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Corps as a Credit-Bearing Course


Implementing a STARS credit-bearing course is an effective means to institutionalize STARS Computing Corps on your campus.  Institutions have structured STARS courses in several ways. Some schools have incorporated STARS concepts into existing courses such as senior Capstone and Professional Development courses (for example, South Carolina State University) or Current Topics and Project Management courses (Livingstone).  Others have created new courses based on STARS core values, such as seminars and activities that focus on technical excellence and leadership, and hands-on projects that promote civic engagement and building a community of student participants.  Florida State University developed an IT Leadership Course which teaches theory of leadership as well as providing experiential projects for hands-on learning.  This course fulfills a Leadership Course requirement and is used as a means to identify and recruit STARS Leaders to lead and manage outreach projects.  UNC Charlotte developed a series of courses:  The Computer Leaders Seminar teaches leadership and professional development both for computer majors and undecided majors who have fulfilled math prerequisites. These courses are followed by Computing Leaders Team Projects which focus on team-based community-service projects.  The courses have also received the UNC Charlotte Service-Learning designation which, among other criteria, includes reflective writing as a core component of the curriculum.  See Reflective Writing for the theoretical basis and resources.

When implementing a course, determine the specific details that work for your institution and Corps.  STARS institutions have implemented courses in a variety of ways:

  • Eligibility – offered STARS courses that were either required for computing majors or seniors, or were technical electives
  • Credit hours – ranged from 1 (frequently repeatable) to 3 credit hours
  • Frequency – taught every semester or spring only
  • Faculty – taught by the Academic Liaison or a Teaching or Graduate Assistant
  • Stipends – usually not given to students earning class credit; Team Leads who lead projects may receive stipends.


Students joining a STARS Computing Corps by registering for a class do not typically complete an application.  When a STARS course is taught as an elective, effective ways to recruit students into the Corps include word-of-mouth recommendations by STARS students, recommendations by Advisors, and excitement-generating STARS presentations by current STARS students to introductory computing classes. For more recruiting ideas see Recruitment


The course objectives used in STARS courses generally reflect the STARS mission to develop students who have deep technical skills and broad leadership and interpersonal skills to prepare them for success in the 21st century technical workforce. Selected objectives from STARS Courses include:

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of professional development and life-long learning; Demonstrate team work and communications; Knowledge of subject areas in Major Field test (SCSU
  • Students will gain leadership, management, and organizational skills through the design and implementation of ongoing team projects;  Mentor other students; Develop a personalized theory of leadership and a leadership action plan for the future (FSU
  • Students will have an understanding of performing research, writing an abstract, submitting an abstract for publication, writing a paper from the abstract, APA formatting, and developing a presentation for a conference (Livingstone
  • Students will understand leadership theory and contemporary leadership models; Understand concepts of citizenship and community service; Are able to articulate a personal philosophy of leadership; Develop technical and leadership skills (UNC Charlotte


  • Formal lectures and readings (SCSU)
  • Team building and dynamics, Theories of leadership, Theories of motivation, Creativity and Innovation, Leading adoption in Emerging Information Technologies (FSU)
  • Lectures, discussions, demonstrations related to the development of research paper writing, presenting, and publishing (Livingstone)
  • Leadership theory and development, how to work with a middle school audience, reflective journal writing, industry and graduate student panels and presentations, poster and presentation skills, GRE strategies (3-credit course).  The one-credit course is primarily team planning time with occasional guest speakers. (UNC Charlotte)

See Seminar Topics for course content ideas. 


  • Three community-based partners per semester (SCSU)
  • 16 projects per semester (half on campus, half with community partners) (FSU)
  • Salisbury High school – Me Time Girls Mentor group (Livingstone)
  • Citizen Schools, local school systems – high and middle schools, McClintock Partners in Education, career fairs and science festivals (UNC Charlotte)


  • Periodic quizzes, reports, major field test and senior exit exam (SCSU)
  • Project participation, written assignments, quizzes, WIKI assignments, student presentations (FSU)
  • Writing assignments and presentations (Livingstone)
  • Team and individual assignments, reflection journal, outreach hours (UNC Charlotte)



How To Get Involved

Sponsor a STARS Corps Student

Does your company or organization want to help further the impact STARS is making on women and minorities involved in computing? If so, we have multiple opportunities to partner with STARS!

Participate in the STARS Celebration

Join us for our annual leadership conference highlighting the achievements of our STARS Corps students and schools. Speakers, panelists, sponsors, community partners and general attendees are welcome!

Adopt the STARS Leadership Corps Model

The Corps is a curricular or co-curricular service-learning program that fosters student-led regional engagement. Find out how your institution can become part of STARS today!

Find a STARS partner near you

Community partners are vital to the mission of STARS. If you are currently implementing K-12 outreach and service learning, learn how STARS students can help implement your existing programs.

Join the STARS Online Community

Looking for unique resources or individuals to connect on great civic projects? Join our STARS Online community or visit the Digital Library for best practices and shared resources.


STARS Participant Schools