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Liberal Arts Honors

Experiential Learning

LAH Experiential Learning courses for LAH Scholars and Distinguished Scholars Tracks

Student leadership, Research, Study Abroad, Internships, Community Service

To fulfill the certification requirements for the Liberal Arts Honors Scholar or Distinguished Scholar programs, LAH students must take at least one upper-division Liberal Arts honors course with an experiential learning designation.

Some classes have specific registration requirements. See the list below for details on registration:

Experiential Learning Courses requiring no special registration approval:

LAH 350 - Environmental Justice — Russell, Matthew

Experiential Learning: Research • Community Service

In this course, students will explore the origins of contemporary issues related to environmental justice, both a form of academic scholarship as well as a social justice movement.

The experiential learning component of the class involves a well-researched essay on a topic related to the environment as well as a digital project that documents either a local area of concern related to environmental justice or an area defined by interaction with students from an international university with whom students will partner.

See the Environmental Justice class project from Spring 2019.


LAH 350 - Treasure Hunt HRC Arch Research — Lang, Elon

Experiential Learning: Research

In this course, students will discover, explore, and promote some islands of order that emerge from the vast cultural and historical collections at archives on the UT-Austin campus, including the Ransom Center, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, and the LLILAS Benson Latin American Collection.

Students will develop essential skills for pursuing original research projects in humanities disciplines and learn how to apply those skills to bring public attention to hidden histories and marginalized voices in our culture.

See the website with exhibits from the Spring 2019 and Spring 2020 class.


LAH 350 - The Johnson Years — Lawrence, Mark (HMN 351C 18)

Experiential Learning: Research

Nearly 50 years after it ended, the presidency of Lyndon Johnson continues to inspire enormous interest and controversy.  What sort of person was Johnson?  What motives underpinned his greatest achievements and biggest errors in both the domestic and foreign-policy arenas?  How can we reconcile the triumphs of civil rights with the setbacks of the Vietnam War?  What is LBJ’s legacy, and what place does he deserve in the long flow of American history?  These will be among the major questions at the heart of this seminar.  In addressing them, we will read and discuss scholarship on the Johnson administration and the 1960s.  We will also meet with various participants in – or close observers of – the Johnson administration who live in and around Austin. 

Course requirements will include two short essays as well as a 10-12 page research paper based on materials in the LBJ Library archive.  We will devote considerable time early in the term to identifying promising topics and learning how to use the library’s reading room.  Over the remainder of the term, students will be expected to conduct research and, in consultation with the instructors, produce a polished paper. 


LAH 350 - Archival Advocacy: Experiential Learning — Lang, Elon

Experiential Learning: Research

Students will use digital archives and exhibits to amplify voices that actively promote social justice, cultural awareness, and service, and to test the ethical positions about impartiality and advocacy in archival and exhibit practices. Through a client-based semester-length service project, students would work with a service organization or cultural institution in the community that has materials or records that could provide a good subject for archival inquiry and an exhibit. The students would develop a series of scaffolded projects throughout the semester in which they would collaborate with members of the organization to access records, to digitize and describe a collection of their items, and to produce a public Omeka exhibit on selections from this collection. The first major project for the students would be a “pitch” that they would deliver to the organization in which they describe their research interests and also to make a case for what the organization itself might gain by opening itself up to the students’ digital archiving and historical inquiry. Their goal would be build toward a capstone project that situates the collection in the context of both the organization’s own institutional history and a broader history of the community in which the organization is situated, and then to promote the Omeka site on behalf of the organization.

This experiential learning class will cultivate professional skills in information science, cultural outreach, media literacy, and web design--as well as teamwork, independent research, critical thinking, work ethic discipline, accountability, and creativity. 


LAH 350 - Public Policy Internships/Advocacy — Merfish, Brett

Experiential Learning: Internship

Through this course, you will participate in a public policy oriented internship. This position can focus on an issue or institution of interest to you, and while assistance will be provided to select your internship before the semester begins, where you work is your decision. The role you select should be discussed and decided upon with your host supervisor and the course instructor. Examples of suitable host agencies include county and city officials, city, county, or state agencies, area non-profit organizations that have policy as part of their mission, public policy think tanks (e.g. the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Center for Public Policy Priorities), and state legislators’ offices. Students should make their best effort to have their host agency selected and approved before the semester begins.

To be eligible for this course, the internship host agency must be a policy-related nonprofit organization, government agency, or elected official’s office at the city, county or state level. Internship eligibility is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The internship must (1) provide direct and daily supervision and guidance; (2) provide regular access to the supervisor; (3) assign meaningful projects; and (4) provide a professional, established working environment with a strong learning component (home-office sites, shared or co-working sites, virtual/work from home or "in the field" internships are not eligible for the course).The hands-on experience students will gain in their public service internships will help shape classroom discussions. Students will learn about the field of public policy while gaining practical experience and first-hand knowledge of what it is like to work in public policy.


LAH 350 - Your Data/Your Privacy — Gold, Bradley

Experiential Learning: Research

Your data is valuable, and a lot of companies and organizations would love to share and sell it.  Many say that “data is the new oil”, but is that accurate?  No prior knowledge of data analytics or privacy engineering is required, and we will discuss together what personal data is, how companies collect it, and why they might want to sell it.  This class will be a thoughtful investigation into current and upcoming standards regarding data privacy, information technology (IT) security, and related fields such as Engineered Intelligence, and related products such as autonomous vehicles.   

In this class, you will have the chance to engage in learning about a new multi-disciplinary field, and be able to bring your own knowledge and expertise to the conversation.  This class will be a thoughtful exploration of the current state of cybersecurity and data privacy both in the US and globally. We will discuss corporate interests in data privacy, consumer interests in data privacy, changes in regulations, and the impact these fields have on the average person. No prior knowledge of the subject is required, we will work together throughout the class to educate ourselves and our classmates on topics within this realm that are both of interest to us and matter to others.  During the semester, above and beyond our core course content, you will have the opportunity to research a granular topic you are interested in regarding data privacy, and teach your peers about that specific sub-topic.


LAH 350 - Social Inequality and Health in the U.S. — Musick, Mark (H S 340, SOC 321K)

Experiential Learning: Research

This course examines patterns of health and illness in the US and their possible causes.  By focusing on societal structures and demographic trends, the course is able to uncover the ways in which American society and social interactions shape health outcomes across the adult population.  Some attention in the course is also devoted to the healthcare system in the US and the ways in which it leads to certain population health outcomes.  The course is designed with experiential learning in mind, thus it requires students to undertake projects that help them better understand how health outcomes are patterned in the community around UT Austin. 


LAH 350 - Spatializing Culture — Weinreb, Amelia (J S 365)

Experiential Learning: Research

The “Spatial Turn” emerged in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century as an interdisciplinary theoretical frame spanning the social sciences and humanities. It has transformed the understanding of the way space, place and landscape is produced, perceived, and experienced. This seminar will consider spatialization of various cultural groups. We will start with a shared example of Jewish cultures, and move on to individually selected cultural case studies that result in a final research and analysis paper. Throughout the course considering core themes such as: the power relations evident in economic, ideological, and technological production of space; the relationship between memory, history, and landscape; emotion in and about space, and more. The course is recommended for motivated LAH undergraduates in any discipline, with an intellectual curiosity about cultural geography, spatial theory and Jewish Studies, but requires no previous knowledge on any of these topics. This course is experimental, highly interactive, and focuses on the writing process.

Experiential Learning Courses that Require Professor approval:

LAH 350 - Philanthropy/Non-Profit Orgs — Paxton, Pamela

Experiential Learning: Research • Community Service

This course will introduce students to nonprofits, philanthropy, and how to give money away. It will cover theories of giving, the nonprofit sector, and criticisms of both.

The experiential learning portion of the class provides first-hand experience in donation to charitable organizations and research in evaluating nonprofits.

To enroll:

  • Email Prof. Paxton, Professor of Sociology
  • Include your name and EID, as well as the course name, unique number, and semester of enrollment.
  • An LAH Adviser will grant authorization for registration.
  • Students will be contacted via email to confirm authorization.
  • Register for the course.


LAH 350 - Best Pictures — Kornhaber, Donna (T C 358)

Experiential Learning: Research

The goal of the course and the larger experience offered to the Fellows is to introduce students to the study of film as a living medium, an art form very much still in the making and engaged in an ongoing process of re-invention.  In the best films of today, we can see the echoes and influences of key works from cinema’s past—indeed, connecting today’s award-winning films to the cinema classics that form their unspoken genealogy will be a central part of the classroom experience.  At the same time, the course aims to recognize and celebrate the new voices emerging in today’s cinematic landscape and to highlight the work of women and minority filmmakers whose voices have been underrepresented throughout most of film history.  The students who enroll in Best Pictures will gain the same in-depth understanding of the language and methodologies of film studies as the students in any traditional film studies course, but they will do so in the context of experiencing the excitement and creative energy of the ever-changing film industry today.

Please complete and submit the application form in electronic format as a PDF file to Brice Ezell via email ( ).  The deadline to submit is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 2020.  Late applications will not be considered.

All students who apply will be notified of their application status by April 17, 2020. 

Requires Professor and Career Services approval:

LAH 340L - Legal Internships — Levy, Mark (LAH 350 - Legal Internships and the Law)

Experiential Learning: Internship

America’s laws, lawyers, and courts have charted and changed the course of American history. In our classroom discussions and readings, we will explore the role of lawyers and how the practice of law has shaped American society. As a component of Liberal Arts Frontiers, students in the Legal Internships clinic will also intern in law offices or legal settings and meet weekly in class to discuss and learn from each student-intern’s experience. The hands-on experience students gain in their public service internships will help shape our classroom discussions, from topics including legal ethics and professional development to legislative oversight and settlement negotiations. Students will learn about the practice of law and how lawyers serve the public interest while gaining practical experience and first-hand knowledge of different legal fields.

The cornerstone of the Legal Internships clinic will be your participation as a student-intern in a legal, public policy, judicial, or legislative office. While help will be provided to select your internship before the semester begins, the final choice of where you work will be yours. The role you choose should be discussed and decided upon with your host supervisor and the course instructor. Explore a list of previous internship sites through the application information link below.

Application process



Other Experiential Learning Opportunities Include:

LAH 350 (Normandy Scholars Program) - Hitler Nazism/World War II (Honors) — Crew, David (HIS 376G)

MAN 347P Entrepreneurship Practicum


Or if you wish to substitute another upper division course with significant experiential learning, the experiential learning portion needs to be at least 1/3rd of the final grade and involve community service/work, research with primary sources, internship, or real-world experience. This requires professor and LAH Program approval.

ANT 662 Field Archaeology - BIZ or POR
SUS 379L Directed Internships in Sustainability