The Patricelli Center offers for-credit courses through Wesleyan's Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life (CSPL). Offerings vary from year-to-year and are open to students from all classes and majors. For more information about enrollment, syllabi, etc., contact us.

Sample Course Offerings

CSPL 262 Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship (1.0 credit)
In this project-based, cohort-style class, students will learn strategies for understanding social and environmental problems, and they will design interventions to create impact. Each student will select a topic to work on individually or as part of a team throughout the semester. Topics will include root cause analysis, ecosystem mapping, theory of change, human-centered design, business models, leadership and teamwork, impact metrics, storytelling, and more. Some students will develop entrepreneurial projects and ventures while others will find pathways to impact as activists, community organizers, coalition builders, artists, researchers, and more.

CSPL 267 Project-Based Learning Lab (1.0 credit)
In this course, students will bring ideas to life through project-based learning, translating theory to practice and developing a more sophisticated understanding of subjects they are studying in their other courses. Students will enroll in the Project-Based Learning Lab with a problem they want to address or an idea they want to build. Throughout the semester, we will build a toolbox for studying problems and designing solutions. Themes will include systems thinking, root cause analysis, ethical community research, human-centered design, lean prototyping, and data-driven evaluation. There will be an emphasis on humility, teamwork, oral communication, responsible partnership, and lean experimentation. Most students will complete the semester having launched a basic MVP (minimum viable product) and a road map for continuing to pursue their idea after the conclusion of the semester.

CSPL 280 & CSPL 281 Nonprofit Boards: Theory and Practice (0.5 credits per semester)
This course will focus on the nonprofit sector, with special emphasis on the role of nonprofit boards of directors. Course time will be spent on literature about the history and purpose of the nonprofit sector, comparison to the government and public sector, and the purpose/function of nonprofit boards of directors. As part of the course, students will work directly with a local nonprofit--students will participate as a non-voting member of the board of directors and complete a board-level project for the organization.

CSPL 239 Startup Incubator: The Art and Science of Launching Your Idea (1.0 credit)
The Startup Incubator is a one-semester, experiential learning program designed to teach and enable student entrepreneurs to develop sustainable business models from their ideas. The program will bring together an ambitious, committed, and diverse group of individuals from all classes and majors who are passionate about developing successful solutions to challenges; identify as entrepreneurs, disruptors, and thought leaders; and have the tenacity, work ethic, and ability to succeed. All participating students should have a promising business idea and take the course with the intention of launching or running their own venture.

CSPL 257 / AFAM 257 / ENVS 208 System Mapping for Social and Environmental Impact (0.5 credits)
In recent years, growing interest in social entrepreneurship has pushed students to “solve” complex social and environmental problems with new ventures of their own design. Unfortunately, this approach often overlooks a critical foundation of social change: understanding the root causes of problems and the contexts that surround them before seeking solutions. In this 6-week, half-credit class, students will study a problem and the systems that surround it. By the end of the course, students will create a “systems map” that documents the economic, political, and cultural factors behind their problem, as well as the current “solutions landscape.”

CSPL480 / CGST480 Engaged Projects
Engaged Projects (EPs) are semi-independent endeavors in which a student studies a topic of their choice and completes a final project intended for a non-academic audience. Students are encouraged but not required to select a topic that is connected to another class or their major. Final projects can take the form of blogs, videos, a website, or other media; a work of art, an event, a workshop, a presentation, or panel; a policy proposal or analysis; a white paper or op-ed series; a business plan; and/or any other piece(s) thoughtfully designed for the public. EP students will develop a research and project plan. They must enlist an EP Sponsor who will serve in an advisory/mentor role. In addition to conducting their own extensive research and producing a summative project by the end of the semester, students will write a series of reflections to document their progress and their learning.