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Experiential Learning Course Connects Students with Changemakers

Posted in: Homepage News and Events, Sociology, Writing Studies

congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) visits campus for a special Q&A with students on policy and leaderhsip
Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) joins a class for a special Q&A with students on policy and leadership. Credit: Mike Peters, Montclair State University

In a course co-taught by Sangeeta Parashar, associate professor of Sociology,  and Maneesha Kelkar, an adjunct in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, students are getting hands-on and experiential learning that challenges them to think creatively and critically about the importance of service and leadership as well as policy solutions in the public sphere.

On Tuesday, November 1, students gathered for a special Q&A event with Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) to discuss her public service and leadership. In a discussion moderated by Parashar and Kelkar and then opened up to students, Sherrill encouraged students to think about what they love to do and find a way to use that passion to make life better for someone else.

The course, “Polity, Policy, and Process: A Problem-Based Approach,” was born out of an idea pitched to faculty by Dean Peter Kingstone to create a space that brings students from across different disciplines together and gives them the support needed to explore the world of policy, giving them opportunities to engage with actual policy makers, government agencies, or organizations. Students in the course identified local, community and state issues to explore, including gun violence, food insecurity, plastic pollution and homelessness.

The course, an extension of the CHSS Disruption Lab initiative, is intended to support innovation and entrepreneurial thinking and skills among majors in the humanities and social sciences.