Community Based Learning in Social Sciences(SOSC 80)Welcome. This section of SOSC 80 is especially designed to support the Wellstone Fellowship for Leadership and Social Justice program funded by a grant from the Rappaport Family Foundation. Please read the description of the Rappaport Grant below for more details.
Nicky González Yuen, Instructor
Our particular focus will be a study of major strategies and tactics that can be used to create a broad-based social movement in support of funding for and access to higher education, and community colleges in particular.
The class will consist both of academic study and field learning or "civic engagement": academic study because it is vital to have a sound theoretical framework when studying social movements; civic engagement because study in "the field" gives you an opportunity directly to see real humans engaged in organizing around issues of concern in their immediate lives.
The combination of learning methods should give particiapants in the class a richer understanding than one approach alone would offer. Students will carry out weekly field work, supplemented by reading and writing assignments which will help them reflect on what they are learning in their field research.
Please read the class syllabus for details about the course operates.
I hope you will enjoy this class. Please be in touch with me with any questions or concerns you have.
Nicky González Yuen, Ph.D, JD
Instructor, Political Science Dept.
De Anza College
"If a teacher does not involve himself, his values, his commitments, in the course of discussion, why should the students?"-- Paul D. Wellstone
De Anza College Institute for Community and Civic Engagement
Rappaport Family Foundation Student Organizing Grant Project
Through this grant, De Anza College’s Institute for Community and Civic Engagement is able to recruit, train and support 8 interns whose primary work is to help build and sustain a movement to support higher education and community college funding in the state of California. While there has been student engagement in the struggle over higher education budgets, the organizing capacity of student leaders has been uneven, and the resulting movement has been difficult to sustain. This project thus addresses the need for well-trained community college student organizers to assume leadership in the broad struggle over higher education funding in California.
This project emerges at a particular moment in the institutional development of a particular community college, but aims at a much larger agenda: the development of a national model of civic and political education for the community colleges. De Anza College has a deep commitment to civic and community education, and has developed an institutional infrastructure virtually unique among community colleges. De Anza College has a strategic plan for civic engagement, an Institute for Community and Civic Engagement, dedicated staff in support of civic and community projects (including the college’s most senior administrative officers), a certificate curriculum in “Leadership and Social Change,” a civically active student leadership running student government, and a staff development infrastructure committed to civic work. We have dozens of courses in which community service is either required or available, and a set of training projects aiming to support students who seek direct civic engagement.
This project will train and sustain eight student organizers in the development of their organizational, civic, and community based work. Matched by institutional resources, grant support from the Rappaport Foundation is helping the college to expand significantly the number of paid organizers, to pay for outside training, and to support the direct civic engagement of students. The grant is allowing us to: 1) send students to training programs in civic engagement work, 2) place them into internships where they are learning essential hard skills of advocacy and grassroots organizing, 3) bring trainers to campus, and 4)—most critically—pay student interns to assume their own independent leadership of these events. Freed from having to work two or three jobs to survive even as they study, paid interns have the capacity to focus on two things: their academic work and their civic engagement work. With this grant we are providing better training, broader understanding of the organizational requirements of doing sustained civic engagement work, and better preparation for the successors to these particular student leaders.
If the work at De Anza is successful in developing a working model for civic engagement, we believe that we can replicate this model in many of our sister colleges throughout the state. If we are in fact able to do this, we can tap into an already-existing infrastructure of educators with an ongoing funding source, educational apparatus, and organized constituent base (i.e. poor, working class and middle class students primed for new educational experiences and acutely aware of the ongoing struggles over public funding of the educational and social safety net.)
We therefore believe that community colleges can be a unique and effective setting to contribute to the creation of an informed, motivated and mobilized mass movement of empowered citizens. We view our civic engagement work at De Anza College as part of the vital movement to transform community college students into a civic force for economic and social justice in California and beyond.