New diversity course to be expanded

A new diversity course based at Cowell College went so well this year that organizers plan to expand it for the 2007-08 year.

"On the one hand, the course drew upon student experience and participation, offering a safe space for them to reflect on their own attitudes and context; on the other hand, the course materials helped them to gain a larger picture, suggesting the social context for often spontaneous, unreflected feelings," said Tyrus Miller, coprovost of Cowell College.

The Diversity Workshop course was a joint endeavor between the student life and academic sides of the college, drawing guidance and support from the Provost's Office in developing the curriculum and funding Chancellor's Undergraduate Internship Program intern Shane Moise.

The major course sessions were conducted by Coordinator for Residential Education Minh Tran, who received the 2007 UCSC Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity, and intern Moise. There were 24 students in the class--the maximum enrollment set for the course.

"Our two-unit course, open to all students, was designed to promote awareness, exchange information in meaningful dialogue, hone multicultural skills, and evoke passion in areas of social justice and diversity," said Moise.

For the final project, students developed hypothetical campus interventions to encourage dialogue or advance social justice initiatives in the community. "With guidance and advising from our top-level college administrators and faculty, many of the proposed student interventions were brought to fruition during spring quarter," Tran said.

"Some of the projects our students implemented subsequent to the course include a wall of oppression in the Cowell/Stevenson dining hall, a t-shirt-making event to highlight expressions of homophobia, and the conversion of one of our study lounges into a diversity library housing over $1,000 worth of books and student artwork," Tran added.

The course is expected to be taught again in winter quarter and in spring quarter 2008 as an extension of the service learning component.