A College student works with a Claremont Academy 6th grader to create prototype playground equipment.


Chicago Studies Courses

Chicago Studies partners with academic programs across the College to offer classes that focus on Chicago; to support Chicago-themed units within classes that address broader themes; to facilitate learning experiences throughout the city and region; and  to develop structures for innovative teaching and learning based in Chicago, such as the Chicago Studies Quarters series.

Classes that significantly feature Chicago content and/or experiences in the city may apply for cross-listing with Chicago Studies (CHST).  The cross-listing improves the visibility of classes during registration, and entitles classes to a higher level of financial and logistical support for experiential learning in the city.

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Criteria for CHST Cross-listing

The “Chicago Studies” cross-list (CHST) may be used to designate classes that fit into any of the following categories -- click on each heading for recent examples in that category.  Apply for the CHST cross-list here (webform will open in a new window).

    Chicago Studies regularly cross-lists classes that offer historical, literary, artistic, social-scientific, or scientific explorations of Chicago, including those that focus on one or more the city’s diverse communities and/or the broader “Chicagoland” region.  Some recent examples of classes in this category include:

    • ANTH/CHST 21201 - Chicago Blues (Mickey Dietler).  This class included a series of "tiny desk concerts" from Chicago blues musicians funded with an experiential learning micro-grant.
    • ARTH/CHST 24196 - Second Nature:  New Models for the Chicago Parks District (Andrew Schachman).  This class did large or small group visits to five different Chicago Parks as part of their fieldwork, with all transportation arranged (or reimbursed) through an experiential learning micro-grant.
    • CEGU/CHST 20335 - Chicago Urban Morphology (Michael Conzen).  This class began with a regional bus tour arranged and paid for by Chicago Studies as part of an experiential learning micro-grant.
    • HIST/CHST 18806 - Introduction to Black Chicago, 1893-2010 (Adam Green)
    • PLSC/CHST 24202 - Chicago Politics (Mark Hansen).  Professor Hansen's class featured weekly guest speakers from Chicago's 10th Ward, offering a series of specific examples of broader principles discussed in the class.  Honoraria were provided by an experiential learning micro-grant.
    • RLST/CHST 25704 - Environmental Justice in Chicago (Sarah Fredericks).  This class included several trips to environmental justice sites in Chicago, where students met with community organizers.  The travel and honoraria for all interlocutors were provided by Chicago Studies through an experiential learning micro-grant.
    • TAPS/CHST 24500 - Chicago Theatre:  Budgets and Buildings (Heidi Coleman).  Students in this class visit 3-5 storied Chicago theatre venues and interview their artistic and executive directors about the mechanics of "doing theatre" in Chicago, with transportation and honoraria funded by an experiential learning micro-grant.

    Chicago Studies also cross-lists courses that integrate fieldwork, diversity learning, undergraduate research, or other forms of experiential learning in Chicago as constitutive elements of their pedagogy.  Some recent examples of classes in this category include:

    • ARTH/CHST 24198 - Architecture of the Public Library (Luke Joyner).  Class sessions were held in different public libraries around Chicago each week, using funds from an experiential learning micro-grant to provide transportation assistance to students.
    • ARTV/CHST 22321 - Untidy Objects (Amber Ginsburg).  This project-based class explored the intersections between natural landscape, found objects, and artists' creativity on an undeveloped plot of land in Woodlawn behind the Logan Center.  An experiential learning micro-grant provided materials for plantings, tools, and some contractor support.
    • HIST/CHST 19701 - Oral History:  Theory and Methods (Nicholas Kryczka).  Students in this class were asked to practice oral history-gathering skills on Chicagoans of various walks of life, and shared the transcripts of their interviews with their subjects.
    • PBPL/CHST 29404 - Inequality, Household Finance, and Tax Policy (Damon Jones).  Students in this class volunteered weekly as tax preparers through a local nonprofit to better understand the real-world implications of tax policy on lower-income families.  An experiential learning micro-grant provided transportation assistance to students.
    • SOSC/CHST 24506 - The Rights of Immigrants and Refugees in Practice (Susan Gzesh).  This class engaged practitioners from a range of social service organizations assisting and advocating for the rights of immigrant groups throughout Chicago.  An experiential learning micro-grant provided honoraria for guest speakers, transportation assistance for class site visits, and consulting stipends to organizations that shared time and data with student groups to inform their final research projects.

    Finally, Chicago Studies regularly cross-lists classes that explore urban topics or research methods and consistently consider or make applications to Chicago (and Chicago data) throughout the class.  Some recent examples of this kind of class include:

    • ARTH/CHST 24199 - The Life of Buildings (Chana Haouzi).  This class considered examples of adaptive re-use drawn from across Chicago, and visited several.  Transportation for the site visits was arranged and paid for through an experiential learning micro-grant.
    • CHDV/CHST 24599 - Historical and Contemporary Issues in US Racial Health Inequality (Micere Keels).  Public health data and articles analyzed in this class were consistently drawn from the city of Chicago.
    • CLCV/CHST 25122 - Modern Classical Reception, 1879-1952 (Patrice Rankine).  The course illustrates artistic and architectural referencing of Classical civilizations through examples drawn from Chicago collections, archives, and the built environment.  An experiential learning micro-grant supported several guest speakers and field trips in the city.
    • GISC/CHST 27102 - Spatial Cognition (Crystal Bae).  This course illustrates the power of geospatial analysis using datasets drawn from the Chicago Data Portal and other regional sources.
    • LING/CHST 21720 - Sociophonetics (Jacob Phillips).  This class explores micro-distinctions in spoken language by considering speech variations across Chicago neighborhoods.  Students interview and analyze a range of long-term Chicagoans for their final projects.


    Not all of a course’s content or pedagogy need focus on Chicago in order to be cross-listed as a Chicago Studies (CHST) course. 

    Generally speaking, in courses whose content includes Chicago-related units, the Chicago-focused content should make up 20% or more of the class’ material -- about two weeks' worth in a typical 10-week course.  In a "modular" course, Chicago should be the focus of at least one major unit; in a text-based course, Chicago examples (or authors) should feature prominently in at least one of the major texts considered.

    In assessing whether a class that involves experiences in the city could be cross-listed with Chicago Studies, it's important to think about how those experiences intersect with the teaching and learning strategy of the course as a whole.  The following table may be helpful for instructors who are considering applying for the cross-list.  In this framing, “Enrichment” classes would normally not be eligible for cross-listing (although they could still apply for a Chicago Course Connections microgrant -- see our Grants page for more).  “Partner” and “Focus” classes would almost always be eligible for the cross-list. “Feature” classes would require individual consideration.

    Levels/Types of Chicago Engagement in College Classes

      Chicago as Enrichment Chicago as Feature Chicago as Partner Chicago as Focus
    Summary of Chicago Engagement The class provides occasional or co-curricular opportunities in the city The course considers at least one Chicago example, author, theme, or topic as part of its academic contents The course partners with one or more Chicago organizations or institutions to support ongoing experiential and/or high-impact learning The course's primary content focuses on one or more aspects of the city and its diverse communities, past or present
    Integration of Chicago-related content Course content does not specifically consider Chicago, but uses city-based experiences to illustrate or exemplify its academic content Although the course as a whole is not focused on Chicago, at least one unit explicitly considers Chicago-related content Course content may be method- or urban-focused, but is consistently illustrated by or applied to Chicago as a teaching strategy The course includes explicit consideration of how its content has been influenced or shaped by Chicago's broader history, demographics, economy, etc.
    Possible Experiential Learning Strategies Field trip; guest speaker; relevant cultural experience; course content-related training provided by Chicago-area expert Field trip(s); guest speakers(s); cultural experience(s) or use of Chicago data and archival materials as part of class' exploration of a specific unit "In the field" teaching and learning; regular use of Chicago-based high-impact pedagogies (fieldwork, diversity learning, project-based learning); partners engage regularly and/or co-instruct multiple classes Integration of Chicago primary sources, first-person experiences, data, etc. as core elements of course's academic content; student research is also focused on Chicago themes/materials.


    Regardless of category, we encourage the following pedagogical preferences in all courses that seek to engage students in meaningful study of the city, and will evaluate requests for the CHST cross-list to assess the courses' alignment with these priorities:

    • An emphasis on primary sources, first-person narratives, and/or experiential learning to expose students to Chicago’s communities, past and present, as immediately as possible;
    • Acknowledgement and respectful consideration of knowledges arising from the experiences of Chicagoans of all walks of life, including those traditionally marginalized or excluded from academic discourse;
    • The integration of high-impact teaching and learning strategies (see Kuh, et al., 2008) to reinforce critical thinking, reflective inquiry, and diversity awareness in engaging the city.

    Chicago Studies offers a rubric to help instructors reflect their course designs in relation to these values.