The Power in Community: Pathways to Resourcefulness
“Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.” bell hooks
This year’s program is designed to help students explore the history, theories, strategies, and practices of how diverse communities have contributed to the construction of the material world around us and shaped the environment, which in turn has molded our own consciousness. Our 2020-21 program’s focus is on the power within diverse communities to develop resources for fundamental transformation; a transformation that sustains and grows a healthy, just, and compassionate community - personally, collectively, across differences, within institutions, and other enumerable diverse contexts. The construction, design, and sustaining of resources developed through initiatives, strategies, and practices initiated in diverse communities has been a linchpin in the transformation of our world.
This program will explore the capacity and power of communities working together to develop resources in order to: critically explore societal narratives, interrogate and develop values, strategies, and tactics that inspire hope and encourage justice and equity. Social and environmental policies, economic and political institutions, structures/systems, neighborhoods, classrooms, public health entities, jobs, professions, families, and digital and social media will be the micro and macro contexts for this exploration. Understanding the role of community agency as pivotal in how people’s power can develop and sustain resources for healthy coexistence and co-creation will also be critically examined. Methods of improving citizens’ knowledge and skills in problem solving as well as an ability to see multiple sides of the problem and practice communication and decision-making skills will be integrated into our program.
The emphases designed in this year’s program will give students the opportunity to become acquainted historically with local, national, and global models of social change and the role that community initiated resources has played in providing reform as well as attempts at fundamental revolutionary transformations leading to equity and justice, particularly for those who live on the margin. Impact of race, class, genders, sexuality, and ideological factors will be examined to understand possibilities and contradictions in social interactions in the development of community resources.
We will be able to not only imagine a society where communities provide leadership in the direction of transformation, but also practice and apply our learning in interdisciplinary ways. We will examine theories and practices of community engagement, movements, and community disruptions (pandemics), etc. in humanities, social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences, media, and technology that simultaneously represent and influence community resources developed with individuals, groups, and organizations to change our society and environment locally, nationally, and globally throughout the ages.
The goal of this interdisciplinary program is to engage students in extensive research and in-depth textual analysis of individuals, institutions, and communities in transition. Thus, students are expected to use their research and analysis to respond to the changing needs of communities, environments, and society.
Each quarter, students participate in the weekly lecture/seminar series and attend two additional emphases of their choice. These emphases are s are taught by one or two faculty members in their field of disciplines and academic interest. They are designed to contribute to the program’s overall theme and further students’ learning in depth.
In fall quarter, students study the importance and models of resources developed and designed by community members and societal values discovered in social interaction and the emerging intended and unintended consequences in human history and in current times. They will have an opportunity to evaluate their own work to analyze how working together in community has shaped their worldview and contributed to the betterment of their life and the lives of their communities.
In winter quarter, students research possible causes and potential solutions to identified problems. This includes collaboratively researching and examining the pros and cons of a specific action. The major focus is to develop the skills and knowledge to bring forth social changes that value working hands.
Finally, in spring quarter, students present their community projects, based on their winter research, to the public at our annual Community Fair. These projects are developed throughout the year and build on the knowledge and skills gained in each quarter. Typically, students identify a topic connected to their areas of interest in fall quarter and begin enhancing their understanding of this subject through in-depth research and analysis. Their study and research in the winter quarter explores strategies to remedy or address pressing social, economic, or environmental problems. They carry out their research and action plan in spring quarter, presenting their work at the Community Fair and evaluating the process of their project before we celebrate the graduating class.
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$10 per quarter for entrance fees.