Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences

Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS) courses link coursework and critical thinking skills with engagement activities that contextualize course materials and enhance learning. A significant portion of the learning takes place outside of the classroom, where students engage with different geographies, organizations, and programs in local communities or in the national and international venues where the Bard network is active. ELAS courses challenge students to develop creative and practical approaches to social, cultural, and scientific issues.

ELAS classes may involve a variety of activities but they emphasize reflective learning. Community engagement is not based on “service” but on respect and reciprocity. Such an emphasis encourages open exchanges, collaboration, and the potential to produce new forms of knowledge.

Current ELAS Courses

Spring 2018

HR 218 Free Speech — Roger Berkowitz
PS 257 Nations and Nationalism — Chris McIntosh
EUS 316 and ART 206 Waste Cluster 2 (2 classes) — Eli Dueker and Ellen Driscoll
ANTH 211 Ancient Peoples on the Bard Lands: Archaeological Methods — Christopher Lindner
ANTH 220 Doing Ethnography — Michele Dominy
BIO 202 Conservation Biology — Cathy Collins
MATH 290 Mathematics and Civic Engagement — Lauren Rose
HIST 117 Inclusion at Bard — Myra Armstead
EUS 222 Air — Eli Dueker
BGIA 301 Core Seminar — Jim Ketterer
BIO 311 Field Ornithology — Bruce Robertson
EUS 308 EUS Practicum: Culture Through Nature: Landscape Environment and Design Into the 21st Century — Margie Ruddick

Past ELAS Courses

ANTH 220 Doing Ethnography, Memory — Laura Kunreuther
ANTH 220 Doing Ethnography — Jonah Rubin
ANTH 323 The Politics of Infrastructure — Sophia Stamatopolou-Robbins
ANTH/Film 224 Ethnography in Image, Sound and Text — Jackie Goss and Laura Kunreuther
ART 206 ED Sculpture II: Fluid Dynamics — Ellen Driscoll
ART 206 Sculpture II: Air, Water, Earth — Ellen Driscoll
ARTH 225 Art Through Nature: Landscape, Environment, and Design in America — Julia Rosenbaum
ARTH 260 New/Old Amsterdam — Susan Merriam
BGIA 301 Core Seminar: NYC — James Ketterer
BIO 117 Botany for Herbivores — Emily Pollina
BIO 118 Conservation Biology — Cathy Collins
BIO 124 Measuring Nature — Gabriel G. Perron
BIO 240 Biostatistics — Gabriel G. Perron
BIO 340 Metagenomics — Gabriel G. Perron
BLC 215 Essays and Evidence — Jim Keller
CHEM 123 Art and Science of Fermentation — Swapan Jain and Gabriel Perron
EUS 102 Introduction to Environmental & Urban Science — Eli Dueker
EUS 221 Water — Eli Dueker
EUS 222 Air — Eli Dueker
EUS 305 EUS Practicum: Farm to Bard — Katrina Light
EUS Practicum 305 Farm to Institution: Bard’s Current and Future Food System — Katrina Light
EUS 316 Waste Cluster — Ellen Driscoll, Eli Dueker, Sophia Stamatopolou-Robbins
EUS/SOC 319 Hudson Valley Cities and Environmental (In)Justice — Peter Klein
HIST 117 Inclusion at Bard — Myra Armstead
HIST 123 The Window at Montgomery Place in the Nineteenth Century — Myra Armstead
HR 153 Eleanor Roosevelt — Anya Luscombe
HR 250 Black Lives Matter — Ariana Gonzalez Stokas
HR 347 Social Action: Theories and Practice — Paul Marienthal
HR 355 Scholars at Risk — Thomas Keenan
LIT 113 Women in Leadership — Deidre D’Albertis
LIT 131 Women and Leadership — Deirdre D’Albertis
MAT 115 Tutoring Theory and Practice — Rachel Cavell
MAT ED 151 Pedagogy and Practice: Social, Cultural, and Educational Issues in Civic Engagement — Mary Leonard, Michael Murray
MAT ED 151 Pedagogy and Practice: Social, Cultural, and Educational Issues — Rachel Cavell, Mary Leonard
PS 261 Voting and Elections — Jonathan Becker
PS 265 The Campaign 2016 — Simon Gilhooley
PS 270 All Politics is Local — Jonathan Becker
REL 358 Sanctuary: Theology and Social Action — Bruce Chilton

Student Projects

Women and Leadership at West Point

Students from Women in Leadership (Deidre d’Albertis) visit with Brigadier General Cindy Jebb, West Point’s first female dean.


Students in Voting and Elections

Students in Voting and Elections

Students from Voting and Elections (Jonathan Becker) working as poll workers during the 2016 elections.


Art and Science of Fermentation

Art and Science of Fermentation

Students from Art and Science of Fermentation (Swapan Jain and Gabriel Perron) visit Panzur Restaurant and present their research.


All Politics Is Local

Student Xaver Kandler created this handbook for renters in Tivoli, N.Y., the town bordering Bard’s campus to the north.


Student Zev Fogelman created this video for the village of Red Hook, NY.

Faculty Course Development Resources

In the report Promising Practices for Personal and Social Responsibility (2012), an analysis of a variety of educational practices found that students who frequently participated in community-based practices, either through volunteering or service learning, were more likely to maintain high scores or improve scores in habits of mind, social agency, and pluralistic orientation. Other studies have shown enriched learning and retention.

Additionally, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future (2012), sponsored by the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, asks institutions of higher education “to embrace civic learning and democratic engagement as an undisputed educational priority for all of higher education” and calls for renewed energy directed toward community engagement, civic engagement, and service learning.

The following sources provide information on course development and research on community-based learning practices.

Course Development Grants

The Bard Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) seeks to connect student’s classroom experiences with the community to enhance learning and promote active citizenship. CCE invites proposals from Bard faculty to design and support courses, which contain an element of community work, called the Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences (ELAS).

Faculty stipends of up to $1000 for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 courses are available. Successful applicants will receive logistical support including transportation, community contacts and resources, and a dedicated student fellow chosen by the faculty member. All faculty are eligible to apply, although preference will be given to tenure and tenure-track faculty.

Apply Here

For Early College Faculty, click here.

Creative approaches to community engagement are encouraged, and the objectives are flexible and can include:

  • Community speakers, activists and artists whose work focuses on engagement
  • Classroom time off campus with a wide range of community interactions at places like town meetings, relevant site visits, trainings, etc.
  • Project based coursework or activities related to engagement with interactions with local leaders, community organizers, artists, activists, etc.
  • Explicit engagement outside of class hours where students volunteer in a project or program
  • Type of readings assigned which may include more primary source focus, reflections on their experiences and research related to a social issue being addressed through the engagement