Student-Originated Studies: Community-Based Work in a Challenging Time (CCBLA)

Fall 2017
Winter 2018
Class Size: 25
Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

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Taught by

Catalina Ocampo
Spanish language, Latin American literature

What are the economic, social, political and educational challenges that communities face today? What ideas and skills enable us to accompany and collaborate with local communities and schools as they address the challenges they face?

This Student-Originated Studies is designed to introduce students to community work and provide support to work in community settings and schools through internships or projects. Offered in collaboration with Evergreen’s Center for Community-Based Learning and Action, the program builds skills and offers a collaborative space to share experiences and learning.  It is appropriate for students with previous community experience as well as students seeking to learn how to apply classroom-based learning to community work and educational opportunities.

Community-based work can involve any focus; immigration, community development, education, adult literacy, youth, homelessness, and public health are some issues that groups in our region address in innovative ways. One focus of our studies will be identifying and valuing community knowledge—knowledge that supports activism and advocacy. We’ll address the practical and theoretical issues of community work: How do you enter a community? What are challenges you might face? How do we value our own distinctive identities while respecting differences we encounter? What skills do communities find useful? What are the ethical features of this work? How does “collaboration” differ from “helping,” and what strategies can lead to community collaboration?

Students will develop a project or internship with guidance and support from faculty. Students will earn credits through their project or internship (20-30 hours/week), and classroom learning, community panels, seminar, reflection, and workshops on and off campus. The settings will likely include non-governmental organizations, public agencies, social justice and advocacy organizations, public schools, social movement organizations among others. The range of academic and community work suited to this program includes working as an intern with defined duties at a community agency, organization or school; working with one or more community members (elders, mentors, allies, artists, teachers, skilled laborers, community organizers, etc.) to learn about a special line of work or skills that enrich the community as a whole; or designing a community action plan or case study aimed at problem-solving a particular challenge or need.

Fundamental skills to be taught both quarters include: observation/ documentation (visual and written), research, developing cross-cultural competencies, and self-reflection/autobiography.

Readings include: Miles Horton, The Long Haul: An Autobiography and Andrea Dryness, Mothers United: An Immigrant Struggle for Socially Just Education. We’ll read essays by  bell hooks, Anne Lovell, Joe Kadi  and others that focus on ethics, empowerment, personal identity, and the impacts of race, class and gender as constituents of our own and community experience .

This program is ideal for responsible, self-motivated students who value collaborative learning, are enthusiastic about shaping a community of co-learners, and are committed to learning from and with community organizations and educators.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

community development, the nonprofit sector, journalism, education, and media arts


Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

Variable Credit Options:

12-16 credit options available.


Students interested in learning the skills to do community-based work and getting involved in the community through an internship or project are encouraged to apply.

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Research Opportunities:

Research in the area of each student's interest will be strongly encouraged. Collaboration with the faculty on a research-, media-, or community-based writing project is also possible in this program.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 25

Scheduled for: Day

Advertised schedule:

First class meeting: Tuesday, September 26 at 9am (Sem II A3109)

Located in: Olympia

May be offered again in:


2017-08-29Leslie Flemmer joins the programfall quarter, replacing Anne Fischel.
2017-05-05This program will end after winter quarter (formerly fall-winter-spring).