The (Coffee) Grounds of Change: An Experimental Learning Approach to Sustainable Development

The (Coffee) Grounds of Change: An Experimental Learning Approach to Sustainable Development

by Caroline Payne, Lycoming College

This article describes Lycoming College’s Warrior Coffee Project, which facilitates student learning through collaboration with Dominican coffee producers. Students assist farmers in raising their standard of living through the sale of their primary commodity on the international coffee market and are involved in projects addressing quality of life issues such as access to solar energy and safe drinking water. Discussion includes learning objectives specific to Political Science and how to best develop students’ cultural competence, global awareness, and soft skills, with special attention paid to avoiding dependency and neocolonial power dynamics. Lessons learned can be applied to other contexts.

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This Educate-JPSE collaboration brings together articles published in the Journal of Political Science Education that discuss classroom approaches related to teaching about race, racism, social justice and civic action. Our reading list offers a range of materials – from syllabi, reading lists to active learning assignments – that discuss classroom practices through the lens of identity, gender and power relations. It includes a model for professors who are interested in partnering with local community activists to design civically engaged courses, with specific examples covering research and organizing around affordable housing issues. 

The Journal of Political Science Education is an intellectually rigorous, path-breaking, agenda-setting journal that publishes the highest quality scholarship on teaching and pedagogical issues in political science. The journal aims to represent the full range of questions, issues and approaches regarding political science education, including teaching-related issues, methods and techniques, learning/teaching activities and devices, educational assessment in political science, graduate education, and curriculum development.

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