Just Communities


What are the Just Communities courses?

Just Communities courses were launched in the Fall 2020 semester in response to the cascade of tragedies and injustices that have rocked our national conscience, leading us to look inward for answers and outward for action and solutions. These 1-credit courses provide students the opportunity to explore areas (skillsets and mindsets) not normally offered in the traditional Core Curriculum, in low-pressure and relaxed settings. These courses are intended to be complementary to any schedule, providing students unique ways into insistent and complex issues.  The courses are organized into three categories – Ways of Knowing, Ways of Doing, and Ways of Being – which all share the following goals to:

  • Attend to the relationship between students’ own individual well-being and purpose and that of the multiple communities in which they live. 
  • Help students connect knowledge and intellectual growth with personal development. 
  • Help students reflect on wherever they are in their Georgetown education at the moment and where they are headed.

Just Communities courses aim to help students connect knowledge and intellectual growth with personal development while encouraging students to reflect on wherever they are in their Georgetown education at the moment and where they are headed.

Spring 2021 “Just Communities” Courses


How you can better understand yourself and others 


How you can take action in the world


How you show up in the world, for yourself and others

IDST 123
Goldman / Brumberg / Njaka

In an era of intense ideological, social, and political polarization, how can we learn not merely to converse, but also to listen and respect one another? How can we articulate and share our deepest concerns, hopes, fears, and dreams with others who hold very different perspectives on politics, community, economics, or faith? Since 2018, the In Your Shoes project has been a way to move beyond the political divide and by illuminating the hopes, fears, and dreams that animate the daily lives of students.

IDST 110 
Carreon / Lewis

In a multicultural society, discussions about issues of racial and ethnic conflict and community are needed to facilitate understanding among different racial/ethnic and other social/cultural groups. In this intergroup dialogue course, students will participate in semi-structured meetings across racial identity groups. Students will discuss relevant reading material and will explore group experiences in various social and institutional contexts. Participants will examine narratives and historical, psychological, and sociological materials to help explore who we are, what we know and understand about each other, and how race and racism impacts our lives and relationships. The goal is to create a setting in which students engage in open and constructive dialogue, learning, and exploration concerning issues of intergroup relations, conflict, and community.

UNXD 151
Millner Gillers

Ready for a new view? Power of Dialogue: Deconstructing the Rural-Urban Divide (POD) is a 5-week immersive dialogue experience that brings together students from Georgetown University, Radford University, Columbia University, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania to 1) build dialogue skills needed for navigating contentious issues, and 2) develop the cultural dexterity students need to serve as a bridge between rural and urban communities. Through weekly evening dialogue sessions, interactive exercises, 1-on-1 conversations, and videos, students will increase their self-awareness and ability to manage differences in a range of settings.

IDST 104
Healey / Luken

“Design Justice” is a 1-credit course offered by the Design faculty of Georgetown University’s Ethics Lab. Together we’ll explore how norms and values are present in seemingly value-neutral products and systems, and introduce Design approaches for reimagining more equitable alternatives. This course follows a “virtual studio” model, in which core content and exercises are shared online for asynchronous engagement, supplemented with synchronous online sessions for discussion and small-group critiques focused on developing students’ craft. Students will gain experience working with visual design techniques and be introduced to the Design Justice framework, which is adaptable to collaborative work in any discipline.

IDST 111
Reid / Gilad

Learning to think and act like an entrepreneur could be the most valuable life skill you acquire in your time at Georgetown, even if you never want to start a business. Entrepreneurship is one of the world’s most powerful forces for positive change, yet it is often misunderstood. This course will help students to broaden their view of entrepreneurship beyond popular Shark Tank or Silicon Valley mythology and to recognize how entrepreneurial thought and action are relevant and accessible to EVERYONE – no matter what major or career path you choose. In a world of ever-increasing disruption, change, and uncertainty, we will explore ways that entrepreneurial leaders can use creativity and innovation to solve important problems, and we will introduce students to resources that will help them become more entrepreneurial in their chosen field.

UNXD 366

This course will expose students to the biopsychosocial theory and application of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and its relationship to young adult physical health and social/emotional well-being. MBSR (sometimes termed ‘meditation’) is a mind-body practice. Although there are many types of MBSR, most can be traced back to ancient religious and spiritual traditions. MBSR practitioners tout the benefits of becoming conscious of their own thoughts, feelings, and sensations and observe these states in a nonjudgmental way. Modern medicine has rediscovered the power of MBSR to heal both the body and mind. This has raised interesting questions about the mechanisms of action of MBSR (how and why it works), and wonderment about its utility (where it can be applied)? The course explores what is known about the neurobiological effects of MBSR on the brain, especially areas related to attention and memory, sensory processing, and stress and emotions, and downstream effects on physical functions.

UNXD 367
Maddox / Harris

What would happen if leaders prayed, meditated or sat in contemplation before making a decision? Most leaders spend years taking classes or reading books on how to assemble the dream team, how to inspire others toward a common mission or how to make tough decisions. But rarely do leaders talk about the lessons that spirituality played in getting them where they are today. This course will explore aspects of leadership including ways in which you can grow and develop as leaders in the world. Additionally, students of all religious backgrounds, or those with none at all, will define what spirituality means to them and how they can lead themselves and others from an open heart.

UNXD 404

Fyodor Dostoyevsky famously wrote that “the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” This course will prepare a select group of Georgetown seniors for life after graduation by exposing them to this forgotten and ignored element of our humanity.

UNXD 405

This course examines our increasingly interconnected – yet stubbornly fragmented and unequal – world, and asks how we, as global citizens, might conscientiously choose to live and act in it. Drawing on the fields of comparative political and economic development, we will explore the cross-national patterns of behavior by states and private actors that are shaping outcomes in education, growth, social inclusion, and political participation.

UNXD 410
Riley / Hayes / Barth 

Utilizing Jesuit values as our foundation, this course will examine students’ identity formation process throughout their Georgetown career within the context of their daily lives. This seminar will provide students the opportunity to explore the core beliefs that guide their daily lives, and how their backgrounds and life experiences influenced and shaped the beliefs they hold today.

UNXD 411 

Headlines are dominated not simply with bad news, but potentially catastrophic news. It is not mere hyperbole to note that you will spend your adult lives confronting global challenges and tragedies whose scale goes well beyond that of former ages—from environmental degradation to inequality and poverty to mass migration to technological revolutions and labor disruptions. This creates a uniquely poignant existential burden. The key question this course will examine is: Given this context, how do we utilize our reason and other capacities to pursue both the good and the good life? How do we live well in a dark time?

UNXD 412 

This course will consist of 7 sessions on questions that will most probably arise as Georgetown Seniors transition from their student life to a working life and beyond. We will reflect on your education at Georgetown and chart a possible courses to apply it for the rest of your life. The problems we discuss have no permanent solutions; people have been wrestling with them from time immemorial. Life challenges you to create answers to new situations, mostly new to you, until it ends. We will explore the idea of a life of learning, based on your Georgetown education, as a path to your most successful and rewarding life.

UNXD 350

Through a series of negotiation exercises, lectures, videos and class discussions, students will come to understand negotiation theory and practice negotiation skills that will be useful for a lifetime. Simulation exercises employ hypothetical situations in which students agree on the various terms of a new job, negotiate the terms of an apartment lease, and buy/sell a house, among others. Simulations give students an opportunity to develop and try their negotiating skills in a safe environment with continuing feedback from the professor and their classmates.

UNXD 362

How can we think and innovate creatively in professional spaces? How can creativity be an asset in our personal and professional lives beyond college?  This course will offer seniors organizational plans for maintenance, for growth, for using creative gift(s) for creative expression and for creative problem solving.

UNXD 357 

This is a course in applied ethics or practical ethics, one that does not fall into one of the traditional academic disciplines, but rather should appeal to students with various academic majors.  It will help prepare you to deal more successfully with some of the kinds of ethical challenges you might face in your career.  It will do so by using case studies of real people who have been confronted with ethical challenges, and by introducing you to various concepts and frameworks for moral reasoning and ethical decision-making.

UNXD 364 

Using her book, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey, as a guide, students will explore Dr. Goodall’s framework and be challenged to interact with tangible examples in their everyday lives that illuminate each reason. They will then reflect deeply on their own values to create their personal reasons for hope, along with a plan for how to activate them as they proceed to the next stage of their life’s journey.

UNXD 365

How do our identities impact how we relate to others? How do variables such as race, class, religion, and gender affect our interpersonal relationships not only at Georgetown?  How might a better understanding of these identities allow for intra- and interpersonal growth in this time of transition from college to beyond?

UNXD 403

This course will first examine the radical conception of human freedom and responsibility articulated by Existentialist writers of the 20th century in response to the crisis of the two World Wars. It then goes on to propose a way of understanding cultural evolution that can help us understand the contemporary dynamics of change and conflict in a way that is both practically realistic and at the same time still consistent with a personal commitment to the dignity of human freedom and the responsibility imposes for one’s own identity as a human being.

UNXD 406

To what degree do we have agency in our lives? Is it possible to direct our lives to thrive in our post graduate lives? Within the last ten years researchers have discovered game changing information about how the body and mind function. With this knowledge we can steer ourselves to flourishing.

This bridge course aims to provide students with up to date research on human flourishing that they might effectively manage their own lives so as to thrive in their postgraduate lives. Students learn they have agency in directing the trajectory of their lives through self care, discernment, and relationships.

Purposeful Careers

UNXD 351 

Through a critical examination of constructs such as Chaos Theory of Careers (Pryor & Bright) and Self-Authorship (Baxter Magolda), students will explore frameworks to guide their reflection process.  Readings, written assignments, group discussion among students, and conversations with participating alumni will facilitate the development of stories related to beliefs about life and work, values, strengths, and relationships with others.  Students will create and present a living project that can be refined in the years to come.

UNXD 369

You came to Georgetown because you were interested in a career in public policy. And as you’re nearing graduation, you still aren’t quite sure what holding a job in the Executive Branch, on Capitol Hill, or in the non-profit space is actually like, how to get one, and whether you’d even enjoy it.  For students who have an interest in pursuing public policy careers, this course would help you understand the architecture of potential jobs and what those jobs entail. A hard look at what the job is really like – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

UNXD 190 (34668)
Brown / Northington / Moesel / Hurley

This section of UNXD 190 will focus on the importance of showing up, fully, as you. Taught by Jaime Brown, a wellness advocate and champion of DEAI, topics will revolve around questioning notions of professionalism, codeswitching, who has access to “seats at the table”, the power of your network, and aligning how you show up in your search and career. Can take asynchronously with permission of dean if student has another class time conflict.