One of the three courses that students will take as part of the academic requirement for the Swarthmore College NI Semester is titled "Lessons Learned from the Peace Process in Northern Ireland". This course is delivered as a research / service learning focused course, for which the assessment outcome is a final research / service learning report that is faciliated and assessed jointly by the faculty of the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin Belfast Campus, and Dr. Denise Crossan, Regional Director of the NI Semester.
The course sets out the following Learning Outcomes:
- understand and critically evaluate the complex dynamics and varied factors in the peace process in Northern Ireland with particular attention to political dialogue.
- analyse different interpretations of conflict and the peace process in Northern Ireland.
- identify the role of different actors in the peace process (international, governmental, civil society, armed groups) and the critical impact of political leadership on a peace process.
- explore what lessons in peacemaking and peacebuilding might be relevant for other conflict situations.
- present persuasive written work and analytic arguments based on evidence, reading and reason.
Swarthmore students will be expected to carry out their research activity whilst based within their community organization placement, and incorporate service learning reflection and critical thinking as they progress through their NI Semester.
Service learning is commonly defined as a "course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students (a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and (b) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of the course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility." - Bringle, R., Hatcher, J., & McIntosh, R. Analyzing Morton's Typology of Service Paradigms and Integrity. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Fall 2006, Vol13, No. 1.
The success of a service learning process is founded on a mutual and reciprocal relationship agreed between the student, the community organization and the academic supervisor. Students will receive guidance as to how to best reflect on their service learning experience and on processes to capture and apply the service learning gained into their final course reports.