The minor in Public Service Studies provides students with commitments to community engagement and the opportunity to ground their off-campus experiences in a curriculum that helps them to think critically about citizenship and the complexities of intercultural collaboration. Whether students’ service commitments take them into Ithaca, their neighborhoods at home, or destinations across the globe, the minor in Public Service Studies will give them the tools to reflect upon community action, advocacy and activism, as well as their own role in promoting social change.
Cornell has unparalleled resources dedicated to service and engaged learning thanks to the Public Service Center and Engaged Cornell. Cultivating students with commitments to global engagement is fundamental to the University’s mission.
The minor in Public Service Studies is designed to provide students the intellectual frameworks for developing and sustaining commitments to community engagement. Students will develop skills in anthropological fieldwork that provide tools for both critical reflection on one’s own social location and examination of the historical and social forces that generate social movements. The minor can not only help prepare students for careers with NGOs, governmental agencies, and grassroots organizations dedicated to social change, but it can help foster life-long commitments to public service regardless of career choices. Whatever occupation students pursue, an understanding of how to think about and promote social change will be a vital skill.
The Department of Anthropology has a robust and growing curriculum in intercultural engagement as well as a formal pathway through the major centered on Activism and Social Justice. Anthropology faculty work both in the US and abroad on issues related to social action, humanitarianism, activism, human rights, and social justice. Moreover, anthropological training is committed to preparing students for “fieldwork”, collaborations across lines of social, cultural, or other form of difference that enhance mutual understanding.
The Public Service Center possesses deep experience in linking students to community organizations. The PSS minor provides a structured curricular program and concept-based training.
Public Service Studies encapsulates a wide range of valuable pedagogical, ethical, and methodological perspectives. Many of these perspectives emerge directly from the North American context of service learning while others are rooted in international traditions of field learning and research. The PSS minor seeks to create space for students to shape the minor toward their needs and aspirations.