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Community-Based Learning Projects Share Stories, Foster Connections

During the uncertainty and physical distancing of the 2020-21 academic year, the University’s Community-Based Learning (CBL) projects offered opportunities for students to connect with the city of Scranton and community members in new ways.

Students in associate professor of marketing Satya P. Chattopadhyay’s First-year Seminar courses engaged in a CBL project partnering with Compassionate Care Hospice to capture the life stories of patients to create biographies for their families and caregivers. Chattopadhyay’s students were trained as hospice volunteers and met virtually via Zoom with Cassie Kobeski, volunteer coordinator for Compassionate Care Hospice, and then worked together in small groups with the caregivers and families of the hospice patients to create biographies, which provided a keepsake for families to memorialize the lives of their loved ones.

“The biography program has been a shining light, highlighting the personality and memories sometimes shrouded by the immediate concern of the illness at hand. I am very grateful to The University of Scranton for helping to give a voice to these stories," said Kobeski.


“The biography program has been a shining light, highlighting the personality and memories sometimes shrouded by the immediate concern of the illness at hand. I am very grateful to The University of Scranton for helping to give a voice to these stories.” -Cassie Kobeski, volunteer coordinator for Compassionate Care Hospice


During the spring semester, University students in Principles of Management and Entrepreneurship II courses, led by Ovi Cocieru, Ph.D., worked on a CBL project to provide an updated inventory of Scranton businesses. For this project, students worked with the city of Scranton’s Office of Economic Development and various community-partner organizations to create and conduct a business inventory survey.

This project had a transformative effect on both students in Cocieru’s courses and on the work done by community-partner organizations.

“From a pedagogical perspective, this project was at the intersection of community-based learning and classroom-as-organization. In this approach, the instructor acts as a guide and trusts the students with critical real-world decisions. When it works, it is an empowering, meaningful and rewarding learning experience,” said Cocieru.

Read more about the 2020-21 Community-Based Learning projects, here.
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