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Skidmore College
Civic Engagement

Applied Civic Engagement (ACE) Courses

AM 351C Historic Preservation Practicum

Assistant Professor Amber Wiley

This course involves the supervised application of previously studied theory of historic preservation. We will investigate, inventory, and interpret the built resources of the Capital Region. Course requirements include completion of archival research, fieldwork, data gathering and assessment, and participation in a community engagement project. Specifically the course will build on the history and theory presented in the fall semester, in addition to having students create their own documentation of buildings in Saratoga, as well as present that information in the form of a public history website. 

The course theme is urban renewal. We will travel to Schenectady to see the "Changing Downtown" exhibit at the Schenectady County Historical Society and hear from the curator about her research process. Students will write a general paper on the process of urban renewal in Schenectady and Saratoga. Following that paper students will work toward the production of exhibit-quality materials on urban renewal in Saratoga that combine archival research, mapping, and photography for public display and for inclusion in the Saratoga Springs Memory Project.


DA 209 Bridges to Skidmore

Assistant Professor Sarah DiPasquale

Bridges to Skidmore: The Dance Experience is a collaborative course between the students of Skidmore College and the clients of Saratoga Bridges. Bridges to Skidmore will provide an accessible version of the very popular intro to dance course “The Dance Experience” to members of the Saratoga Bridges community. Skidmore "student leaders" will be matched with a small cohort of Bridges Dancers, enabling the student leaders to assist the members of their group in ways that meet their individual learning and/or mobility needs. Skidmore students and Bridges Dancers will learn from each other in the classroom to enable a supportive, productive, and artistic environment for dance.


DS 202A Public Science Communication

Senior Instructor Erica Schielke

Develop public science communication skills as you work with a local nonprofit to design content for their website. We will explore how to make information about tree identification and forest ecology appealing and accessible to the general public, and develop basic skills in web design. Readings and examples will be drawn from the scientific and popular literature, with emphasis on how to present science compellingly and accurately. Sciences, the arts, and humanities all have a role to play in this project.


ED 261A 1,000 Books

Lecturer Julianne Lewis

The 1,000 Books program promotes early literacy development through the enjoyment of hearing books read aloud, provides a basic familiarity with print, and fosters an appreciation of children’s literature with preschool children in order to prevent reading problems in the primary grades. Skidmore students mentor children who are enrolled in the home-based Head Start program on a weekly basis in the child’s home for one hour. Skidmore mentors meet weekly with 1,000 Books coordinator for a one and a half hour discussion and preparation for the morning mentoring sessions. Skidmore mentors keep weekly journals and assessments of the mentoring sessions and the child’s progress. Students also have weekly readings assigned and reflection assignments based on their readings.


ES 105 Field Studies in Environmental Science

Assistant Professor Kurt Smemo and Lecturer Anne Ernst

As the 21st century proceeds, it has become increasingly clear that environmental problems will have a primary influence on the future of life on earth, as well as play a significant role in our political and cultural discourse. Broad scientific and environmental literacy is therefore vital to developing educated and engaged citizens. The primary goal of ES 105 is to introduce students to the scientific method, basic scientific concepts, and the tools necessary to make educated and critical assessments of environmental issues and environmental policy.

This course represents an interdisciplinary scientific approach to the study of human-dominated landscapes and environmental issues. The primary context for the course is water movement through watersheds and landscapes and how human development can influence the resources and ecosystem services that natural systems provide, with an overall goal of understanding the structure, function, and management of ecosystems. We examine and study regional watersheds, streams, and lakes, including Loughberry Lake, the primary drinking water supply for Saratoga Springs. Water supply and budgets, water chemical characteristics, and the natural and built structure of the surrounding landscapes will be analyzed from an ecological and biogeochemical perspective. The course involves laboratory and field work, emphasizes the scientific method and communicating science, and exposes students to common techniques and methods used in environmental science.


ES 224 Political Ecology

Assistant Professor Nurcan Atalan-Helicke

Who has power over the environment? How is nature constructed and destructed? How do existing policies and stakeholder interactions affect the use of environment by society? How do resource conflicts arise and become resolved? How is environmental knowledge used and abused? Political Ecology is the study of the relationships between the political, social, and economic factors and environmental issues. This course introduces students to the array of broad political and socioeconomic forces that shape the human relationships with the environment. These forces are multiple and interact in complex ways over a set of interlocking scales from local to global. We will address these issues by covering several case studies, both from the United States and the world.


ES 305 Environmental Education

Teaching Professor Andrew Schneller

An exploration of environmental education in the U.S., as well as the various pedagogical tools, programs, and resources that are available for the global dissemination of environmental education. Students will examine innovations and philosophies behind experiential and authentic environmental education; sustainability education; research on environmental education (pro-environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors); environmental service learning; adventure education; garden-based learning, and place-based learning. Students will design a curriculum and multi-unit lesson plan that they will teach to children and/or adults in partnership with a community stakeholder. This 4-credit service-learning course requires students to work for 30 hours in community schools, nonprofit organizations, and nature centers delivering environmental education lessons. Off-campus travel to service sites is a requirement.


ES 352D Environmental Education         

Teaching Professor  Andrew Schneller


ID 235 Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Cyrus Boga

This course provides a conceptual framework for using the tools and methods of social entrepreneurship to creatively and effectively address social challenges. This can be best accomplished by working through these concepts by designing a venture to solve for your own Impact Project. Unlike many similar courses, we will take a holistic and comprehensive approach to the topic of social entrepreneurship, focusing on (a) a systems approach to social challenges, (b) the social enterprise (or project), and (c) the social entrepreneur. This course is taught from the perspective of practitioners of social entrepreneurship. It is not meant to be a theoretical or academic approach to the subject, but a hands-on, interactive study in how enterprises come to life to solve social challenges. It incorporates the following dimensions for studying management and business in context: I, II, III, IV, V, VI.


MB 337 Advertising and Promotion        

Associate Professor Christine Page

An examination of advertising and promotion principles from an integrated marketing communication perspective, emphasizing the planning, design, and implementation of advertising campaigns. Topics include consumer and market analysis, creative strategy, media selection, promotional budgeting, campaign evaluation, and agency relations.


MB 360 Strategic Consulting

Executive in Residence Colleen Burke

Advanced seminar and practicum focusing on the process and practice of strategic consulting. Student consultants partner with the extended Saratoga community through the course’s Skidmore-Saratoga Consulting Partnership (SSCP) to provide pro bono consulting services. Working in teams, students apply their academic training and knowledge to identify and tackle critical business issues and recommend strategic opportunities, helping area for-profit and not-for-profit clients achieve their goals. The final deliverables of MB 360 include a formal consulting report and presentation to the client.


MP 256 Music Outreach: Performance

Senior Artist-in-Residence Jan Vinci

A course designed to provide student musicians with opportunities to engage with the broader community beyond Skidmore through service and to encourage critical reflection on their experiences. Students volunteer their musical talents and knowledge in the local community beyond Skidmore at a minimum of three planned outreach events during the semester.


MP 257 Music Outreach: Organization

Senior Artist-in-Residence Jan Vinci

An opportunity for students interested in developing programming and managing student performers to organize the outreach events for MP 256.


PL 335 Election Research

Assistant Professor Christopher Mann

Research into the operation of polling places and the administration of elections by local election officials. The course will define the quality of polling places by several categories of characteristics developed in the scholarly literature. Students will develop a research design to investigate the operation of polling places on election day, execute the research design, and then analyze the data collected.


PL 367 Real Democracy

Associate Professor Robert Turner

How well does democracy work in Saratoga Springs? How do we know? The foundation of democracy in the United States is its institutions of local government. The men and women chosen by their fellow citizens to govern them determine not only what their governments do, but also the quality of the democratic process. Real Democracy is an ongoing class that uses the Saratoga Springs City Council elections as a real life laboratory for studying the practice of democracy in 21st century America.


PS 261 Educating Parents in the Digital Age

Assistant Professor Erica Wojcik

The creation and maintenance of a public multimedia web resource about child development. Students will determine the mission of the website, its format, and its content. Students will research the types of blogs and websites that parents read; have conversations with caregivers, parents, and educators to discover what people want to know about developmental psychology; and speak with developmental psychologists about what they would like parents and the public to know.  Students can (and are encouraged to!) take this course multiple times. Each semester, we will add content and brainstorm new ways to make our site better.