Penn Teaches Resiliency: Proposal for a New Psychology-Based Academically Based Community Service Course
Service Based Learning
The University of Pennsylvania has a long legacy of advocating teaching styles and philosophies that engender democratic citizenship and civic engagement. In line with these central views of the University we wish to propose the creation of a new psychology academically based community service course called Penn Teaches Resiliency. This course will utilize the principles of problem solving learning to directly tackle the issue of depression in the West Philadelphia community. The research literature clearly highlights the alarming rates of depression found in low socioeconomic status, minority urban dwellers and we believe that offering this course is a key means by which Penn can help to reverse this trend. Penn Teaches Resiliency will utilize R4Power, an online resiliency intervention developed by psychologists intimately associated with the Penn Resiliency Project. There is already substantial student interest in such a course and Penn Teaches Resiliency would have numerous benefits for both the Penn and West Philadelphia communities. Multiple steps have already been taken in the creation of this class and we recommend that the Undergraduate Psychology Department maintain continued close communication and monitor pre-existing pilot programs in order to facilitate the course's ultimate creation. We hope that creation of Penn Teaches Resiliency will prove to be a decisive first step in the improvement of mental health in the West Philadelphia community.