"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing."
Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics
The mission of the PULSE Program is to educate our students about social injustice by putting them into direct contact with marginalized populations and social change organizations and by encouraging discussion on classic and contemporary works of philosophy and theology. Our goal is to foster critical consciousness and enable students to question conventional wisdom and learn how to work for a just society. We accomplish this by helping our students make relevant connections between course material and experience with community service.
Throughout the years, we have found that the relationship between field work and classroom study evokes a rich conversation. The Western philosophical tradition began in wonder and inquiry about basic problems: What does it mean to be human? To enjoy freedom? To fall in love or become a friend? To participate in community? These basic questions reassert themselves when a student acts as a companion to a disabled adult, tutors an inmate, extends a sympathetic ear to a suicidal person over a telephone line, or feeds a homeless person on a cold winter night.
The majority of the students enrolled in the PULSE Program take a twelve-credit, year-long core-level course in philosophy and theology entitled Person and Social Responsibility. Several PULSE elective courses are also offered. In addition to classroom reflection and discussion, carefully selected field placements in after school programs, youth work, corrections, shelters, literacy, domestic violence, health clinics, housing programs, and HIV/AIDS services among other areas become the context in which students forge a critical and compassionate perspective both on society and themselves.
In 2010, the PULSE Program celebrated its 40th anniversary! The PULSE Program receives its operating funds from the university budget. The Director receives his salary from the Philosophy Department. The Program's operating costs are underwritten by a $750,000 endowment from the Dayton Hudson Foundation and a $150,000 gift from BankBoston.