PULSE Program Plans Increase in Enrollment

PULSE Program Plans Increase in Enrollment

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

Responding to growing student interest in its unique offerings, the University's PULSE Program will expand enrollment through the addition of two new faculty members by next fall.

David McMenamin
"The short answer to why we're doing this is that student demand has been outstripping supply for quite a while," said PULSE Director David McMenamin, who noted that the program typically has a waiting list of 100 students.

"But the long answer is that this comes from a University Academic Planning Council initiative aimed at developing hallmark programs that are seen as embodying the mission of the University," said McMenamin.

The 31-year-old PULSE program provides an opportunity for undergraduates to combine social service fieldwork with the study of philosophy, theology and other disciplines. The two-semester, 12-credit course fulfills the entire philosophy and theology core requirement.

Currently, 12 PULSE sections consisting of more than 300 students are taught by 11 faculty members from the Philosophy and Theology departments. As part of the planned expansion, Adj. Lect. Andrew Peach (Philosophy) joined the program this year, and a search is under way for a theologian to begin teaching next academic year.

With the new faculty, administrators say they will be able to offer more PULSE sections next year and thus allow approximately 100 more students into the program.

Students who enroll in PULSE must work 10 hours a week in one of the program's 51 field placements. These placements are often with agencies or organizations that help people struggling with one or another form of social injustice such as delinquency, poverty, prejudice and alienation.

In PULSE's academic portion, students discuss their fieldwork in the context of traditional and contemporary works of philosophy and theology, and reflect on larger questions and issues of injustice.

"Many of our students are very interested in making this a better world, and the PULSE experience provides an opportunity for them to do so, in a modest way, while they are undergraduates," said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Joseph Quinn. "The experience may also encourage our students to continue to do so long after they leave Boston College, when they may be able to make a bigger difference."


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