Jan 24, 2020  
2010-2012 Undergraduate Catalog 
2010-2012 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public and Community Service Studies

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Bachelor of Arts 

The Feinstein Institute for Public Service is the home of the Department of Public and Community Service Studies, which offers an interdisciplinary program of study leading to the degree of bachelor of arts.

The fundamental mission of the Feinstein Institute for Public Service is to provide the students of Providence College with an educational experience within our liberal arts curriculum that prepares them to become builders of human communities and responsible citizens of a democratic society. The mission of service flows from the understanding of the Judaeo-Christian heritage that all human beings as sons and daughters of the living God are called to serve one another. The educational vision of the institute is built upon the unique Catholic tradition of the Dominican Order, which calls upon all persons to bear witness to the human and social dimensions of their religious faith as expressed in the Mission Statement of Providence College and Alan Shawn Feinstein’s dream of educating the young about the importance of compassionate service.

Consistent with the mission of Providence College and the Feinstein Institute, the major in public and community service studies involves a systematic and rigorous study of the major conceptual themes of community, service, compassion, public ethics, social justice and social change, and leadership. The principal goal of the major is to provide students the tools with which to become fluent in these conceptual themes in both their academic and practical dimensions: students will learn community building and sustaining skills, community action research skills, and will become fluent with models of leadership. To achieve this in a liberal arts tradition, the major will emphasize critical thinking, analytic and communication skills, and public problem solving in all its students. In addition, the major will include: a strong field experience component, a strong ethical component, and a strong reflection and analysis component.

The Department of Public and Community Service Studies endeavors to:

  • Provide students with a foundation in Catholic social principles and the Judaeo-Christian tradition of social justice as they apply to public and community service;
  • Provide firm grounding in the concepts of citizenship, ethical behaviors, and the value of democratic institutions, as well as the recognition of contributions made by diverse people in a democratic society;
  • Enable students not only to understand change but to become agents of change;
  • Develop leadership skills;
  • Provide decision-making opportunities in complex circumstances;
  • Develop each student’s ability to communicate effectively both in written and spoken word as well as using the tools of mass communications;
  • Provide students with concepts and skills in community centered analysis and action research; and
  • Instill an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of the study of public and community service.


Students seeking a major in Public and Community Service Studies will complete the following courses:


*This course also satisfies the general degree requirement in ethics.

**This course also satisfies the general degree requirement in theology (Group 2). Check with director of the program.

B. Tracks

Understanding the varied academic and professional interests, concerns, and specializations that the major represents, students will choose a track consisting of three courses (nine hours) from the College’s course listings outside the Department of Public and Community Service Studies. Each track stresses integration of conceptual and methodological materials from other disciplines at the College. While the courses comprising each student’s track will be determined by the student, in consultation with a faculty member from the institute and a faculty member from the area the track represents, four representative tracks are as follows:

Not-for-Profit Management Track

This track will emphasize the skills and conceptual tools—derived from disciplines such as management, marketing, finance, and accounting—essential to anyone interested in the not-for-profit organizations and their work.

Humanities Track

This track will explore the philosophy, theology, arts, literature, and culture of community service, with a view toward integrating students’ appreciation and analysis of the relationship among culture, values, and community, all as they relate to public service.

Social Science/Policy Analysis Track

This track will allow students to examine the connections between community service and larger social and public policy questions. Students may choose a specific policy interest for their emphasis (e.g., public health, education, science, and technology) or may craft a more general group of courses to make up the track.

Environmental Problems Track

This track will permit the exploration of environmental issues and problems through courses drawn from the physical sciences as well as the humanities.

It will be the student’s responsibility, in conjunction with faculty advisors, to demonstrate the relationship of the track to the major and to show how the track of courses chosen deepens understanding of the particular subject area in relation to service. As such, students will normally not be allowed to use three introductory- or survey-level courses to comprise the track.

C. Leadership Skills and Fieldwork Experience (three courses, 9 credits)

D. The Capstone Experience (two semesters, 6 credits)

Suggested Sequence

A typical academic program for a public and community service studies major follows. The following sequence is for illustrative purposes only. Students need not take courses in the sequence listed here.

Freshman Sem. 1

Freshman Sem. 2

Sophomore Sem. 1

Sophomore Sem. 2

Junior Sem. 1

Junior Sem. 2

Senior Sem. 1

Senior Sem. 2

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