One of the seminar’s aims is to help students develop their capacity to solve strategic, real world problems by working collaboratively in the classroom and in the West Philadelphia community. Students work as members of research teams to help solve universal problems (e.g., poverty, poor schooling, inadequate health care, etc.) as they are manifested in Penn’s local geographic community of West Philadelphia.
The seminar currently focuses on improving education, specifically college and career readiness and pathways. Specifically, students focus their problem solving research at Sayre High School in West Philadelphia, which functions as the real world site for the seminar’s activities. Students typically are engaged in academically based service learning at the Sayre School, with the primary activities occurring on Mondays from 3-5. Other arrangements can be made at the school if needed.
Another goal of the seminar is to help students develop proposals as to how a Penn undergraduate education might better empower students to produce, not simply “consume,” societally-useful knowledge, as well as function as life long societally-useful citizens.