||Understanding Communities is the
course for the Community
Studies Cluster, and one of the
three Sophomore Inquiry classes you must choose after completing Freshman
Inquiry. As part of PSU's University Studies (UNST)
this course is the second step as you move through the UNST program,
culminating with the Senior
After this course, your next
step is to take three other "cluster"
courses, in either the Community
Studies or any other cluster associated with one of your other
This course provides a variety of projects, experience, and exercises that
skills in the following areas:
Understanding Communities helps students
understand the evolution and nature of human
communities by integrating multiple academic disciplines, from which we
launch our inquiry into the following four areas, which
constitute the "class modules" for this course:
- Writing analytical essays (students will learn how to write short analytical research papers)
- Reading for critical analysis
- Initiating and participating in analytical discussion
- Small-group discussion
- Critical and original thinking
- Reflection about the learning process / portfolio development
- Understanding human diversity, across gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, and economic class, while considering ethical
and social justice ramifications
Community and Urban Development. The fields of urban history and sociology inform our investigation.
Community and Class. The fields of history,
sociology, political science, and economics contribute to our study.
Community, Identity, and Place versus Space. Sociology, geography, political science, urban studies,
social justice theory, and religion and gender studies inform our discussions.
Community and Power. All disciplines contributing to our study throughout the term come together
to help us understand the struggle between individual rights and the "common good" of the larger community.