HECUA Off-Campus Study Programs

HECUA Programs Fall | HECUA Programs Spring

HECUA Off-Campus Study Programs

The College of St. Scholastica is a member of the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA). HECUA provides off-campus experiential learning opportunities that link academic study with hands-on work for social change. Students earn 16 St. Scholastica credits in the semester-long programs and four St. Scholastica credits in January term programs and six credits the Summer term program. Open to all St. Scholastica majors. St. Scholastica financial aid travels with students in semester programs.

David Schuettler, Ph.D., Coordinator

Semester programs

Environmental Sustainability: Science, Public Policy and Community Action
(fall semester/Twin Cities)

The semester is focused on processes of ecosystem degradation and rehabilitation, the social and economic underpinnings of conflict over environmental change, and public policy and community-based strategies to achieve sustainability. The relationships between patterns of environmental resource use and current social inequities are explored through lectures, discussions, group field experiences and internships.

Adaptive Ecosystem Management (4 cr.)
Social Dimensions of Environmental Change (4 cr.)
Field Methods (2 cr.)
Environmental Internship (6 cr.)


Writing for Social Change: The Personal, the Political, and the Power of the Written Word
(fall semester/ Twin Cities)

Writing For Social Change explores the long tradition of literature as a tool for social critique and as a means of creating social change/justice. The semester offers a balance of creative writing workshops (in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction) and critical reading and reflection sessions.  A 20 hour/week internship and other fieldwork provide direct access to groups committed to creating social transformation through literature and literary productions.

Reading for Social Change: Creative Writing in Political, Social, and Historical Context (4 credits)
Writing for Social Change: A Writing Workshop in Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction (4 credits)
Internship & Integration Seminar (equivalent to 8 credits)


The New Norway: Globalization, National Identity, and the Politics of Belonging
(fall semester/Norway)

To understand the development of the Scandinavian welfare states in a time of globalization and multiculturalism, students critically analyze a wide range of topics such as globalization theories, nation-building and national identity, governance and political party systems, European integration, histories of racialization, international aid politics, sexuality, and environmentalism. Three interrelated courses and a volunteer placement/internship provide unique perspectives on how the Norwegian social democracy in particular, and Scandinavian welfare states in general, are working to address the challenges posed by recent increases in immigration and cultural and ethnic diversity. Students also complete an independent study project or enroll in Norwegian language courses.

The Scandinavian Welfare States in an Age of Globalization (equivalent to 8 credits)
Scandinavian Art, Film, and Literature (4 credits)
Norwegian Language or Independent Study Project (4 credits)


New Zealand Culture and the Environment: A Shared Future
(fall semester/Auckland, New Zealand, with trips to throughout the North Island)

This program devoted to the interconnections of society and the environment in New Zealand aims to equip students with: an understanding of New Zealand history and contemporary and evolving attitudes towards that history; ways to think critically about the interrelationships of social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental realms in New Zealand today; understanding of and ways to think critically about approaches to and movements for social change in New Zealand; and ways to engage with parallel concerns and actions in their home environment. In coursework and with field speakers, students explore a variety of topics, including: the history of colonization; the treaty and the truth and reconciliation process that shape contemporary life; Māori protest and social movements; the transition from a white/Māori dichotomy (a bicultural lens) to a multicultural lens; debates on pluralism and a cohesive national identity; key strategies used to address pressing environmental issues, including how Māori knowledge systems have informed environmental management law and practice; the significant sustainability frameworks that New Zealand has developed and the effectiveness and weaknesses of those frameworks; and contradictions between New Zealand's "green and clean" image and its dependence on trade, globalization, and extractive and resource-intensive industries. A six-week structured internship in Auckland provides hands-on exposure to these issues, and an integration seminar ties together practical insights with theoretical analyses.

Māori Perspectives, Pluralism, and National Identity (4 credits)
Sustainability, Ecology, and New Zealand Environmental Policy (4 credits)
Internship and Integration Seminar (4 credits)
Independent Study Project (4 credits)


Community Internships in Latin America (CILA)
(fall and spring semesters/Ecuador)

CILA offers a semester of study and experience with a focus on community participation and social change, centered in Quito, Ecuador. The program combines rigorous seminar work and independent study with a home stay and a hands-on internship to give an in-depth experience of community participation and social movements in Ecuador.

Community Participation for Social Change (4 cr.)
Independent Study Project (4 cr.)
Internship Seminar and Internship (8 cr.)


Inequality in America: Policy, Community, and the Politics of Empowerment
(fall and spring semesters/ Twin Cities)

This program focuses on the economy, housing systems, education, welfare, government policies, the criminal justice system, regional segregation by race and class, and institutional oppression. Connecting these issues is at the core of the program, and instead of just learning about problems, students explore solutions and become engaged in organizations committed to social transformation in class and at a structured internship. Through critical thinking set into action, students analyze policy, lobby elected officials, and engage communities. Students focus on learning the basics of organizing communities and workplaces, persuading others to become critically engaged, and becoming effective advocates for various issues and communities.

Contested Theories of Poverty, Inequality, and Social Change (4 credits)
Social Policy and Anti-Poverty Strategies in Theory and Practice (4 credits)
Internship & Integration Seminar (equivalent to 8 credits)


Art for Social Change: Intersections of Art, Identity, and Advocacy
(spring semester/Twin Cities)

This program explores the ways in which artistic expression is essential to shaping and animating a democratic society. The program immerses students in communities working for social change by using art as a catalyst for dialogue and civic engagement. Creative practices of all kinds are embraced as essential tools for participatory democracy and social justice. In classroom seminars, field visits, and a professional internship, students examine the impact of art and culture on communities and the unique ways that creative work like performance, writing, visual art, music, and dance, can address pressing social issues by making them visible and real. Social and cultural identity, democracy, racism, and power structures are just some of the issues students grapple with and respond to through the lens of art, culture, and social change. Students meet with a wide variety of local artists, educators, and arts advocates, and performances, films, and installations are integrated into a rigorous academic process.

Creating Social Change: Art and Culture in Political, Social, and Historical Context (4 credits)
Arts Praxis: Social Justice Theory & Practice in the Field (4 credits)
Internship & Integration Seminar (equivalent to 8 credits)


Democracy and Social Change in Northern Ireland
(spring semester/Northern Ireland)

The historical, political, and religious roots of the conflict in Northern Ireland, the prospects for peace, and the progress being made toward it are all components of this study. Readings, lectures, discussions, internships, group study projects and field experiences invite interaction with people involved in social change.

Understanding the Politics of the Northern Ireland Conflict (4 credits)
Building a Sustainable Democracy (4 credits)
Internship Placement and Integration Seminar (equivalent to 8 credits)


Making Media, Making Change: Digital Technologies, Storytelling, and Activism
(spring semester/Twin Cities) 

Making Media, Making Change is a part-time program that is grounded in the belief that storytelling and art are powerful vehicles through which to change the world. Stories are increasingly transmitted through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Television producers have control over some of the most powerful narratives of our time. The rise of digital technologies is simultaneously consolidating power and exacerbating the hegemony of ideas and unleashing incredible opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and activism. You will be asked to reflect on how digital technologies affect your sense of self, the communities you live in, and your capacity to create and sustain meaningful change. The program will also equip you with the skills you need to be a competent creator of digital art and digital media for the purposes of creating change.


From Consumers to Creators (4 credits)

Digital Laboratory (4 credits)


Agriculture and Justice: Building a Sustainable Food System
(spring semester/Minnesota)

Agriculture and Justice explores connections among the environment, agriculture, and food justice. Through first-hand experience, students explore topics such as multinational agricultural production, processing and marketing, and youth development through growing and marketing local produce. Students analyze the environmental, economic, political, social and cultural issues that define our food system. Using the lenses and tools of sociology, economics, philosophy, ecology, and agronomy, we will critically examine the notions of sustainable agriculture and justice. In lectures, discussions, reading seminars, written assignments, and field study, students examine a variety of farms and rural communities as case studies.

Environment and Agriculture: Agroecosystems in Context (4 credits)

Justice and the U.S. Food System (4 credits)

Food Systems Internship (4 or 8 credits)