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Bates College Community-Based Thesis Research

Promising Approaches

Provide instruction in academic disciplines through the lens of government, history, law and democracy.

Incorporate discussion of current local, national and international issues and events into the classroom, particularly those that young people view as important to their lives.

Design and implement programs that provide students with the opportunity to apply what they learn through performing community service that is linked to the formal curriculum and classroom instruction.

Involve students in the development and sustaining of campus/community partnerships.


Bates College Community-Based Thesis Research: Over 85% of Bates graduates complete a senior thesis. Many students choose to build on prior service-learning experiences by working with a thesis advisor and a local agency to determine an issue related to their academic major and personal interest that needs research, critical analysis, and recommendations for action. In 2004-05, nearly 50 seniors chose theses that involved service and/or responded to a community request for analysis. Recipients of this community-based research include organizations as diverse as the Lake Sunapee Protective Association, Advocates for Children,Lewiston's B Street Health Center, Maine District Court and the Lewiston-Auburn Museum of Labor and Industry.

Theses that provide service through community-based research must meet the academic standard of research methodology while being presented in a format comprehensible to community practitioners and members.

Civic Learning Goals

Civic Knowledge: Identify, define, and describe local problems and their connections to problems on the state and national levels; discuss and explore the variety of ways an individual can help solve societal problems; knowledge about community affairs, political issues, and the processes by which citizens effect change.

Civic Skills:Apply information to effective efforts to help solve social problems;further develop and use critical-thinking skills and ethical reasoning to make informed and responsible decisions; further develop and use verbal and written communication skills to convey ideas, facts and opinions in an effective and reasonable manner; work cooperatively with others and develop effective team building practices.

Civic Attitudes/Dispositions: Tolerant of ambiguity and resist simplistic answers to complex questions;concern for the greater good;see themselves as members of a public, a community, and the ability to recognize that a community is a group of people who belong to each other because they share both a heritage and a hope.

Contact Information

Bates College Center for Service-Learning

Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools: Education for Democracy