Programs and Clubs

Support Liberal Studies

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Programs & Clubs

Liberal Studies Student Association

To learn more about LSSA, click here

Student California Teachers Association (SCTA) Club

To learn more about SCTA, click here

Liberal Studies In the Community

Field Experiences | CESAME programs | Grants | Volunteer

The following is a partial list of Liberal Studies in the community. Please contact our office for more detailed information.

Liberal Studies Field Experiences

LS 230/250 Early Field Experience

Cal Poly's motto is "Learn by Doing," and that philosophy certainly extends beyond the classroom. LS 230 and 250 "Field Experience in the Elementary Classroom" (2 units) are courses that will aid you in your career decisions. Students will be placed in a local school, observing the classroom. And looking at all the factors that contribute to effective teaching and learning.   Each requires a minimum of 24 hours of volunteer work per quarter.  LS 230 course is a prerequisite for students who want to transfer into Liberal Studies.

LS 380 Subject Matter Apprenticeship

On your junior and senior year, we offer opportunities to observe one subject at a time. This is an opportunity to transition from the back of the classroom to the side and apply some of your content knowledge before you head to the credential program.  These courses offer a structured application of a specific content area in schools and informal educational settings. Topics include: Arts, English, Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Physical Education and Health. The Schedule of Classes will list topic selected.

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CESAME Programs

The University Center for Excellence in STEM Education (CESAME) was created to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, teacher education and professional development, and the workforce pipeline in California.  As a university-wide endeavor, CESAME is responsible for several cross-disciplinary campus initiatives that impact STEM education and teacher development programs across the state. CESAME cultivates collaborations among students, staff and faculty from across campus and nurtures partnerships with preschool through high school (P-12) teachers, community college faculty, as well as business, industry, government, and foundations in order to achieve its goals.

There are several excellent programs for ALL Junior/Senior Liberal Studies major to select.  You do not need a concentration in STEM to be able to participate in these programs.  Remember that any experience that places you in the classroom or with children will help you in your path to becoming a teacher.

Teaching Assistants in Math and Science (TEAMS)

TeAMS assistants tutor or assist Math, Science, or AVID teachers in local middle school or high school classrooms. Assistants are paid and receive course credit. All students following a science or mathematics concentration should apply to get a taste of teaching in middle school as a possible career path. Associated Course: SCM 220.  Offered Fall, Winter and Spring. 

Mentors out of School Time (MOST)

MOST mentors teach pre-developed, STEM-focused modules to students in an after-school program at local schools. Mentors are paid and receive course credit. Offered Fall, Winter, and Spring.  Associated Course: SCM 220. Offered Fall, Winter, and Spring

Communicating Ocean Science to Informal Audiences (COSIA)

COSIA students develop & deliver ocean science-themed activities to varying audiences both on and off campus. Associated Course: MSCI 440.  Offered Fall. Learn more about COSIA.

Learn by Doing Lab (LBDL)

LBDL facilitators engage visiting 5th-8th-grade students in hands-on science and engineering labs on campus. Course credit only.  Offered Winter and Spring.  Learn more about LBDL.

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Liberal Studies Grant Programs

By participating in several grant programs, the Liberal Studies Department provides our students the opportunity to participate in educational reform programs as well as targeted projects at area elementary schools. Our current programs include:

Central Coast Science Project (CCSP) 1998 - date

The Central Coast Science Project is part of a statewide network for Professional Learning and Leadership Development for California Educators.  Our focus is to provide the infrastructure for science professional development across the State. The regional site is housed in the Liberal Studies and Chemistry departments at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  The CCSP is part of the larger network of science network known as the California Science Project administered by the University of California, Office of the President.  Visit CSP at .  The CCSP collaborates with science faculty, educators, schools and districts to provide effective and high-quality science instruction, with a special focus on the needs of English learners, students in poverty, and students with low literacy. While our funding is focused towards the professional development of teachers, Liberal Studies students can participate in our yearly conference: Super STEM Saturday, summer institutes, STEM Nights or use our Science Kits for Teaching library.  Learn more about the CCSP borrowing library.  Funding: $50,000/year.  PI S Bush, co-directors: L Berber-Jimenez, and N Stauch CCSP coordinator: Jenny Bush;

California Math and Science Partnership (CaMSP) 2010-2013 and 2015-2017

Teachers inspiring science, technology, engineering and math in the elementary classroom! The CaMSP Teacher Leadership Capacity Collaborative is funded by California Department of Education a partnership with the Paso Robles USD serving as the Leading Educational Agency and Cal Poly as the Institution of Higher Education.  A dedicated group of sixty - 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade classroom teachers across from five local districts are working to bring STEM into their classroom; applying Next Generation Science Standards and developing leadership. $1,500,000 for three years (cohort 10, 2014-17) P.I. Lola Berber-Jimenez , Co-PI Babette Decou, Director Trina Niklas and Cal Poly Coordinator Jenny Bush,

Bechtel 2015

Project Based Learning in undergraduate Liberal Studies courses.  The primary goal of the first stage of this project is to give Cal Poly undergraduates, teacher candidates, faculty and K-12 teachers experience with PBL, experience developing projects collaboratively with a focus on inclusivity for all learners, and skills to evaluate the teaching, projects, and student learning in PBL settings.  This grant is part of a CSU system-wide effort to prepare the Next Generation of Educators.  PI Leah Woods.  Learn more about this.

Bechtel 2013

Core Liberal Studies Science courses integrate the Engineering Design process.  Through thoughtful collaboration among Science and Engineering faculty, we modified existing science courses to integrate Next Generation Science Standards as well as Engineering practices.  This grant was part of a CSU system-wide effort to bring NGSS Science and Engineering practices and several model projects were developed and used in our Physical Science series and Liberal Studies capstone course.

SCTA Grants

Children's Books in Children's Hands (2012-2014). SCTA-SLO students worked with the Liberal Studies Department, local school districts, schools and teachers to create programs that enriched and promoted literacy in and out of the classroom.  This project was sponsored by a $2,000 2013 NEA CLASS grant led by J Hsieh, L Nevius and L O’Mary. Learn more about this.

Leaders in Elementary Outreach (LEO) project (2014-).  This project fosters community involvement and provides much-needed assistance to public schools.  It supports the placement of 5 Liberal Studies student in an elementary school in Santa Maria-Bonita.  L.E.O. was sponsored by a $5,000 Warren J. Baker Endowment for Excellence in Project-Based Learning and Robert D Koob Endowment for Student Success.  Learn more about this

Art Education Grants

The Central Coast Center for Arts Education at Cal Poly (CCCAE) and the YMCA Youth Institute (Y.I.) embarked on a collaboration to provide a technology arts-based afterschool and summer program for students that will benefit LS students. CCCAE is committing $10,000 to help teach students the basics of graphic design and how to create films and produce magazines. The program will begin this summer for sixth- through eighth-grade students. The San Luis Obispo Y.I. is an offshoot of a successful pilot program in Cambria, CA. Under the direction of Cal Poly liberal studies alumnus D Hartzell, Cambria Middle School students exhibited an increased interest in academic success, aspirations to work in technical fields and a desire to attend a four-year higher education institution. Hartzell will help provide Saturday workshops to LS 410/413 students facilitated with MS and HS students.

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Cal Poly Volunteer Programs

The LS department is currently supporting schools and teachers with their family STEM nights. A family STEM Night is an evening of hands-on science activities for students and their family at local elementary schools. This is a free event where families can explore science concepts in a different and fun way. We are looking for Cal Poly students to help out. We generally bring 2-4 hands-on activities and no experience necessary! Contact: Jenny Bush, Volunteer sign-up:

Cal Poly is currently running eight volunteer programs that organize events ranging from helping the homeless to helping the environment. SCS hosts annual events such as See the Need Week, Homelessness Awareness Week and Change the Status Quo, a one day conference designed to give students tangible tools to be effective advocates for social change.  Learn more about this.

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