J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World

Michelle Sterk Barrett, Ph.D., Director
Isabelle Jenkins, M.Div., Interim Director, Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning
Daniel Bitran, Ph.D., Science Coordinator, Weiss Summer Research in the Natural Sciences
Anthony Cashman, Ph.D., Director, Weiss Summer Research in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts
Gary DeAngelis, Ph.D., Director, Washington Semester Program, Semester Away Program
Alison Mangiero, Cand. Ph.D., Director, New York City Program
Mary Conley, Ph.D., Director, Scholarship in Action

At Holy Cross, we expect that students learn from a variety of experiences that take place outside of the classroom. The J. D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World is the central hub that empowers students to identify, develop, and engage in a variety of experiential learning opportunities at the College. These include internships, student research, community based learning, and project-based learning. Through these opportunities, the Center encourages students to integrate their liberal arts education with different forms of engagement in the world, and to reflect on how these experiences shape and advance their vocational aspirations.

J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World coordinates the following programs:

Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning

The Donelan Office exists to support faculty, students, and community partners who utilize community-based learning. Community-based learning (CBL) is a teaching approach that connects classroom learning objectives with civic engagement. Civic engagement occurs through service that meets community-identified needs or through research and experience that holds promise of social or scientific value to the community. In this mutually beneficial process, students are able to gain a deeper understanding of course content by integrating theory with practice, while communities gain access to volunteers, resources, and the wide-ranging research and scholarly expertise housed in the College’s many disciplinary departments. Consistent with the Holy Cross tradition of preparing students for a lifetime of learning and moral citizenship, CBL students at Holy Cross are invited to reflect upon moral and ethical questions of social responsibility while considering how to live purposefully in a manner that enables one’s unique gifts to positively contribute to society. The Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning helps students make connections between their courses and community sites thanks to a generous endowment established by Joseph P. Donelan II ’72. Further information about the Donelan Office and current and upcoming CBL courses can be found on our website: http://holycross.edu/cbl.

Marshall Memorial Fund

Through a bequest of James J. Marshall and Ellen O’Connor Marshall, the College has established a fund to encourage the creative and intellectual involvement of students and faculty with the Worcester Community. Support is available for service projects or research projects on any aspect of the historical, economic, cultural, or religious life of the city of Worcester that will be of benefit to the community and of academic benefit to the student or faculty member. Grants are awarded each semester.

Academic Internship Program

The Academic Internship Program offers students in every discipline the opportunity to obtain practical field experience as part of their academic plan of study. While the main intent of the program is to provide students with an experiential learning opportunity in their chosen fields, additionally, it provides an opportunity for career exploration. Academic Internships are comprised of two components: fieldwork at an internship site in Worcester or the greater Boston area and academic work in an internship seminar, which are Management/Leadership, Legal Issues, Health Care Management and Professional Ethics. If a seminar topic is not appropriate to the internship, tutorial work with an individual faculty sponsor may be arranged. Each student is expected to spend eight hours per week on the job and another three or four hours on the academic component. One unit of academic credit is granted for the Academic Internship. Admission to the Program is competitive and is open to third- and fourth-year students by application. Credit for an internship can only be secured during the academic year through participation in the AIP, Washington Semester, or New York Semester Programs. Arrangements for an internship by tutorial, outside of the AIP, can only be made in exceptional circumstances. No more than two academic internship courses (Academic Internship, New York Semester Internship, Washington Semester Internship) may be counted toward the 32 courses required for graduation.

Management/Leadership Seminar

Fall, Spring

Focuses on the characteristics of effective leaders and effective organizations of all kinds — business, government, education, and not-for-profit. Each student uses the organization at which he or she is an intern as the model for analysis of each of the topics discussed. Topics include the components of typical organization, creating shared aims and values, defining the expected results, achieving customer satisfaction, focusing on people and encouraging innovation. Classes involve lectures, discussion of assigned reading, and discussion of situations drawn from the internship experiences of the class members and the professional experiences of the instructor.

Legal Issues Seminar

Fall, Spring

Is law a profession or a business? Provides a unique opportunity for students contemplating a career in the law to examine this question. Explores the ethical underpinnings of the legal profession by examining codes of conduct governing both lawyers and judges. The art of negotiation is an essential study for anyone interested in law, public policy or international relations. This course examines the current trends in alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration.

Health Care Management, Health Policy Seminars

Fall, Spring

The health care industry, a big and pervasive business in the United States, has changed the way we live. It has prompted debate on our fundamental definitions of life and death, aroused concern about cost, equitable access and the quality of care giving, and it has triggered unpopular social policies. But who are the principles and practitioners involved in both the medical marketplace and the delivery of health care? The answers are, in part, found by carefully examining the range of issues; e.g. economic, medical, political, social, and moral. This seminar provides a forum for critical analysis of health care in the U.S. The seminar component, with relevant readings and discussion, provides additional depth to the student’s internship experience by providing a more coherent and thorough examination of our health care delivery system — its strengths, problems, and weaknesses.

Professional Ethics Seminar

Fall, Spring

Designed for students participating in professional internships of eight hours per week in a variety of fields. Using both historical and contemporary texts, this seminar examines the meaning of professionalism and professional ethics. By analyzing cases from medicine, law, education, journalism, politics, corporate business and engineering, this course helps students to formulate their own professional identity.

Non-Profit & Government Relations


Through course content and internship experiences in the public sector, students will gain a deeper understanding of contemporary social issues and public policy while reflecting upon what unique talents and skills they have to offer towards creating a more highly functioning, equitable society for all. Specific topics to be covered include: An overview of non-profit and government careers; economic inequality; Catholic social teaching and human dignity; food policy and food insecurity; affordable housing & homelessness, educational inequity; criminal justice reform; immigration policy; community organizing; fundraising and grant writing; and vocational discernment.

Business of Sport


The Business of Sport is comprised of two parts: (1) an academic component, in which you will be exposed to critical theories and practices of the multi-billion-dollar sports industry, and (2) a field experience which you will complete under the direction of your internship sponsor, and which is designed to illuminate and enrich your classroom experience. The academic piece consists of regular classroom sessions involving lecture, discussion, experiential exercises, readings, and written assignments. The course provides a comprehensive foundation of the economic, organizational, legal and political components of the business of sport. It will present the dilemmas faced by today’s sports business leaders, and apply concepts to create an understanding of the financial drivers underlying sport business at the collegiate and professional levels.

Washington Semester Program

Through the Washington Semester Program, a third- or fourth-year student can spend a semester working, studying, and carrying out research in Washington, D.C., for a full semester’s academic credit.  No more than two academic internship courses (Academic Internship, New York Semester Internship, Washington Semester Internship) may be counted toward the 32 courses required for graduation. The Program is designed to provide a student, regardless of major, an opportunity to:

  1. bring together past and current academic study with practical experience;
  2. come to a better understanding of the political process and the formulation of public policy;
  3. develop critical and analytical skills; and
  4. pursue independent research under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

Washington students have worked in congressional offices, the White House, federal agencies, museums, media outlets, and public interest organizations.

DCSP 381 —  Washington Seminar Course count: 1 

Gives students an opportunity to examine the policy process in the United States. Explores the grounds on which specific policies are advocated and discusses the aims of public policy. Students read and discuss a number of appropriate texts. Includes discussion of current events and may incorporate perspectives on the students' internships and their research projects.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Social Science

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

DCSP 382 —  Washington Internship Course count: 1.5 

An internship (four days per week) with a Government office, news organization, public interest group, museum, federal agency, or other Washington-based organizations offering a well-supervised position requiring initiative and responsibility.

GPA units: 1.5

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

DCSP 383 —  Washington Research Course count: 1.5 

A research project culminating in a substantial research paper. Each intern, in consultation with an on-campus faculty sponsor, chooses a research topic early in the term. The research paper will be both closely related to the student's internship responsibilities and useful to the Washington agency which serves as the site for the internship. The intern is expected to make good use of the resources of his/her agency and of Washington contacts to produce a paper which reflects the Washington experience.

GPA units: 1.5

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

New York Semester Program

The New York City Semester Program offers third and fourth year students the opportunity to spend an entire semester working, studying, and connecting theory to practice in our nation’s largest city. It combines experiential learning with a seminar led by a Holy Cross faculty member, a colloquia series with business and thought leaders, and a capstone project.  No more than two academic internship courses (Academic Internship, New York Semester Internship, Washington Semester Internship) may be counted toward the 32 courses required for graduation.

The Program is designed to provide students, regardless of major, an opportunity to:

  1. bring together past and current academic study with practical experience;
  2. critically evaluate leadership theories and concepts and apply them to current issues, problems, and opportunities involved in contemporary organizations;
  3. develop the tools necessary to consume information, formulate thoughtful opinions, and express those opinions in writing and through productive debate with others; and
  4. pursue independent research under the guidance of the program director and NYC-based mentor and present that research effectively to other students, academics, and business and thought leaders.

Admission to the New York City Program is by application only and highly competitive.

NYSP 382 —  New York Internship Course count: 1.5 

Students engage in substantive internships (four days per week) across various business units and industries (i.e. finance, the arts, communications/media, public policy, etc.). All internships must be housed in an NYC-based organization that 1) offers the student exposure to key issues in the field and 2) requires individual initiative and responsibility.

GPA units: 1.5

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

NYSP 383 —  New York Research Course count: 1.5 

A research project integrating seminar readings, the internship, and colloquia experiences. Supervised and graded by the program director, each student will select an issue directly related to the student's area of interest, work and study. The project will consider the issue in a larger context, survey the debates surrounding this issue, and include suggestions for further reading. It requires both a written analytical component and a formal boardroom presentation.

GPA units: 1.5

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

NYSP 384 —  New York Seminar Course count: 1 

This course will combine more theoretical work on organizational structures with the study of principles of leadership and the role of ethical issues in professional life. The readings and class discussions will address several basic questions: What is leadership and what are its elements? How do context and organizational structure affect the nature of leadership? How might we understand the moral purposes of leadership?This course will not simply be a survey of the existing literature on leadership studies. Rather, it will proceed from a careful study of classic texts that touch upon the problems and prospects of leadership as the manifestations of the problems and prospects of human nature. The readings and class discussions will focus on a series of central questions designed to isolate the basic premises of leadership, which will in turn enable students to apply this understanding to contemporary leadership issues and challenges.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Semester Away Program

Students who wish to engage in academic course work not available at the College may submit proposals for a semester or academic year of study at another institution, usually in the United States. For example, Environmental Studies students participate in the Sea Semester Program, co-sponsored by Boston University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Students in Deaf Studies may attend Gallaudet for an immersion experience in Deaf Culture. Opportunities are also available to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), such as Spelman College, Morehouse College, or Hampton University.

The Weiss Summer Research Program

Undergraduate research experiences provide students with the opportunity to create new scholarship and engage in hands-on academic work; during the summer, student researchers can focus exclusively on their research, and so are able to undertake significant projects with outcomes worth reporting in academic journals and conferences. The College offers three summer research programs that collectively serve students across the campus, in all majors. The Science Summer Research Program connects students with ongoing faculty projects in the natural sciences. The Economics Summer Research Program recruits a team of students to support Economics faculty research. The Summer Research Program in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts accepts student- and faculty-designed proposals. All three have a competitive application project, require a nine-week research period, and host a College-wide Summer Research Symposium in the fall, at which students report the results of their research.

The Ignite Fund

The Ignite Fund empowers students to accomplish independent goals by providing funds and administrative support. Students propose projects oriented toward a concrete problem or challenge on our campus, in our community, or around the world, and aspire to provide an actionable response. Funds are also available to support student research and participation in academic programs and national, regional, and state academic meetings. The Ignite Fund also provides funds for expenses related to research for the Weiss Summer Research Program and independent student research projects. Travel to special libraries, archives, performances and exhibitions is also supported. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis in the fall, spring, and summer.

Research Associates

Research Associates are students hired by faculty to assist them at critical moments of their professional research projects. Students spend approximately ten hours a week making use of the distinctive research skills that they have developed in their own college careers to enrich publishable faculty research. Along the way, they earn valuable experience and learn deeply about subjects in their areas of interest. Faculty apply for funding and select students; students may signify interest in participating and indicate their particular skills by signing up for the Research Associate Pool, which helps connect funded faculty to qualified students.

Scholarship in Action

Scholarship in Action (SIA) is an initiative to foster community-inspired research at the College that leads to the production of knowledge that serves both the community and the wider world.  To do this work well, SIA promotes ethically grounded collaborations among Holy Cross faculty, students, and Worcester community stakeholders to advance community-based research goals in the city.  SIA grants help nurture the development of sustained multi-year research projects that support student research in the city whether through research positions during the academic year, Community-Based Learning courses, or through summer research opportunities from the Weiss research program.  Through valuable research experience in the city and with community partners, student researchers have an opportunity to ground their liberal arts education through practice, enabling them to see how the liberal arts and humanities can meet the complex challenges facing our world today.

Other Experiential Learning Opportunities

The Center also partners with other experiential learning programs on campus, and encourages students to think of them all as a series of opportunities that together allow students to put their liberal arts education to work. These include:

  • The Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society
  • The Summer Internship Program
  • Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD)
  • The Chaplain’s Office