Section Description Provided by Instructor
The seminar on Vision, Action and Social Change is worth 5 academic points: 3 for the seminar (section 1) plus 2 for the fieldwork (section 2).
This field research seminar and practicum, co-taught by Professors Susan Sturm and Richard Gray, the Director of Community Organizing and Engagement at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, will explore innovative ways to reduce structural inequality and advance full participation in educational institutions and surrounding communities, with a particular emphasis on education and criminal justice. The seminar and field research projects will expose students to cutting edge, collaborative approaches to community and policy change through an action research approach connecting theory and practice.
At the beginning of the semester, students will participate in a day long "boot camp" to prepare them for field research and familiarize them with the three organizations where students will be placed for their fieldwork: (1) JustLeadershipUSA, working with formerly incarcerated leaders on issues of decarceration, (2) Annenberg Institute for School Reform, working with communities, educators and policy groups on issues such as Community Schools and Restorative Justice Practices, and (3) Hostos Community College and the Center for Institutional and Social Change, working in the South Bronx on improving educational access and success for people affected by criminal justice involvement, immigrants, disconnected youth, and veterans.
In class, the seminar will examine the dynamics that have produced growing inequality and shrinking mobility, limited quality education for under-served groups and communities, and the worldâs highest incarceration rate. We will investigate strategies for enabling leadership of communities directly affected by these dynamics, building collaborative networks, mobilizing institutional and community-level change, achieving collective impact, and changing public policy informed by community needs. The course also provide training on qualitative interviewing, data analysis, network mapping, and policy research and examines the role of innovative lawyers in participating in this kind of community and systems change.
For the fieldwork, students will undertake collaborative action research and policy projects, connected to ongoing change initiatives in their assigned setting. They will have the opportunity to work closely with leadership, staff and community members in their field research site. The course also offers students the opportunity to develop knowledge and capabilities that are crucial to be effective in advancing social change in a wide variety of contexts, such as facilitation, problem framing, using multi-disciplinary knowledge, conducting institutional analysis, mapping, collaboration, information gathering and analysis, and multi-media presentation. Interested students can learn more about the field research sites by contacting Professor Sturm (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Richard Gray (email@example.com).
Seminar Selection: Applications for the seminar/practicum will be considered in October, as part of the clinic application and externship process. Admissions to the seminar will be on a rolling basis until the seminar is filled. Interested students should email Professor Sturm (firstname.lastname@example.org) a cv and a paragraph describing: (1) the reasons they want to take the seminar, (2) any relevant background, coursework or experience, and (3) questions about the seminar. They should also include contact information and times they are available for an in-person or telephone interview with Professor Sturm and Richard Gray.
Seminar Assessment: Students may receive major or minor writing credit for their work in the seminar. Students will be evaluated based on their seminar participation, their reflection papers and research memos prepared over the course of the semester, their data gathering and analysis, and their final project.
T 6:15-9:05 pm
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Minor (upon consultation), Major (only upon consultation)
Applications for the seminar/practicum will be considered beginning October 29. Admissions to the seminar will be on a rolling basis until the seminar is filled. See course description for application instructions.
Learning Outcome Goals
- Develop an understanding of the dynamics and strategies of multi-level systems change.
- Develop an understanding of institutional and systems and their relationship to addressing problems of structural inequality.
- Explore innovative conceptions of the role of law, lawyers, and legal practice in advancing equality and addressing other wicked problems.
- Acquire understanding of and/or facility in use of other disciplines in the analysis of legal problems and institutions, for example, economics, psychology, sociology, political science and cultural studies.
- Acquire facility in various lawyering and leadership skills, for example, facilitation, fact gathering and analysis, writing and drafting, research, negotiation, mediation, collaboration, project management, and communication.