Want to add a co-curricular activity to your course, but need additional support? Have a guest speaker in mind who would be perfect for your course, but your department doesn’t have funds available? There are many ways to engage students and offer transformative experiences in (and outside of) your classroom, but it’s not always easy—and not always free.
CNDLS is here to help. Throughout the years, CNDLS has awarded hundreds of grants to faculty across departments in support of engaging class-related activities in introductory undergraduate courses. These curriculum enrichment grants (CEGs) have funded field trips, performances, class dinners, guest speakers, film screenings, workshops, and more, and have also been used to support larger events with additional co-sponsors and collaborators. Ben Harbert (Performing Arts) was part of such a collaboration in Spring 2016. Combining a CEG with funding from the Music Program and Film and Media Studies, Harbert brought guitarist and composer Marc Ribot to campus for a week-long residency, during which he visited five classes, held two concerts, and attended a dinner with American Musical Culture majors.
According to Harbert, the activities energized students, who received practical advice and dedicated time with the famous artist in a small group setting: “Bringing outsiders into the classroom helped inflect the space—our classroom became a place of work that mattered to the artistic community at-large.” Acknowledging that these interactions with students are rare, Ribot expressed his own appreciation for the opportunity to meaningfully connect with students about the role of music and the impact of their studies outside of the classroom. In his eyes, the biggest value for students came from meeting someone in the field and recognizing that they’re not so different—specifically, that people who are “working” are also still learning and making mistakes.
While CEGs are intended for lower-level undergraduate courses, Doyle diversity grants are open to all undergraduate courses. Supported by the Doyle Engaging Difference Program, these grants have another specific goal: to engage students with issues of diversity and difference through co-curricular activities. A recent Doyle grant supported “Immigration and Social Justice,” a community-based learning course taught by Diana Guelespe (JUPS), in which students volunteered with weekend citizenship classes at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). In addition to attending Saturday classes, students had the opportunity to accompany CARECEN students on a field trip to the Newseum, and created driver education materials for undocumented immigrants in DC. Guelespe found that these activities deepened student engagement not only in their academic work but also in their community, offering them the opportunity to use their skills in meaningful, impactful ways.
If you’re interested in learning more about these opportunities or applying for a grant this fall, please visit our website. Applications received by September 9 will receive first consideration for the current term. If you are unsure whether a particular activity might be eligible, feel free to get in touch—we’re happy to talk!