Education in Action
Education in Action aims to challenge and encourage students to become engaged in facilitating and supporting their peers and faculty in community-based learning and research. By working together on community-based projects, students and faculty expand their role as civically and community engaged scholars.
Role of EIA Facilitators
- Assist faculty in planning and implementing the community component of the class;
- Guide students with their community projects, including the academic connections, logistics, and communting to off-campus sites;
- Assist faculty in communicating and interacting with community partners.
In addition, student facilitators read current academic literature about the field of community based learning and research, write reflection papers, and discuss their experiences assisting faculty with CBL courses. EIA facilitators are mentored by CCBL staff and faculty as young civically-engaged scholars.
EIA Courses/ Spring 2012
ARTF 242: Projects in Documentary Video
Faculty: Brody Fox / Student Facilitator: Veronica Pinkham / Community Partners: LA Freewaves
The course will explore a variety of approaches to documentary video. Hands-on projects will be supplemented by discussions of theoretical readings, screenings, and technical issues. The course is community-based learning from start to finish, beginning with documenting Occidental’s 2012 MLK Day of Service activities in greater Los Angeles. Students will then spend the semester making a collection of short digital documentaries that are all connected thematically in how they employ interpretations of “community”. In addition to community interactions on their own projects, students will collaborate with L.A. Freewaves, a leading art and media organization in Los Angeles committed to creating alternative exhibition contexts for independent media in Los Angeles communities.
On April 20th students exhibited their work to the Occidental and Los Angeles communities as part of the 3rd annual Oxy Freewaves Event, which featured video projections onto the walls of Herrick from Out-the-Window - community-based videos produced for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA/Metro) buses as part of LA Freewaves’ latest MacArthur Grant funded project.
ARTF 248: Introduction to Media Studies
Faculty: Ari Lee Laskin / Student Facilitator: Ruby Paiva / Community Partners: Various Media Scholars
This course will introduce students to the critical social theories of media and culture, focusing especially on the moments of new media development between the industrial revolution and digital convergence in the 21st century — from the development of moveable type to silent films to television and videogames and on to revolutions in politics and relationships opened up by social networking. The course emphasizes interactions between technology, social institutions, and cultural form, using readings in Marxist theory, media history, and comparative media studies. The emphasis is on critical reading, discussion, writing, and using theories to investigate case studies in media and culture.
CTSJ 257: Critical Praxis – Voice, Memory, and Community Transformation
Faculty: / Student Facilitators: Kaitlin Tomaya / Community Partners: Little Tokyo Service Center
This course employs community-based research strategies to engage students with questions of “voice”; dynamics of race, gender and class; and multiple perspectives that shape understandings of community transformation. Students in the course work with community partners to develop and implement a research project. For the Spring 2012 course, students are working with the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) on a community inventory and mapping project that is connected to the organization’s work on issues of gentrification, development, and dynamics of community preservation and change as the MTA moves forward with the Regional Transit Connector in the neighborhood. We will consider histories and contexts of Little Tokyo, ways of thinking about community, and LTSC’s work connecting social services, low-income housing, and community development in a community that is conceived of as both Japanese American and multi-ethnic.
CTSJ 257 is a course in which students explore the meaning of community and the significance of preserving physical spaces. Currently, the symbolic and spiritual home of Los Angeles’ Japanese-American population – Little Tokyo – is under the pressure of gentrification and development as the MTA’s Regional Connector project moves forward into the area. This is an important time for the community, as examining how to survive the massive changes that the Regional Connector will have on the neighborhood has also lead to broader discussions revolving around what defines Little Tokyo, and thus what about the physical space is so crucial to preserve and what in the space needs to be created. For this class, Occidental students are partnering with the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) to gather information about why business owners, non-profit organizations, residents, and others have chosen to be located in Little Tokyo and what this community means to them. Students will interview individuals in the above categories in Little Tokyo, as recommended by LTSC, and afterwards they will compile results, write a report, and present findings to LTSC and interviewees in Little Tokyo. Thus, students will learn both practical skills related to researching and interviewing, as well as have the opportunity to understand the topics surrounding community transformation in a very immediate and meaningful context.
CSP 51: Economic Markets – Do They Work?
Faculty: Bevin Ashenmiller/ Student Facilitator: Margeau Valteau / Community Partners: KIWA, CHIRLA, and MIWON
This seminar will cover basic principles of economics, while simultaneously addressing issues of market failure. Examples of market failure are found throughout economics. We will discuss classic models that address labor market discrimination based on race, sex, and sexual orientation, environmental issues such as offshore oil drilling and enforcement, and regulation issues focused around climate change, illegal immigration, and banking. We will also incorporate current research in behavioral economics, which examines questions about rational behavior and creates debates around issues such as children’s health.
Students will be learning about the economics of immigration. This includes topics such as immigrant assimilation into the labor market and the barriers that immigrants face in finding jobs or acquiring skills, the costs and benefits of immigration, immigration policy, and undocumented immigration. The goal of the community-based learning component will be for the students to learn more about the experiences (particularly labor market) that immigrants have when they first arrive in the U.S. and what types of programs or policies are in place to help them. Working with KIWA, CHIRLA, and MIWON, the class will engage with organizations that work with the immigrant labor market in Los Angeles.
CSP 55: Urban Fictions
Faculty: Raul Villa / Student Facilitator: Daina Solomon
This course examines artistic techniques (including literature, visual arts, film and music) representing contemporary urban life (19th century to present) with an emphasis on Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City and Berlin.
The course’s community-based components include three off-campus excursions, two to downtown L.A., and one to Leimert Park. The downtown trips were part of a photography project in which students selected a theme representing downtown, and expressed it through 10-20 original photographs. On the first visit, students walked a tour planned by Professor ills and the EIA facilitator, traveling through the Historic Core, Bunker Hill, Jewelry District and Toy District. They returned a second time to take photographs, and later shared the final photo-essays in class presentations.
The trip to Leimert Park, one of African-American L.A.’s cultural and historical hubs, enhanced the student of works expressing African-American city experiences (including poetry by Gil Scott Heron and Kamau Daood, music by Marvin Gay and Curtis Mayfield, the films Killer of Sheep and Leimert Park, and the novel The Southland by Nina Revoyr). At Leimert Park, students met with Michael Datcher, a poet, novelist and professor at Loyola Marymount University. He also leads writing programs at World Stage, a non-profit arts organization at Leimert Park. Datcher spoke about the history and significance of Leimert Park as a neighborhood that has supported and fostered artistic and cultural expression Sotuh L.A., particularly among the black community. He also addressed the possibilities for future growth and development in the neighborhood. After meeting with Datcher, students visited Eso Won, one of L.A.’s few African-American-focused bookstores, and Kaos Network, a media arts center. The trip concluded with lunch on Crenshaw Blvd. at Earlez Grille, an eater known as much for its hot dogs as its popularity among locals of all stripes – politicians to poets to rappers.
On campus, students attended a presentation by Ruben Martinez, and are scheduled to attend a lecture by Helena Maria Viramontes. Martinez and Viramontes are prominent authors who have written about Latino culture and experiences in L.A. Students have read their works in the course.
The community-based components will help students to achieve the following objectives:
- Develop definitions of “urban” and related terms such as: city, metropolis, central city, inner city, urban core, metropolitan area, exurb, suburb, and country (rural area). Consider how those terms can be applied to both the course readings and greater L.A.
- Understand the similarities and differences among representations of selected cities. Take into account location (United States, Latin America and western Europe) and time period (19th century to present).
- Articulate various techniques used by artists to express characteristics and experiences of their cities.
- Recognize and analyze the artistic techniques that most effectively express urban conditions.
- Identify students’ personal experiences that relate to urban issues and artistic expression, especially concerning L.A.
- Examine photographic representations of the city. Analyze their techniques and objectives.
- Create a photographic representation of one aspect of contemporary L.A.
- Cultivate an awareness of L.A. history, geography and culture, as well as an interest in continued city explorations.
- Improve skills in research, analysis, writing and communication.
MATH 201: Mathematics, Education, and Access to Power
Faculty: Alan Knoerr / Student Facilitator: Gaby Lima / Community Partners: Franklin High School, The Algebra Project, Garvanza Elementary
This 2-unit CBL course engages Occidental students in math education as a social justice issue. Only a small percentage of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District test as “proficient” in mathematics, yet Algebra I is required for graduation and many students struggle with even more basic mathematics. Failing mathematics is an important predictor of dropping out of school.
Math 201 meets as a seminar each week to discuss readings and research on power, community organizing, school cultures, the politics of education, and math pedagogy. Each week students work with teachers and students at local schools and write critical reflections relating this work, their readings, and their own development. The course culminates in individual or group projects.
The work with community schools is intended to be catalytic, helping schools do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. In Spring 2012, Math 201 students are working with a sixth grade Math Team and Annandale Elementary School, running an after-school games-based math program at Garvanza Elementary School, assisting a teacher at Franklin High School who is teaching a computer-based remedial Algebra 1 course, and working with the Algebra Project classes at Franklin. These classes, now in their third year, work with a cohort of students who were the most at risk of dropping out of school due to poor math performance when they matriculated at Franklin. They are now studying Algebra II and Trigonometry. This program is part of a national study developed by the Algebra Project and funded by the National Science Foundation. Math 201 students are helping these students think about college as well as work on math. As one of their projects, they are running a series of person-statement writing workshops for Algebra Project students and their friends.
POLS 240/241: Rebellious Lawyering Practicum/Community Law Internship
Faculty: Thalia Gonzalez / Student Facilitator: Ben Kowalcyk / Community Partner: Several Community-Based Legal Organizations
Lawyers who advocate for the disadvantaged and underrepresented, and thus for a more equal, sustainable and participatory society, are practicing in a new context today. These lawyers use different techniques and play different roles than those of the litigation impact lawyers of the 1960s or 1970s. In this course, students will engage in critical assessment of new lawyering practices that challenge existing relationships and social hierarchies while engaging lawyers’, clients’ and students’ powers of moral imagination, collaboration, and critical deliberation. Students will consider the theories and practices of “rebellious lawyering,” “third dimensional lawyering,” and “democratic lawyering.”
POLS 240: Community Law Internship
The goal of the Community Law Internship is to provide students with a practical understanding of public interest law. The community Law Internship must be taken simultaneously with Politics 241, which integrates theoretical aspects of social change, activism, organizing, and public interest law practice. The Community Law Internship allows students to learn through direct experience about the practice of public interest law in Los Angeles, as well as deeply explore issues of race, class, economic equity, and social justice. Each student will work with a community-based legal organization engaged in public interest law practice for approximately 12-15 hours each week. The unique approach of integrating Politics 240 and Politics 241 takes advantage of Occidental faculty expertise and wide-range of community-based education opportunities available in Los Angeles, as well as promotes a high level of engagement in the courses’ curriculum.
POLS 241: Rebellious Lawyering
Rebellious Lawyering immerses students in the theory and practice of “rebellious lawyering” the name given to both a particular vision of problem solving practiced by growing numbers of lawyers and the broad movement championing this vision. Practitioners pursuing the rebellious vision aim to collaborate well with others, to frame and address problems from different perspectives, to design and implement a wide range of strategies, to monitor execution and enforcement, to evaluate the overall impact of strategic interventions, and to manage offices and organizations and systems. Uniting these key fundaments, rebellious practitioners aspire to achieve a radically participatory and egalitarian democracy, where full citizenship is a concrete everyday reality and not just a vague promise. Rebellious Lawyering has a unique linked course design between theoretical and experiential academic experiences. Seminar (Politics 241): Students participate in a weekly seminar, where readings related to law, social change, movements activism, and public interest law practice are discussed. Community Law Internship (Politics 240): Students will work weekly as law clerks for community-based public interest legal service organizations. Speaker Series: Rebellious Lawyering will bring rebellious advocates and lawyers from throughout Los Angeles to discuss their work.
UEP 204: Environmentalism – Past, Present, and Future
Faculty: Martha Matsuoka / Student Facilitator: Andri Tai-Ward
The course presents a broad view of the roots of environmentalism, including the relationship of environmentalism with respect to issues of class, race, gender and ethnicity. It situates the history, present day circumstances, and future direction of the environmental movement within the broader study of environmental topics and methods. It also provides the background to better understand the significance of this crucial social movement and how it has addressed the complex relationships between urban, industrial, and natural environments.
The community-based learning component is centered on in-class speakers, joint classes with other UEP courses and an interactive bus tour centered on industrial development and public health. The major field trip is a bus tour, similar to CBE’s Toxic Tour, throughout Southeast LA’s heavy industrial zones, the ports of LA and Long Beach, and the oil refinery neighborhoods in Wilmington.
UEP 214: Practicum in Public Education Issues and Policy
Faculty: Steve Zimmer / Student Facilitator Maddisen Domingo / Community Partners: Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, The Robert F. Kennedy Pilot Schools, LAUSD Board of Education, Grand View Blvd. Elementary School, Mark Twin Middle School, Venice High School, Youth Policy Institute
This course provides students with an opportunity to engage in major research and internship opportunities around key Education Policy and Politics issues. Students will have an opportunity to complete in-depth study and analysis of four major issues facing public education through action research, field visits, class discussion and meetings with Los Angeles school policy makers. Students will have the opportunity to engage with high level policy makers and learn about the policy process relating to four significant policy issues facing the Los Angeles Unified School District (Teacher Evaluation, Food/School Lunch Policy, the Public Education Budget and The Parent Trigger/Community Organizing). Furthermore, students will come to understand the impact of poverty, systemic racism and conditions on classroom instruction and student achievement. This course will create a unique opportunity for individual and small group feedback, guidance and engagement around research, field work and internship possibilities that will improve senior comprehensive project quality and clarify graduate/summer preachment planning.
While the class consists of weekly lectures, students will be required to completely meaningful primary source research at schools or with various community-based organizations throughout the semester. Most students will conduct research at schools. For some, this will consist of a semester long project, while other students will choose to do short-term in-depth fieldwork.
UEP 247: Environmental Problem-Solving II
Faculty: Robert Gottlieb / Student Facilitator: Tyler Morgan / Community Partners: Four Café, Aunti Em’s Kitchen, LA Sprouts
This course aims to give students a hand-on experience of cultivating and cooking food through interactions with guest speakers and community members. The course will cover a wide range of topics, soil fertility, nutrition, harvesting, and food history to name a few, and will be evaluated on a CR/NR basis.
Students attend guest lectures and cooking sessions with community chefs and restaurant owners from Four Café and Auntie Em’s Kitchen. Also, students participate in a number of hands-on projects outside of the classroom. They have the option of volunteering with LA Sprouts at Monte Vista Elementary School, a newly started cooking and gardening program for children that are high risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Occidental students help to organize the program, mentoring children and helping in the garden and kitchen. In the past, students have also created a cookbook blog and expanded the Community Supported Agriculture program on campus.
SPANISH TRANSLATION/COMMUNITY OUTREACH INTERNSHIP
Faculty Advisor: Felisa Guillen / Interns: Emily Wilde, Marilyn Bran, Manny Alvarez, Manuela Boucher-de la Cadena / Community Partner: Dr. Enrique Lopez, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
A collaborative internship supported by the CCBL, CDC, Spanish Department, Psychology Department, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Bilingual students will be under the supervision of Dr. Enrique Lopez to assist in an innovative community project that addresses a neurocognitive disorder that affects AIDS patients. Students’ primary project will be to assist in the translation of a manual. Students will also help create a community support group that assists caretakers and patients themselves on strategies to address memory functions.
Students will work in dyads to translate modules from English to Spanish and Spanish to English. An excellent opportunity for students interested in any of the following fields: translation, public health, serving disenfranchised communities, neurocognitive disorders, mental health counseling, and LGBT issues.
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