Starting Fall 2020, Drew will be launching a new community-based learning program for its incoming first years: The Action Scholars Program. Despite it being only a two year program, it still comes with a four year scholarship of $10,000 ($2,500 per year), dependent on the successful completion of the two year program.
Though the program will keep the focus on community service and engagement that was integral to the Civic Scholars program, it has also expanded to include focuses on global impact and innovation. Each of the focuses is lead by a faculty member: Amy Koritz, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement & Professor of English, heads the community focus; Jonothan Golden, Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Religion and Director of the Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict, heads the global impact focus; and Minjoon Kouh, Chair and Associate Professor of Physics, heads the innovation focus.
The shift comes at a time of many changes at Drew. “This seemed like a timely moment to expand the emphasis on experiential learning and real-world problem-solving that has been a focus of the Civic Scholars,” explained Koritz. “The creation of the Center for Immersive Learning and Career design (Launch) as well as the new emphasis on immersive learning in the General Education program gave us the opportunity to more deeply integrate what we have learned from the Civic Scholars program into a Drew education that would touch more students.”
The website states, “All Drew Action Scholars complete the first-year curriculum, the second-year convening and immersive experience and 100 hours of experiential learning annually. All immersive experiences and co-curricular requirements count towards these 100 hours. As a Drew Action Scholar you will also join your peers for retreats, town halls and pitch events.”
The first year program involves taking a specifically designated Action Scholars class and helping lead a town hall meeting about problems and solutions discussed in this class. The second year program involves either an internship, community based learning class or a study abroad trip, though students have the opportunity to participate in more than one. Second years also have the opportunity to enroll in the innovation action lab and attend monthly workshops and events, which are exclusively for Action Scholars.
During both years students can be involved and gain experience by engaging with organizations from surrounding communities and local government, pitching and advocating for ventures and solutions, building prototypes and technological applications and going on field trips, networking and mentoring.
Koritz explained, “The new Action Scholars program allows us to bring more faculty into the program and to double the size of the entering class. We believe that these changes will benefit more students than we could serve in the Civic Scholars program while aligning more closely with university priorities.”
Current Civic Scholars will complete their four year program but Koritz explained that they will be integrated with the Action Scholars in some ways, such as retreats that both programs will be involved with.