.

Cool Compass Courses... they're hard to pass up!
Robot Ethics
Texting: Language or Laziness?
Stairway to Heaven: God & Rock
The Beginning of the End of Racism wScience & Medical Technology: Good or Evil

By Alison Juram D'Addieco