Schlabach and Toffolo teaming for Guatemala service-learning course

The Service-Learning Office announces that Dr. Gerald Schlabach, Theology Department, and Dr. Cris Toffolo, Political Science Department, will co-teach IDSC 489:  A VISION of Intercultural Service Learning in Guatemala during January 2003.

The course was first offered in January 2001, when it was taught by Toffolo and Erich Rutten (Campus Ministry and Justice and Peace Studies).  Students spend a week in the United States, studying and preparing for a three-week immersion experience in Guatemala.

The majority of this course will occur in the Guatemalan highlands at a Catholic mission in San Lucas Toliman. Students will study the politics, history, culture and economy of Guatemala as a case study to understand major issues facing many Third World countries.  While on site, students will divide their time between practical service activities (sorting coffee beans, reforestation efforts, building projects, clinic work, etc.), field trips, and formal classroom activities (i.e., lectures, student presentations and discussion). 

The goals of the course are to:

  • Provide students with an overview of Guatemalan society and politics.
  • Provide students with an awareness of the realities of life in the Third World.
  • Provide students with an understanding of the relationships between the United States and Third World countries.
  • Familiarize students with the relationship between the global economic system and small communities.
  • Introduce students to the issues surrounding civil wars and peace processes.

Toffolo’s overseas experience, in addition to teaching this course in 2001, includes a year spent teaching in Nigeria, a year each in France and Japan, and a semester of research in Pakistan.  Schlabach has lived and worked in Central America (Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala) for eight years and taught a similar course at Bluffton College prior to joining the UST faculty.