Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Activist Educator: A New Model for Facilitating the Emergence of Social Change Agents

I ran across the following article, in the Brown Daily Herald, covering the formation of an intriguing new course:
A new class offered this semester gives students the opportunity to explore issues surrounding social change. ET 107: "Ethnic Studies Practicum: Strategy, Tactics and Tools for Social Change" integrates the pilot Activist-in-Residence program with a classroom setting to tackle questions in the field of activism.
...
The purpose of the Activist-in-Residence program is to bring activists to campus for more than just a lecture, said Alan Flam P'05, senior fellow at the Swearer Center and senior associate University chaplain. Activists meet with small groups of students, hold lunches and informal meetings and attend classes such as ET 107 relevant to their current work, Flam said.

The course is co-taught by Flam and Professor of History Evelyn Hu-DeHart, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.

"We are trying to expose students not only to the theoretical ideas of community organizing for social change, but also to expose students to individuals who are doing that work in a variety of settings - to talk about the practice of organizing for change, not just the theories behind it," Flam said.
If I were withing 100 miles of Providence I'd think seriously about trying to get into this course. I was blessed to have Alan as my advisor for the first two years of college, until i segued to a concentration-specific advisor. He was always a pleasure to work with and helped us all see how activism, learning, living, and breathing all fit together. What a joy to have an academic advisor who could help me consider my co-curricular, spiritual, and social lives as well as my academic life, and consider them all areas of immense learning potential. Alan has been considering the juncture or academics and activism for a long time, and this should be a fascinating manifestation of his work. Check it out if you get a chance!

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