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Monday, March 20, 2023

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Homes in the historic Brick Row neighborhood of National City. Homes in the historic Brick Row neighborhood of National City.

High-stakes Learning

SDSU teams up with National City to give students hands-on course experience.
By SDSU News Team

In a new spin on community engagement, SDSU has partnered with National City to help improve quality of life and sustainability standards for the city’s 60,000 residents.

Beginning this academic year, the university will offer up to 30 academic courses providing hands-on experience with projects that address environmental, health, land use and public administration issues in National City.

The new program, Community Engagement for Sustainable Cities (CESC), engages more than 400 undergraduate and graduate students guided by SDSU faculty. Each year, the university will partner with a different city or government entity in the San Diego region.

National City was selected as the first partner because of the city’s commitment to quality of life issues, its diverse population, and the willingness of its leaders to work alongside SDSU.

“We are providing a framework for increased collaboration and common focus,” said Jessica Barlow, director of the CESC program. “Students will participate in the projects as part of their normal course work.”

Audiology students, for example, will measure noise levels in certain areas of National City. Public health students will examine air quality. Geography students will analyze land use, including the availability of green spaces, and graphic arts students will design banners for many of the city’s neighborhoods.

“These are the kinds of real-world experiences that lead to student success,” Barlow said. “The stakes are high because students will present their final projects to the city managers.”

Brad Raulston, executive director in the city manager’s office, is National City’s liaison with the SDSU program.