Conveniently situated in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University provides students the privilege of accessing the endless resources the city has to offer, from internship opportunities to free Smithsonian Institution museums. Yet students often only access the District’s resources in their free time.
With resources in D.C. so readily available, professors should integrate activities in the District into their course curricula to offer more diverse learning experiences.
Georgetown often touts its location in the nation’s capital and has implemented programs that encourage student access to the city: Multiple departments offer community-based learning courses through the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service that encourage students to engage with local communities. The Capitol Applied Learning Lab, which launched this fall, also offers students an opportunity to intern, take classes and live downtown.
The aforementioned programs have been largely successful: Students enrolled in the CALL program have appreciated experiencing the city outside of the Georgetown bubble, according to CALL Director Abigail Lewis.
Similarly, CBL classes have offered students a different perspective in learning beyond the classroom, according to Bradley Galvin (COL ’20), who has taken CBL classes.
“I’ve really enjoyed my community based learning courses because it has reminded me that learning never stops,” Galvin wrote in a message to The Hoya. “Some of the most impactful learning experiences I’ve had here at Georgetown has come from outside the classroom and has truly shaped who I am now and who I want to be going forward.”
While these existing opportunities for community engagement are valuable, such opportunities are only available for a small number of students, including 30 spots at CALL and approximately 200 CBL course spaces. For those who do not wish to spend an entire semester downtown or take a CBL class, curricular engagement in D.C. is limited or nonexistent.
Rather than venturing into the District only for a few classes, more professors should integrate the city’s resources in their curricula to supplement what students learn from the traditional classroom environment.
Integrating off-campus experiences into their curricula will allow professors to offer students a different lens through which to engage with course material: By visiting museums, students can engage directly with the arts and history they are learning about in class. By speaking to experts in a given field, students can be exposed to a potential career path.
Professors have various options to integrate excursions into the city into their curricula and should be encouraged to do so. From assigning museum trips in lieu of homework to planning a class field trip, professors can choose the way in which excursions best fit their class material.
The District offers incredible and untapped potential to contribute to students’ academic endeavors. While students should certainly take advantage of the city in their downtime at Georgetown, professors can better facilitate student engagement by intentionally including D.C. resources to supplement their teaching.
The benefits that stem from Georgetown’s location in the nation’s capital should not be squandered. Professors should better integrate the District’s resources into their curricula.
The Hoya’s editorial board is composed of six students and chaired by the opinion editor. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.