UNIV 349-01

Global Experience - Dominican Republic

Education and Ecotourism in the Dominican Republic

Spring 2017 - 3 credits

Dominican Republic


This course and study tour works in collaboration with an NGO in Angostura, Dominican Republic, to apply technical expertise from faculty and students at Clarkson to solve local problems in a rural upland community. Our task is to respond to the needs analysis provided by the NGO to improve efficiency of operation, cost effectiveness, and sustainability of local developmental initiatives. In 2015, we focused on cook stove technology and explored a community–based micro-hydroelectric power system. In 2017, we will be developing a marketing campaign, web-pages, and data management system to support the community’s ecotourism initiative, and troubleshooting their computer systems and information technology infrastructure.

The course involves preparatory work during the semester of spring 2017 and a two week service trip to Angostura in the Dominican Republic in May (tentatively May 16-29). Through Education First, we are collaborating with a local NGO to identify development challenges that will effectively use the range of engineering, science, social science and business skills of our Clarkson faculty and students.

During the spring semester, 2017, we will be meeting weekly to learn about the community and the context of the project and begin working in teams to develop solutions to the specific problems that we have been provided. Our task is to assist in the development of information technology and content for the community’s ecotourism enterprise and to develop computer infrastructure and educational resources for local schools. We may also identify other projects according to the needs of the community and the interests of the class over the coming months.

This year will build on our experiences with a similar service learning course in the spring of 2015 where we collected data about the impact of existing cook stove technology on indoor air quality.


Jon Goss
2101 Price Hall
Jeanna Matthews
389 Science Center


Class Times (Tentative): Monday 11-12:15 (Price Hall Classroom, Price 2001)
Trip Dates: May 16 - May 29 2017

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course and study tour students will demonstrate:

  • Critical understanding of environmental sustainability and social justice
  • Increased capacity for teamwork and problem-solving
  • Recognition of the responsibilities of local, national, and global citizenship
  • Appreciation of social and cultural diversity
  • Ability to adapt to an unfamiliar context
  • Critical reflection on overseas experience
  • EF College Study Tours

    Our Trip Details
    EF College Study Tours Enrollment Booklet

    Links to Angostura Ecolodge


    Dominican Treasures site

    Facebook page for Angostura lodge

    Rancho Angostura



    The Peace Corps Welcomes You to the Dominican Republic. . The Peace Corps (n.d.).

    The Dominican Republic: A National History, Frank Moya Pons

    Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook and Dictionary

    Eric Paul Roorda, Lauren H. Derby and Raymundo Gonzalez (2014) The Dominican Republic Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke University Press.

    Sean Harvey (2011) The Rough Guide to the Dominican Republic. Rough Guides.


    Black in Latin America: Haiti and the Dominican Republic: An Island Divided

    Pre-Trip Activities

    During-Trip Activities

    Post-Trip Activities

    Grade Breakdown

    Tentative Syllabus

    Date Topic Other Notes
    First class meeting, A few notes about preparing for travel (passports, immunizations, registering/paying for trip) CDC Health Information for Travelers to the Dominican Republic
    Travel Clinic (Clinic is held two times a month by Appointment)
    EF College Study Tours Enrollment Booklet
    Monday 1/23 Evaluation of Angostura web site
    Look at inspiring examples
    Brainstorm goals for the course
    Project teams
    Possible presentations
    Some other inspring sites:
    Catarata Lodge
    Piedra Blanca
    Sarinbuana Eco Lodge
    Moko Lodi
    Monday 1/30 Dominican History (Jeanna)
    Monday 2/6 Ecotourism (Jon Goss) Richard Denman (n.d.) Product development, marketing and promotion of ecotourism: summary report. The Tourism Company.

    Tinelle D. Bustam and Taylor Stein, How to Develop a Marketing Plan for Your Ecotourism Business. IFAS Extension, University of Florida.

    Antonis B. Petropoulos (2009) Marketing Ecolodges in an Ecological, Ethical & Effective way . International Ecotourism Club.

    Andy Drumm and Alan Moore (2205) An Introduction to Ecotourism Planning, Volume l . The Nature Conservancy.

    Andy Drumm and Alan Moore (2205) An Introduction to Ecotourism Planning, Volume 2 . The Nature Conservancy.

    Monday 2/13 Basic Spanish lessons, Current news and issues in the Dominican Republic, Relations with the US, Immigration

    Discuss ideas for everyone's powerpoints (Jeanna)

    BBC News Dominican Republic Country Profile

    Immigrants from the Dominican Republic in the United States

    2/2015: Thousands of Dominicans Woke Up This Week Without Citizenship in Any Country

    The Economist: Dominican Republic

    A popular president

    Mr. Vice President, All in Not Well in the DR
    Monday 2/20 Work on projects

    Detailed questions to send to hosts

    Friday 2/27 Documentary: Black in Latin America (Jeanna)
    Monday 3/6 Proposals for presentations due
    Monday 3/13 Work on projects
    Monday 3/20 Spring break
    Monday 3/27 Work on projects
    Monday 4/3 Presentations: History and Development of the Dominican Economy (Matthew), Sociohistorial analysis of Angostura and the DR (Daniel), Flora and Fauna of the DR (Lexie)
    Break into groups to practice Spanish
    Monday 4/10 Presentations: Landmarks in the DR (Nicole)
    Agricultural Economy (Maura)
    International Relationships (Trinity/Anise) Ecocertifications (Kristin)
    Monday 4/17 Project Status updates
    Website draft? Cookbook draft? Geo-caching/Trail mapping?
    Monday 4/24 Presentations: Dominican Food (Ben)
    Survival Spanish Quiz
    Must pass survival Spanish quiz before end of semester
    TBA Final exam slot, Any final presentations, Last chance Survival Spanish quiz, Review of the basics, Dominican dinner (?), More Merengue/Bachata lessons (?), Trip logistics review/discussion
    Tuesday 5/16 Fly to Santo Domingo
    5/29 Return to the US