search button
newscenter logo
Saturday, November 26, 2022

Follow SDSU Follow SDSU on Twitter Follow SDSU on Facebook SDSU RSS Feed

Huma Ahmed-Ghosh (Credit: KPBS) Huma Ahmed-Ghosh (Credit: KPBS)

Off the Beaten Course: GEN S 480

This course explores citizenship and social responsibility through research and community engagement.
By SDSU News Team

Off the Beaten Course is a series that delves into SDSU's course catalog to share unique and non-traditional classes.

Course title: Engaged Citizenship and Social Responsibility
Instructor's name: Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, professor, Department of Women’s Studies

1) What inspired the creation of this course?

I was approached by the Division of Undergraduate Studies (since renamed the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement) about my interest in creating the course, and I jumped at the opportunity.

I strongly believe that students should be exposed to feminist activism and that community engagement is critical to their learning and maturing processes while at the university. Given my research, teaching and community engagement experiences with women in Afghanistan and the Afghan community in San Diego, I felt that this would be the perfect opportunity to expose SDSU students to the growing refugee community in San Diego and to bridge their in-class learning with real-life experiences of refugee women in San Diego.

2) What can students expect to learn from this course?

This course has had a transformative impact on students. They learn how to conduct research among refugee women and men tailored to the requirements of the refugee organizations and their own interests. Students learn to interact with a demographic different from theirs and to engage in community development at a level where they feel they are making a difference. Besides rigorous academic training in research methods, they also acquire grant-writing skills. Having conducted research in Afghanistan on conflict and its impact on Afghan women, I am able to share my experiences and knowledge of war zones with the students to better situate their understanding of refugees.

3) What makes this course different from similar courses?

This course is very different from all other courses SDSU students take because they are plunged into a community they did not know existed on their doorsteps. This course is like a mini-study abroad experience.

Students conduct research in a community among people who look differently, dress differently, eat differently and speak differently. In this course, students get first-hand exposure to the refugee crisis in the world.

4) What’s your favorite thing about teaching this course?

I love teaching this course because it is the only course in which students intimately interact with the community of refugee women. The students are so humble, respectful and eager to learn. I see a side of them that I do not see in a classroom setting.

The students also get to know each other very well and work cooperatively on  their projects. I love seeing the eagerness with which students participate in refugee events that are not directly pertinent to the course, such as events for justice and refugee-hosted events to feed the homeless.

5) Why should students take this course?

Students should take courses that incorporate community engagement because the experience broadens their educational horizons. Such courses help students with hands-on learning by relating textbook knowledge to the everyday lives of people.