Links to Recent Community-Based Research topics

Follow this link to read summaries of research findings produced by Dickinson faculty and students in response to questions and raised by area community partners on such topics as:

  • Examining Bus Idling on the Dickinson Campus
  • Environmental Health: Complying with Anti-Idling Laws
  • Alcohol Risk Management in Licensed Establishments
  • What are the Barriers to Child Immunizations?
  • Health Promotion Programs
  • Quality of Life for Cancer Survivors
  • Particulate Pollution and Respiratory Health
  • Biddle Mission Park Use
  • Patient Satisfaction at Sadler Health Center

Senior Seminar in Health Studies

Prof. David Sarcone

In the Fall 2009 semester, 12 students worked with Prof. Sarcone and three community organizations to examine real-life health and wellness challenges in the community, and to identify approaches that community organizations might explore.  Students worked with SAGE, the Carlisle YWCA’s New Shape of Fitness (NSOF) and the Carlisle Family YMCA’s Fit for Life.  The students' experiences were recently highlighted in Dickinson's Extra Features.

Carlisle History

Prof. Cary Cordova

The course was designed to give students an understanding of the social and economic history of Downtown Carlisle while teaching them methods in conducting fieldwork. Reading material compares suburban economies, like those promulgated by "big box" stores such as Wal-Mart and The Home Depot, with more centralized downtown economies which thrive on small businesses. Students conducted fieldwork in downtown Carlisle by participant-observation, neighborhood canvassing, and oral history interviews. How has the success of Wal-Mart been connected to notions of work, capitalism, and desire? What happened to the vitality of small towns in the United States? What do local business owners have to say about the movement of economic energy away from the center of town?

The class partners with the Downtown Carlisle Association, the High I Project, and the Cumberland County Historical Society to produce a web-based project dedicated to the history of downtown Carlisle. Drawing on themes both the students and these three partner programs value, students conducted field interviews and gather stories which was presented to leaders of these partner programs and the interviewees, and digitized for the web-based museum.


Spanish for Health Professions

Prof. Wendell Smith

This yearly course provides students opportunities to develop and utilize their Spanish language skills in health care settings. Students accompany nurse practitioners from the Keystone Health Center to labor camps for migrant fruit workers to take medical histories and register workers for health services at Keystone's clinic in Gettysburg. Students assist with filling out forms for Spanish-speaking clients. In addition to learning medical terms in Spanish, students also gain an understanding of how the health system works and cultural barriers to health care.


Education: Social Foundations of Education and Education Psychology

Prof. Sarah Bair and Prof. Elizabeth Lewis

Hands-on experience in the field provides students with an understanding of the complexity involved in educating all students in a community. Field experience exposes students to the major issues that practicing teachers currently face.

In the Social Foundations course, students are required to conduct field work at the Dickinson College Children's Center, an elementary school in the Carlisle School District or the Homework Help program at Lamberton Middle School.  Throughout the course, Dickinson students observe classrooms and help elementary and middle school students with homework.  The professors encourage students to employ their fieldwork experiences as examples in classroom discussions.

In Education Psychology, students are paired with teachers, and compile research resources that the teachers have identified as critical issues in the classroom.


Environmental Studies: The Luce Semester

Prof. Wilderman and Prof. Heiman

With support from the Henry Luce Foundation, Luce Semester students enroll in an interdisciplinary, integrated semester, for the equivalent of a student's normal 4-course load. The course combines classroom activities, community-based fieldwork research, independent study, and extensive travel and community immersion. During the Luce semester, students develop an understanding of the deep connections between natural resources and humans from multiple perspectives and within an immersion experience, while gaining training in ecosystem analysis field techniques and being exposed to the cultural contexts in which environmental problems are created and in which solutions are conceived and implemented.

Student participate in community-based field research, independent study, and extensive travel in two comparative watershed regions: the Chesapeake Bay and the lower Mississippi River Basin. Students spend a week in September on and around the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic coast and three weeks in November in southern coastal Louisiana, studying the ecosystems and learning from the local residents. The remaining nine weeks of the semester are spent closer to campus, in the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin. All students also complete an independent research project in consultation and collaboration with a community group.


Policy Management Senior Seminar

Prof. Jim Hoefler

Students in the Policy Management Senior Seminar produce videos addressing the policy concerns of local non-profit organizations. The DVDs, made using iDVD software, aid the community partner in communicating a critical issue to key stakeholders.  At the conclusion of the semester, the short 3-5 minute videos are made available to the community partners for their use.

Students in the Spring 2008 Policy Management Senior Seminar created videos for the YMCA Youth Sports Program, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Pennsylvania, Carlisle C.A.R.E.S., and the Carlisle Union Fire Company #1. Students in the Fall 2006 Policy Management Senior Seminar worked with the West Shore Humane Society, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Carlisle Performing Arts Center, Hope Station and Common Roads.

Follow this link to view the videos and learn more about the role of service-learning in the Policy Management Senior Seminar.