Skip to main content

Welcome to Cook Community Engagement!

Cook Community Engagement:  Bridging Self, Community, and World

NTRES 4940

Course Details:

Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018

Wednesdays 7:00pm-8:00pm

1-credit (repeatable for credit)

101 Alice Cook House

Grading Option:  S/U (no option to audit)

Course Description:

This interdisciplinary course serves as a gateway for engagement in the Alice Cook House community.  As such, one of the primary purposes of the class is to give students an introduction and exposure to the varied opportunities for engagement with guest speakers from the Cornell, Ithaca, and global communities and also across social, environmental, and natural sciences, engineering, arts, and humanities. Through the course, we will provide spaces (both physical and digital) for students to engage in informal discussions with Cornell faculty, other invited speakers, and with each other. The goal is to provide a platform for critical thinking and reflection within and beyond the boundaries of one’s own discipline(s). Specifically, the course will focus on participating in the weekly speaker series and related events, course-based discussion and engagement, and self and peer reflection. Students will also have the opportunity to recommend speakers for the series, in collaboration with Cook House and Language House faculty and staff.  Students will interact with peers, faculty, guest speakers, and Cook House community members who will provide first-hand perspectives on their work.  Students will use reflection guidelines to share their reactions to the speakers via posting to a course blog.  In the course, students will explore and learn about the breadth of disciplines at Cornell and beyond and how that relates to their own academic, personal, and professional experience.  The course is targeted at residents of Alice Cook House (including the Language House) on West Campus, but is open to anyone on campus.

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Appreciate other disciplinary perspectives while reflecting on own discipline(s).
  • Express perspectives, ideas, and positions in oral and written form.
  • Conduct critical analysis and reasoning relative to weekly speaker topic.
  • Discuss diverse perspectives on particular issues related to weekly speaker topic.
  • Critically reflect on speakers and topics.


Course Requirements and Grading:

Attendance and Participation (500 points):  Participation at the weekly speaker series is required as is engagement with the speaker through discussion and asking questions and preparing by doing the reading.  One reading pertaining to the guest speaker will be posted on the course page for reading prior to the week of the guest speaker.  Attendance will be taken weekly and it is your responsibility to hand in your Cornell ID card to the TA to swipe in.  The speaker series runs for 14 weeks and up to 3 absences are allowed for the semester. Any further absences will impact your participation grade.

Two Reflections (500 points):  Two reflection posts per semester required to be posted to the Blackboard discussion page based on one of the weekly speakers or related event (2 reflections @ 250 points each).  The first reflection post is due by Oct. 11 and the second reflection is due by Dec. 8.  The reflection prompt is below.  Students are also required to complete a peer-response (250 points) for one of the speakers.  In peer responses, students reflect on and respond to the post of another person in the class. The purpose of the peer reflection is to encourage students to learn and share with one another.

Reflection Prompt:  Select a speaker that you feel made a strong impression or meaningful impact on you and your thinking around the topic and/or community engagement. Describe the topic, speaker, and how much you knew about the subject beforehand.  Then move from description to analysis and reflection on your experience. How did the experience impact you? Have you changed any ideas you used to have on the topic or subject covered by the speaker?  What was most meaningful or impactful and why?  The length should be no more than 1 page and may include narrative, photos, or other forms of media.

Course Grading:  This course is graded S/U (no option for audit) and is repeatable for credit.

Skip to toolbar