learning impact 2018 social impact practicum

Sometimes referred to as service-learning, community-based learning, or engaged learning, experiential learning for social impact connects student learning experiences with the opportunity to explore social issues while addressing community-identified needs.

A Social Impact Practicum (SIP) is a project-based experiential learning opportunity connecting undergraduate courses at Dartmouth with community needs identified by nonprofit organizations throughout the Upper Valley. Dartmouth students take the skills and content that they are learning in your courses and apply them to relevant projects for--and with--local community partners. At its core, a SIP is a real-world project with real-world impact.

57 courses have integrated a Social Impact Practicum in the first year and a half of the initiative
“SIPs provide an experiential learning bridge between students’ passion, their academics, and strategic action to address a real need defined by community partners. This synergy is the foundation of the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact’ mission to develop leaders for the common good–both locally while students are on campus, and then globally when they graduate and take these skills with them out into the world.” – Ashley Doolittle, PhD – Director and Founder of the Social Impact Practicum (SIP) Initiative
Over 800 students have participated in a Social Impact Practicum.
"I think the Social Impact Practicum offers the students unique opportunities to really understand the theory they are learning through application to real-life organizational concerns. … Overall, it was an incredibly meaningful opportunity for the students to process and enhance course material through actual help to valued organizational partners, and a great experience for me as well.” –Dr. Yana Grushina, Speech Department
100% of faculty who integrated a SIP into their course during the 2016-17 academic year chose to do so again the following year.
“Overall impressions were that this was an excellent, invaluable, and well-organized experience. Several students noted in their course assessment that it was one of their favorite activities of the class…I hope to do this again and would be happy to talk with other faculty or administrators about how important this experience was for my students' learning." –Dr. Melody Brown Burkins, Environmental Sciences Department; Associate Director, John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding

Courses Integrating a Social Impact Practicum To Date

Winter 2017 through Spring 2018

  • AAAS 82.05/ENGL 53.03 Dave-The-Potter
  • ANTH 12.01/FILM 41.09 Ethnographic Film
  • ANTH 64/BIOL The Evolution of Pregnancy, Birth and Babies
  • ANTH 65 Conservation and Development
  • COCO 18 Impact Design
  • COCO 6 Autism Science: Story and Experience
  • EDUC 20 Educational Issues in Contemporary Society
  • EDUC 51 Individual Differences in Assessment
  • EDUC 56 STEM and Education
  • ENGL 52.16 God, Darwin and the Literary Imagination
  • ENGL 53.04 Telling Stories for Social Change
  • ENGS 75 Product Design
  • ENVS 11 Humans and Nature in America
  • ENVS 61 Governing the Environment
  • ENVS 7 COVER Stories
  • ENVS 7.3 Ecopsychology
  • ENVS 72 Nature Writers
  • ENVS 80.08 The Practice of Science Policy and Diplomacy
  • FILM 30 Documentary Videomaking
  • FILM 39 Group Documentary
  • GEOG 50 Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • GEOG 57 Urban Applications of GIS
  • HIST 96.29 Debating Democracy in the 19th Century
  • LATS 37 Migrant Lives in the Upper Valley
  • PBL 51 Leadership and Civil Society
  • PBPL 45 Introduction to Public Policy Research
  • PH 147 Advanced Methods in Health Science Research
  • PSYCH 50.09 Motivation, Drugs and Addiction
  • PSYCH 53.10 Social and Affective Motivations in Decision-Making
  • PSYCH 54.05 Consumer Neuroscience
  • PSYCH 54.06 Living With Dementia
  • PSYCH 81.09 Storytelling with Data
  • SART 17.14 Reinventing Architecture: Design and Social Action
  • SART 65 Architecture I
  • SART 66/68 Architecture II/III
  • SOCY 11 Research Methods
  • SOCY 65 The Social Psychology of Inequality
  • SPEE 20 Public Speaking
  • SPEE 26 How New Media Shapes Our Lives: Rhetoric, Theory, and Praxis
“Instead of coming up with your own problem, and solving that problem, [with SIPs] you're working with a local Upper Valley organization and suddenly [you realize] this is a real problem that real people have and that makes it feel bigger than just the classroom.” – G. Robert Halvorsen ‘17
SIPs are represented across the Dartmouth curriculum in 19 academic disciplines in the Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and interdisciplinary programs.
“I had never heard of SIP before this class, but I've found it so much more fulfilling with the addition of the practicum. I will definitely explore [more] of these courses with integrated SIPs in the coming terms.” –Jessica K. ‘17


SART 65/66/68 and Architecture I/II/III (18S): Karol Kawiaka (Top Left)

  • Hartford Town Police Department: Creating a Blueprint of the Hartford Police Buildings for Future Remodeling
  • Second Wind Foundation: Redesigning Current Space for Increased Efficiency
  • Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS): Building and Installing a Public Bench Highlighting the Natural Landscape
"I would love to integrate another SIP into my courses (either this particular course or others)!" – Dr. Jeremy Manning, Psychological and Brain Sciences Department

SOCY 11 Research Methods (18W) and SOCY 65 The Social Psychology of Inequality (18W): Kim Rogers (Top Center)

  • Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital: Exploring the Efficacy of Workplace Wellness Programs for Addiction Recovery with the Community Resource Corps
  • Hartford Town Schools and Police Dept.: Assessing Trends and Solutions in Truancy
  • Senior Solutions: Determining Outcome Measures for Strategic Plan Objectives
  • Upper Valley Climate Adaptation Workgroup (UVAW): Proposing Methods for Bipartisan Community Action on Climate Change
  • Upper Valley Land Trust: Benchmarking Social Media Presence/Efficacy
  • Valley Court Diversion Programs (VCDP): Exploring Inequities in Criminal Sentencing and Mental Health
"I'll surely recommend the SIP program to other faculty members and I hope that it can be expanded as it benefits the community, students, and faculty to help integrate Dartmouth further into the Upper Valley." – Dr. Jeffrey Ruoff, Film Studies Department

PSYC 53.10 Social and Affective Motivations in Decision-Making (18W): Luke Chang (Top Right)

  • Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD): Designing Intersectional Recruitment Strategy for the CHaD Hero
  • Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC): Bridge-Building Strategies for Dam-Removal Dialogues
  • Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT): Informing Best Practices in Environmental Conservation Signage
  • Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA): Determining the Economic Impact of Trails; Reviewing the Impact of UVTA’s Brand for Diverse Stakeholders

ENVS 61 Governing the Environment (18S): Michael Cox (Bottom Left)

  • Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC): Understanding Across Difference: Proposing Targeted Solutions for the Re-licensing of the Wilder Dam
  • Resource Conservation Service (NRCS): Limiting River Erosion for Environmental Management
  • Sweetland Farm: Enhancing Cooperation Between Farms–Sharing Resources and Knowledge
  • Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA): Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue-Building Among Trail Constituents.
"The SIPs turned out even better than I had hoped. I definitely want to do this next year. Students said it was one of the best parts of the class." – Dr. Charlie Wheelan, Education Department

ANTH 64 The Evolution of Pregnancy, Birth and Babies (18S): Zane Thayer (Bottom Right)

  • Good Beginnings of the Upper Valley (GBUV): Understanding the Effects of Opiate Use in Pregnancy; Exploring the Predictors and Consequences of Post-Partum Depression
  • Women’s Health Resource Center (WHRC): Creating Community Health Resources on Infant Sleep
  • Alternative Spring Breaks with a Social Impact
  • DALI Scholars Learn + Build
  • Designing and Building a Tiny House to Explore InnovativApproaches to Energy, Health, and the Environment
  • Launching a Hub for Collaborative Research in History
  • Making of 21st Century Exhibits: Curating the National Black Theater Museum


We received a great project that has already been very useful. The [Social Impact Practicum] was easy to integrate into our existing operations [and] what the students produced...captured themes that [our organization] ponders often, but rarely have time to delve into in depth. I look forward to seeing this collaboration with the Center for Social Impact deepen over time" – Upper Valley Land Trust
54 community partners have participated in the SIP initiative to date
In the first year and a half, 117 Social Impact Practicum projects have been completed with/for local community organizations in the Upper Valley
"The analytical skills, thoughtfulness, and thoroughness of the students left our board chair, myself and our staff with a very favorable impression. The final report was easy to decipher and has already had a BIG impact on our social media strategy. … I can't wait to get another project off the ground. This was an easy way for our organization to start examining a complex problem. The students provided great recommendations and the roadmap for making them happen. When can we get another SIP project going with you?" – LISTEN Community Services

SIP Courses have responded to myriad challenges affecting the social sector including public health, educational equity, environmental conservation, elder care, housing and workforce instability, crime and incarceration, child welfare, addiction and poverty.

Given what we are facing in terms of threatened cuts to federally-supported programs, this SIP project could not have come at a better time. I would like to make this work available to my colleagues in different states, so that they can … use it for their own advocacy. –Senior Solutions
“The appetite for Social Impact Practicums has exceeded all expectations and it is clear that they are addressing a niche at Dartmouth and within the local community. We hear frequently--from students, faculty, and community partners alike-- how important SIPs are and what a difference they are making in both the classroom and in the Upper Valley. We are honored to do this work and are enthusiastic about continuing to grow this important initiative for years to come.” –Ashley Doolittle, PhD, Director Of the Social Impact Practicum (SIP) Initiative, Dartmouth Center for Social Impact

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