Social Impact Practicums (SIPs)

What is a Social Impact Practicum (SIP)?

A Social Impact Practicum is a project-based experiential learning opportunity connecting undergraduate courses at Dartmouth with community needs identified by nonprofit organizations throughout the Upper Valley. Dartmouth students take the skills and content that they are learning in your courses and apply them to relevant projects for, and with, local community partners.

In other words, an SIP is a real-world project with real-world impact.

Current courses integrating a Social Impact Practicum are listed below but for detailed information about the specific projects and community partners associated with each SIP course, past and present, please explore the link below:

Social Impact Practicum classes for 2018-2019

Current Courses with a SIP Component

20W (January 6-March 6)

  • COMP 76: The Environmental Imagination (Damiano Benvegnu)
    • Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT): Documenting the synergistic relationship between land conservation and the storytelling that cinematography especially can provide
  • COSC 29.04: Impact Design (Lorie Loeb & Thalia Wheatley)
    • Hartford Autism Regional Program (HARP): Creating personalized experiences of delight for students at HARP
  • EDUC 46: STEM and Education (Dave Kraemer)
    • AVA Art Gallery: Developing professional development curriculum merging experiential and arts -based ways for students to engage with STEAM concepts
  • ENGL 54.05: Animal Studies: Theory, Literature, Politics (Christie Harner)
    • Upper Valley Humane Society (UVHS): Using research and literature to legitimize the funding of animal welfare as a form of broader social work
  • ENGS 15.02: Senior Design Challenge, part 1 (Eugene Korsunskiy)
    • TBD
  • ENGS 90: Engineering Design Methodology:  Project Completion (Solomon Diamond & Douglas Van Citters)
    • Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) & Special Needs Support Center (SNSC): Designing a sensory (deprivation/modulation) pod to de-escalate young people and children with special needs at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD)
  • ENVS 80.03: Regenerative Design of the Built Environment  (Karol Kawiaka)
    • Hulbert Outdoor Center (within the Aloha Foundation): Conducting a waste audit to improve sustainability in the areas of waste use/reuse and energy/water conservation more broadly
  • PSYC 54.06: Aging and Life Stories (Bob Santulli)
    • Hanover Senior Center; Hanover Senior Housing; Hanover Terrace; The Kendal at Hanover: Collecting life histories and recording memories with patients who have dementia or Alzheimer's
  • SART 66: Architecture I  (Karol Kawiaka)
    • Crossroads Academy: Designing innovative shelving and furniture for a new outdoor classroom
    • LISTEN Community Services: Re-designing LISTEN's food pantry
  • SPEE 26: How New Media Shape Our Lives: Rhetoric, Theory, and Praxis (Yana Grushina)
    • Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD): A social media analysis of CHaD's current strategies, with targeted suggestions for how to better communicate their impact with different stakeholders
    • Maynard House: Exploring the successful social media practices of peer organizations and how Maynard House can incline in that direction in support of their broader community outreach strategy
  • Social Impact Nonprofit Consulting/SINC (Dartmouth Student Group)
    • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center-Arts: Designing innovative ways DHMC can incorporate the arts into their diversity and inclusion initiatives for patients and families representing the full spectrum of identities
    • Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity: Consulting on the structure and proposal of Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) and how that might be implemented in the Upper Valle
    • Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup (UVAW): Conducting a regional assessment of key local stakeholders (including staff) in the field of climate change and resiliency work in the Upper Valley

20S (March 30-June3)

  • ANTH 65: Conservation and Development (Ken Bauer)
    • Town of Lyme: Coordinating multi-stakeholder conversations about Holt's Ledge and the many entities who differently benefit from the property
  • EDUC 19: Educational Testing  (Dave Kraemer)
    • Crossroads Academy: Assessing the quantitative praxis between the theory and application of learning
    • The Aloha Foundation: Evaluating the connection between soft skills and more traditional measures of academic performance
  • EDUC 20: Educational Issues in Contemporary Society (Charlie Wheelan)
    • Hanover High School; Lebanon High School; Mascoma Valley High School: Comparing and contrasting educational practices and retention across three school districts: Canaan, Hanover, and Lebanon
  • ENGS 15.02: Senior Design Challenge, Part 2 (Eugene Korsunskiy)
    • TBD
  • ENGS 44: Sustainable Design  (Karol Kawiaka)
    • Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity: A life-cycle analysis of Habitat's housing materials to minimize the costs to homeowners while maximizing house longevity AND Consulting on cost-efficient home designs that maximize accessibility for homeowners as they age
  • ENVS 50: Environmental Problem Analysis and Policy Formulation(Michael Cox)
    • TBD
  • ENVS 80.08: The Practice of Science Policy and Diplomacy (Melody Brown Burkins)
    • Four Winds Nature Institute (FWNI): A policy brief or presentation exploring how to advance educational policy aligned with child development and the benefits from playing in nature
    • Preservation Education Institute for Historic Windsor Inc. (PEIHWI): Educating policy officials  about the disproportionate impact that climate change has on historic buildings and communities
    • Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS): Communicating and impacting policy about global climate change in a way that educates and empowers rather than discourages or polarizes
  • GEOG 50: Intro. to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)    (David Parr)
    • TBD
  • PSYC 54.05: Consumer Neuroscience (Rose Clark)
    • COVER Home Repair: Website update to accurately reflect the breadth of COVER including their weatherization program and home support
    • Maynard House: A website revision demonstrating the scope of Maynard House's impact, for/with whom, and how others can get involved
    • Twin Pines Housing Trust: An infographic brochure sharing the impact of Twin Pines over the past thirty years providing homes and supportive services for low - and moderate -income households throughout the Upper Valley
  • PSYC 81.09: Storytelling with Data  (Jeremy Manning)
    • The Aloha Foundation: Identifying donor data trends to understand more about those who choose to support nature-based education and how the Aloha Foundation might evolve programming or outreach accordingly
  • SPEE 20: Public Speaking (Yana Grushina)
    • Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD): Targeted writing to share the impact of CHaD, both on-campus with Dartmouth students and throughout the state
    • Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity: Developing public- facing narrative informing the community about Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity.

19F (September 16-November 19)

  • ENGL 52.16: God, Darwin, and the Literary Imagination (Christie Harner)
    • Fairbanks Museum: Creating an interactive museum exhibit entitled "Deus Ex Homine," exploring evolutionary and religious narratives as constructions of mankind
  • ENGS 89: Engineering Design Methodology: Project Initiation (Solomon Diamond & Douglas Van Citters)
    • Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) & Special Needs Support Center (SNSC): Designing a sensory (deprivation/modulation) pod to de-escalate young people and children with special needs at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD)
  • ENGS 174: Energy Conversion (Mark Laser)
    • City of Lebanon (Public Works): A feasibility study assessing the use of vegetable oils as a carbon neutral energy source for fuel and heating
    • Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC): An energy conversion feasibility analysis of battery storage for three distinct hydroelectric plants
  • PBPL 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research (Ron Shaiko)
    • **Grant-writing For**: City of Lebanon; Good Neighbor Health Clinics (GNHCs); Headrest; Maynard House; Preservation Education Institute for Historic Windsor Inc. (PEIHWI); Restore Hope-Liberia; Special Needs Support Center (SNSC); Twin Pines Housing Trust; Upper Valley Community Nursing Project; Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity; We The People Theatre
  • PSYCH 53.10: Social & Affective Motivations in Decision-Making (Luke Chang)
    • AVA Art Gallery: Proposing creative solutions to how the AVA art gallery can support the new (younger, more digital) creative economy of the Upper Valley
    • City of Lebanon (Solid Waste and Recycling): Exploring how best to educate the public about proper waste removal, what is/is not recyclable, and what happens when items are mis-allocated
    • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC)-Arts: Analyzing why attendance has been low at DHMC's quarterly art shows (and what could be done differently to engage more people)
  • PSYCH 80.04: Neuroscience of Obesity  (Ann Clark)
    • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC)-Community Health Department: Researching evidence-based practices in curriculum and pedagogy for school-aged youth regarding obesity and its related health consequences
  • SART 17: Digital Design (Karol Kawiaka)
    • Senior Solutions: Designing a new logo moving away from the term "Senior" as a way to identify aging older Vermonters
  • SART 66/69: Architecture II/III (Karol Kawiaka)
    • Norwich Public Library: Re-envisioning the NPL's children's section to enhance movement "flow", organization, and educational programming
    • Upper Valley Humane Society (UVHS): Architectural designs for a new UVHS clinical and educational "campus"
  • SOCY 10: Quantitative Analysis of Social Data (Jason Houle)
    • Upper Valley Community Nursing Project (UVCNP): Analyzing health outcome data to explore whether and to what extent there are significant differences in health across the region
  • SOCY 11: Research Methods (Kimberly Rogers)
    • Headrest: Designing a methodological tool to measure the success/sustained recovery from clients once they leave the Low-Intensity Residential Treatment facility
    • National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS): Identifying a methodological process to determine the traits (qualitative and quantitative) associated with the most effective school leaders
    • Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC): Creating a methodological process to assess the barriers and facilitators for rural cancer survivors' transition out of active cancer treatment back to their primary care providers (PCPs)
    • The Upper Valley Haven: Assessing the Haven's longitudinal impact on generational poverty and exploring the ideal "dose"/length of engagement
    • WISE: Redesigning the survey for the Court Observers program so WISE can better assess how to support survivors during and after they appear in court
  • SOCY 35: Sociology of Mental Health  (Jason Houle)
    • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC)-Arts: Connecting with the 99 Faces exhibit and creating a response piece about the current and evolving stigma associated with mental illness
  • SOCY 65: The Social Psychology of Inequality (Kimberly Rogers)
    • The Upper Valley Haven: Assessing the Haven's longitudinal impact on generational poverty and exploring the ideal "dose"/length of engagement
    • WISE: Redesigning the survey for the Court Observers program so WISE can better assess how to support survivors during and after they appear in court 
  • Other Dartmouth groups addressing Social Impact Practicum/SIP projects:
    • Foundations in Social Impact (First-Year Leadership Program through DCSI)
    • Primary Care Progress (Health Research Consulting Student Group)
    • Social Impact Nonprofit Consulting (Dartmouth Student Group)
    • TUCK: Tuck Community Consulting (TCC)​​​​​​​

For more information or to suggest a course that you think could benefit from a Social Impact Practicum, please contact Ashley Doolittle.

DCSI also collaborates with Thayer's Senior Design Challenge to match human-centered design projects proposed by Upper Valley nonprofits with this two-term  senior-level engineering course.

Integrating A SIP into Your Course

Faculty who integrate a Social Impact Practicum into their course receive several layers of targeted support, including:

  • Faculty stipend to support time on teaching and learning
  • Social Impact Learning Fellow to help facilitate community partnership development, logistics, and reflection activities
  • Private consultation and access to 130+ projects to determine the best Social Impact Practicum(s) for your course
  • Dedicated faculty-community partner liaison at Dartmouth's Center for Social Impact to coordinate SIP communication
  • Ongoing support from DCAL, Instructional Design, and other on-campus partners, as needed