Curriculum Building Project

The Five College Public Policy Initiative’s Curriculum Bridging Project is strengthening students' preparation for effective, lasting social change by giving faculty opportunities to explore, investigate and pilot cutting-edge pedagogies that bridge undergraduate and professional education in the areas of public policy, organizational leadership and innovation for social change. Project participants work to create innovative course modules and instructional methods to help strengthen the next generation of social change leaders. These collaborators include faculty members at the Isenberg School of Management and the School of Public Policy at UMass, and the Smith College School for Social Work, as well as representatives from each of the liberal arts campuses. The Curriculum Bridging Project is coordinated by a steering committee comprised of Five College faculty and staff.

Central components of the project include:

  • Faculty seminars and curriculum development: Five College faculty are working together to develop curricula that incorporates liberal arts thinking and professional training in order to prepare students for careers in public policy and social change. In the course of developing interdisciplinary curricula, project collaborators discuss the philosophical issues underlying professional degree programs and examine important intellectual questions that lie at the heart of preparing students to serve in the public interest.
  • Visiting speakers: The Curriculum Bridging Project brings speakers to the Five College area who address innovative ways to bridge liberal arts and professional education and issues surrounding social entrepreneurship.
  • Graduate student mentoring of undergraduates: Graduate students from the School of Public Policy at UMass and the Smith College School for Social Work are mentoring undergraduates with similar interests who are working at local organizations. The master's level students guide undergraduates in their thinking about community engagement from academic, philosophical and ethical perspectives.
  • Social entrepreneurship courses and projects: Faculty involved in the Curriculum Bridging Project have developed a January-term course that focuses on social entrepreneurship, defined as using business models or managerial principles to organize ventures with a social mission. Support is also available for teams of graduate and undergraduate students from the five campuses who are developing new social enterprises.  

The FCPPI Curriculum Bridging Project is funded through a grant from Five Colleges, Incorporated, and support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.