Quality of Life in Two Communities: Yuri-Honjo, Akita Prefecture and Carlisle
Rural communities in Central Pennsylvania and Yuri-Honjo, Akita Prefecture, Japan, are facing similar challenges to community quality of life: aging populations, depopulation due to global forces, health risks associated with industrial and environmental factors, limited access to quality care. How are these challenges and their various causes similar or related? How are they different? What defines successful community approaches to these challenges in Japan? In the U.S.?
The Dickinson-Akita "Problem Based Learning" Project epitomizes the College's "Liberal Arts in Action" approach to Global Study and Engagement. Here's why:
A global-local, comparative approach is a defining feature of the project, as is evident by its title: "A Comparative Assessment of Community Quality of Life in Yuri-Honjo, Akita Prefecture and Carlisle, Pennsylvania."
Mixed-method Research Design
Students pursuing a range of majors will be a part of each research team; some students will have essential background and training in quantitative methods, others in qualitative methods. The student research teams will, like the faculty overseeing the project, hail from diverse areas of study, bringing the tools and methods of their disciplines to the work.
Bi-National Student Research Teams
Research teams will be small, with 3 to 5 students from Akita and the same number from Dickinson comprising each team;
Interdisciplinary Faculty Collaboration
The student-faculty, mixed-method research project will be led by an interdisciplinary team of faculty at each institution. The Dickinson faculty leading the project cut across all three of the College's academic divisions (Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences): Professors David Sarcone (INBM), John Henson (Biology), Shawn Bender (Japanese Studies), and Shalom Staub (Anthropology).
Integrated with Dickinson Curriculum
The project has been designed specifically with the Health Certificate program in mind, and it builds on coursework that forms part of the certificate.
Useful Scholarly Workproduct
Working closely with their community partners, the research teams will produce publishable-quality community research assessments that will be useful to the community partners in their own efforts to obtain governmental and foundation funding to address identified community health problems, and, ultimately, improve in tangible ways the quality of life of community members in Carlisle and Akita. This is the very definition of useful liberal arts education. It's the liberal arts in action.
What will you do abroad . . . ?
Interested in joining the Akita project? Contact Brian Brubaker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the project overview.