“Everyone you meet is your teacher. Everywhere you are is your classroom. The only question is: what is the lesson in this moment for you?” This approach to education is called “the learning stance” coined by Director, Carol Wickersham. It is the essence of the Duffy.
Duffy scholars apply, are selected and placed at community sites which fit their academic and professional goals and deepen their learning. They complete 90 hours/semester (~7-8 hours a week) on site and come together in a weekly seminar to reflect and analyzed their experiences with Prof. Wickersham, their peers and guest speakers. Duffy scholars learn how to read a community through sociological and interdisciplinary lenses in light of current events, as well as sociological and interdisciplinary texts.
The Duffy course is available every semester and students can enroll in one stand-alone or two sequential semesters beginning either in the fall or spring. In addition, one or more students are invited to build on their work through funded community-based research in the summer.
The Beloit College Duffy Partnerships is named after alumnus James Duffy’49, former President of the American Broadcasting Company, whose vision and generosity, along with that of the college and community, helped to make the partnerships possible. Mr. Duffy’s work on the issue of literacy called America’s attention to this fundamental social problem.
The program was originally lodged within the Beloit College Department of Economics and Management with Professor Emily Chamlee-Wright as Director. In 2004, Carol Wickersham assumed leadership.
Here are some publications which share insights gleaned from Community-Based Learning at Beloit College:
Director Carol Wickersham
Carol is a member of the Sociology faculty, a community activist and a Presbyterian pastor. In Fall ’09, she became the Director of Community-Based Learning at the Career and Community Engagement Center.
As Duffy Director, she establishes the partnerships, teaches the seminar, supervises summer research projects and shares about this model of community-based learning through publications, workshops and conferences.
She believes that if the students are stretching their learning at a field site, so should she. In the past she has served as a member of the Clinton Board of Education. Currently she is a Chaplain at the Rock County Jail and serves on the County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.