Course Guidelines

Curriculum Priorities

CC courses and projects should promote critical reflection about key program concerns, such as:

  • How diverse cultures and communities form, grow, change, and interact
  • Approaches and obstacles to cross-cultural understanding
  • Traditions and innovations in the artistic expression of cultural difference
  • History, structures and effects of bias, prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination
  • Conceptual and practical methods for deconstructing racism and white supremacy
  • Multicultural perspectives on ethics, democratic citizenship, and civic responsibility
  • Causes and consequences of globalization
  • The role of community and cultural contexts in scientific, technological, environmental, and health study

Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged, as are those that highlight how diverse values and social practices affect the production and reception of knowledge. CC courses will clarify how various disciplines approach, define and analyze issues in cultural and community studies.


CC courses and projects should aim to utilize teaching and learning methods appropriate to the goals of the program, especially in furthering critical thinking skills and capacities for life-long learning. These methods should reflect an awareness of diverse student backgrounds and learning styles, as well as the value of students working together productively.

In CC we presume students are active participants who collaborate with the instructor, as well as each other, in shaping the learning process and taking responsibility for its results. Instructors should avoid reliance on passive learning models, such as lecturing, in favor of activities that involve students in critical discourse, knowledge production, and interpersonal classroom interaction.

Building bridges between students from different backgrounds should be a goal whenever feasible. Ideally the class will itself become a community of learners. The Program will support instructors exploring innovations in pedagogy and will help disseminate their results as part of its commitment to the scholarship of teaching.

Community Engagement

CC courses and projects should strive to include some form of community engagement. This may, for example, be a partnership with an off-campus organization, a service-learning component, an internship program, a series of field site visits, study abroad, collaboration with a non-profit group, attendance at events off-campus, or involvement with a school.

A key aim here is for UWM students to examine the diversity of Milwaukee and the many opportunities for learning that the city provides. Whether they are from the city or beyond, our students often come from segregated backgrounds or have little or no experience with multiculturalism.

Students may know little about our many distinct neighborhoods or their rich histories, or arrive on campus with stereotypes and misperceptions about other people or communities. Engagement should be designed to challenge biases, facilitate intercultural communication, and promote critical self-reflection on the part of students about their own cultural identities.

To qualify, the engagement must enhance the student’s knowledge and/or interaction with a community or cultural group and/or strengthen their cross-cultural understanding. Course content should include assignments requiring students to reflect analytically on community engagement experiences and to relate these experiences to the academic content of the class. Instructors are encouraged to work with the Center for Volunteerism and Student Leadership in developing this component.