Community-Based Courses for Notre Dame Students

Undergraduate research

The courses below are a sampling of community-based Science courses regularly offered for undergraduates. For a full listing of community-based courses in all disciplines, please visit the Center for Social Concerns Course Guide.

Clinical Research in Rare and Neglected Diseases

BIOS 40450 (CBL/EL)

A main purpose of this course is to engage upper level undergraduate and graduate students in clinical research in rare and neglected diseases. The focus for each semester is on neglected/infectious diseases with emphasis on worldwide eradication strategies. A major goal is to have Notre Dame students work on a clinical research project in class on some rare and/or neglected disease of major importance. A second important goal of this course is to develop an analogous model(s) for other neglected/infectious diseases. We hope this class will also help the students become advocates for these diseases. The course is also tied to a clinical-translational seminar series to enable students to meet with leading international experts who work in neglected diseases. The class is intended for juniors and seniors.

Environmental Justice

BIOS 50544 / GH 60544 / HESB 43537 / IIPS 50901 / PHIL 43308 / PHIL 63308 / STV 43396 (CBR)

This course will survey environmental impact assessment (EIA), ecological risk assessment (ERA), and human-health risk assessment (HHRA); ethical and methodological issues related to these techniques; then apply these techniques to contemporary assessments for which state and federal governments are seeking comments by scientists and citizens. This course does not count as BIOS or science credit for College of Science majors. It is a PHIL course and will satisfy the second PHIL requirement on change of cross-list or count as general elective credit only.

Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics

ESTS 20202

A mini-course offered through the College of Engineering and the Center for Social Concerns that involves a new program for local fifth graders, where kids will assemble and play their own instruments in a performance with Third Coast Percussion, while learning some of the math and science behind how musical instruments work. Course participants will design and fabricate instrument kits using laser cutters, 3D printers, and other equipment in the ND Design Deck in Stinson-Remick Hall of Engineering, and then work with the local fifth-graders as mentors on performance day.

Social Concerns Seminar: Science Policy Ethics: Guiding Science through Regulation of Research and Funding

SC 33902 / CSC 33902 (CBL)

Offered jointly with the College of Science, this Social Concerns Seminar will examine ethical responsibilities within science funding allocations and the regulation of basic and translational research. In the framework of Catholic Social Teaching, students will explore science policy development, government funding for science, and the regulation of both basic science and translational research, including special concerns for neglected disease and global health research. The course aims to explore how and why the government invests in research, how those funds are distributed to scientists, and ultimately how new discoveries are translated to new technologies, ultimately for the good of the general public. Working with Notre Dame’s Federal Relations Team in Washington, D.C. over spring break, students will meet with scientists, multiple federal agencies, and policy makers. In preparation for meetings in Washington, 5 panel sessions will feature speakers with experience in research ethics and integrity, advocating for funding for science, distributing those funds, or working at the intersections of government policy, basic science, physics and engineering technology, environmental science, and clinical and translational research. This course poses a unique opportunity for students to network with various federal funding agencies and policy makers in Washington, D.C. Open to undergraduate and graduate students.

Instrumentation and Science Education

SC 41171 (CBL) 

Students will gain laboratory and troubleshooting skills by testing donated laboratory instrumentation and developing a high school level science experiment utilizing the instrumentation. Students will be mentored by the faculty member and will be contributing to the ND LIGHTS (Laboratory Instrumentation Giving Hope To Students) donation program. ND LIGHTS acquires upgraded/retired instruments from ND laboratories and donates them to resource-limited schools. The program includes the key component of training high school science teacher recipients on how to use the instrument within the context of an experiment that can be incorporated into his/her curriculum. Students participating in this course will learn to test and write protocols for the donated scientific instrumentation, search scientific literature to determine an appropriate experiment for the laboratory instrument, and perform the experiment. Students will be expected to write a report summarizing their work at the end of the semester.

Animal Welfare and the Human-Animal Bond Community Based Learning Seminar

STV 33401 / CSC 33401 (CBR)

Consider the fact that in six short years, one female dog and her offspring can give birth to 67,000 puppies. In seven years, one cat and her young can produce 420,000 kittens. Three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year. It is estimated that there are 60 million feral cats in the US. In a society that considers pets as part of their family, watches Animal Planet, and spends millions of dollars on pet products, it is imperative that we acknowledge and educate ourselves on the issues of over population of pet animals in our society. What is our responsibility to these animals, and how can we solve these pressing problems? The focus of this course will be on animal behavior from an evolutionary perspective. The students will learn to recognize both desirable and undesirable behaviors in pet animals. They will learn how to use evolutionary behavior training methods to alter detrimental behaviors and reinforce those that are advantageous. This course will also cover animal welfare issues, and will intimately and meaningfully connect the state of humans, to that of animals. The students will carry out community research projects of their choice and will immerse themselves in an important issue and generate a product that can help the plight of animals (and therefore humans) in our community.