Course Information & Syllabi

First Semester

UNIV 325, BTC Seminar I: Civic Engagement and Social Change in a Global Context
(Two sections are offered in the fall, and one is offered in the spring. UNIV 325 fulfills the Scholarship in Practice General Education requirement.)
A three credit foundation course that is required for all students, and must be taken first. Note: For students who enter BTC with only two semesters remaining before graduation, UNIV 325 and UNIV 326 may be taken simultaneously.

Course description:

This course serves to help students develop and apply the concept of civic engagement and strategies for enhancing civic engagement and advancing social justice in different contexts (global to local; multi-cultural)

The course will develop students' leadership capacities and skills for fostering civil discourse and effective professional practices in the nonprofit and civil society sector through the following two course objectives:

  • Students identify the key civic values, attitudes and expectations that motivate them personally as well as others to engage in civic action and leadership.
  • Students prepare professional portfolios in preparation of a semester-long internship.

Download the UNIV 325 syllabus.

Second Semester

UNIV 326, BTC Seminar II: Internship and Experiential Learning Seminar
(two sections offered spring and fall, one in summer)

A one credit course that supports and supplements the internship experience; may be taken concurrently with the internship experience, or the semester after the internship. Note: For students who enter BTC with only two semesters remaining before graduation, UNIV 325 and UNIV 326 may be taken simultaneously.

Course Description:

This interdisciplinary seminar provides an integrative internship and experiential learning practicum for students in the Beyond the Classroom (BTC) Living-Learning Program. The course enables students engaged in internships to apply the knowledge and skills first introduced in BTC’s foundation course (UNIV 325).

Students compare and contrast internship experiences across disciplines and discuss them in larger civic, political, and social contexts. The seminar provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their internships, and the opportunity to critically examine all aspects of their organizations and their positions.

Important Note:

This seminar must be taken concurrently with (or in the semester directly following) an approved internship with a non-profit, nongovernmental, civil society, or community organization. Please refer to the "Internship Information" section of our website for more information about the internship requirement.

Download the UNIV 326 syllabus.

Third Semester Course

UNIV 389L: Beyond the Classroom Seminar III: Civic Leadership for Community Engagement
(3 credits, offered fall, spring)

Prerequisites: UNIV 325 and UNIV 326; for advanced students in the Beyond the
Classroom (BTC) Living and Learning Program.
Course Overview
This multi-disciplinary seminar enables students to develop their leadership skills by working collaboratively with their peers on joint projects to enhance and to deepen civic engagement and constructive social change on key civic issues on campus and in the broader community on local, national and global issues. Student will carry out collaborative community-based research that addresses an important civic issue and advances civic knowledge for solving that issue. Students will write a research paper (BTC monograph) and contribute to a joint professional report. The seminar will culminate in a BTC civic education or showcase event (e.g., public forum, conference, hearing, video presentation, etc.) where students will share their findings with the broader campus and members of the relevant community.
Download the UNIV 389L syllabus.



This seminar series will explore the factors that lead to successful “people power” movements and citizen initiatives for social change. What is "people power" and how can citizen activism advance positive social change on key civic issues? On what issues historically has “people power” made a significant impact? What are the lessons for contemporary civic activism today?

This series will draw directly on the perspectives of leading nonprofit and civil society activists through documentary films and formal presentations of successful "people power" initiatives for social change at the local, national, and global levels. The series will focus on the pioneers of key people power movements, the rise of people power movements in the Arab World and beyond, the women’s rights movement, the global environmental movement, and the role of citizen activism in advancing democracy and constructive social change in the United States and around the world.

VENUE & TIME: Beyond the Classroom Seminar Room, 1102 South Campus Commons, Building 1, Monday evenings from 7:00-9:00 pm, Spring Semester 2017. INSTRUCTOR: Dr, James Riker, Director, Beyond the Classroom

Third Semester Course

UNIV389G: Special Topics in Undergraduate Studies: Solving Converging Global Crises: The Role of the United Nations and Civil Society in Advancing Global Governance
(3 Credits) Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD.

Course Overview
How do we understand the cross-cutting factors that affect climate change, health epidemics, HIV/AIDS, environmental decline, poverty, unemployment, as well as energy, food and water shortages? In order to solve these inter-connected issues, key actors from international organizations, government and civil society need to work together to develop joint, integrated solutions to these global issues and emerging crises. The purpose of this multi-disciplinary research seminar is to enable students to explore how the United Nations and civil society organizations can work together to help inform and advance this critical research agenda and implement effective solutions to these converging global crises in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Students will do collaborative research on the inter-connections among key global issues and prepare a joint report for presentation to a Global Civic Forum involving key leaders.
Thursday, 3:30-6:15 pm
Dr. Jim Riker, 1102 SCC Seminar Room


UNIV 399C: Ensuring a World Fit for Children? Rethinking Our Civic Responsibilities
(1-3 Credits)

This seminar series will explore the status of children (i.e., standards of living) and the key challenges (i.e., education, health, homelessness, poverty, war and conflict) they face around the world in the 21st Century. What prospects do children born today face and what is required to ensure a world fit for children? What is the civic responsibility of citizens, government and society to address these challenges and improve the opportunities for all children? How can the international community strengthen its commitment to children’s welfare, well-being, and life opportunities around the world? The seminar will highlight promising strategies for improving children’s well-being in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and the developing world. The seminar will draw directly on the perspectives of leading nonprofit and civil society leaders through formal presentations and documentary films to identify possible policies and practices that will ensure a world fit for children.

Instructor: Dr. Jim Riker
Time: Monday, 7:00-9:00 pm
Location: 1102 SCC Seminar Room, Building 1