HSOC Faculty Featured in SLS Toolkit Program

In the 2018-2019 academic year, Serve-Learn-Sustain offered Teaching Tool Grants for faculty interested in using resources from their Teaching Toolkit in their classrooms and lesson plans. The purpose of the Teaching Tool Grants program is to give faculty resources for teaching subjects linked to but slightly outside their areas of expertise; help students critically reflect on their position as scientists and engineers; and engage substantially with Atlanta-area organizations in the service of helping to create and maintain sustainable communities.

Two HSOC courses benefitted from this program in the 2018-2019 academic year:

  • In her “Social Movements” course (HTS 3068), Rebecca Watts Hull used tools like the SLS Case Study: Flint Water Crisis to introduce students to the concept and main frameworks of environmental justice as a way to reflect on the benefits and harms scientists and engineers can cause in the course of their work. She partnered with the Southern Environmental Law Center to devise a class period that linked environmental justice to the modern civil rights movement, and challenged students to think of how their positions as scientists might contribute to or help alleviate problems highlighted by the environmental justice movement by looking at case studies like water contamination in Flint, Michigan. Students also considered food production as a social justice issue, and explored the roots of the contemporary food justice movement in the United States as linked to previous farmworker and environmental movements so that the class came away with an understanding of how scientists can contribute to social justice movements that help to build sustainable communities.
  • In HTS 3086, “Sociology of Medicine,” Jennifer Singh created lesson plans with Introduction to SLS & Sustainable Communities and An Intro to Community Health that allowed her students to become involved deeply in the Atlanta community. For instance, one day, students were instructed to research and write about an organization in Atlanta with a mission linked to health and sustainable communities, which provided avenues for students to see how theoretical ideas in the classroom get translated into real-world contexts. Another class period required students to attend a workshop held by the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which revolved around a mock experience of navigating food availability in a food desert; this experiential learning opportunity got students thinking about, as one student wrote, “the distribution of resources in our community and exactly what factors pertaining to community health affect them.” By taking ideas students studied in class and demonstrating how they look in Atlanta, Singh’s students moved from the theoretical to the practical in terms of learning about sustainable communities.

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