When Penn State Berks Lecturer in English Composition Justin De Senso was deciding on a project for his Writing in the Social Sciences (English 202A) course, he had to look no further than the media headlines. The ongoing series of protests and civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and throughout the country sparked the idea to take a fresh approach to the topic of the local community?s perception of their police force. De Senso assigned his class to interview and write short biographies of members of the Reading Police Department; the biographies will be compiled for publication into a book later this year.
De Senso has been working with Reading Police Sergeant John Solecki to coordinate interviews, which will be held on campus on Monday, March 2, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in the Janssen Conference Center and Wednesday, March 4, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, in the Perkins Student Center. The class of 28 students will work in two-person teams to interview the officers and write the biographies through the end of the semester.
The Reading Police Oral History Project is supported by the Penn State Berks Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research. Students will be conducting primary research by interviewing the police officers and they will provide a lasting resource for their community in terms of the finished manuscript, which will be located at the Berks Historical Society. The project has been partially funded by the Howard O. and Jean S. Beaver Endowment for Community Service.
For more information, contact De Senso at 610-396-6378 or via e-mail at [email protected].