Fall 2020

Active: 
yes

Cultural Ecology in the Urban Forest at Tryon Creek

This course is designed to inspire and question the ways we educate both ourselves and our next seven generations as global stewards. Through remote discussions and exercises, readings and media, nature journaling, and personal reflection, students will gain a deeper appreciation of the authentic cultural ecology of the area. For Summer Term 2021, the course will be offered mainly in a remote format on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11am, with the option for occasional face-to-face engagement at Tryon Creek. Students will have the opportunity to collaboratively apply their learning to a community outreach project that helps the extended Tryon Creek community in building unique and lasting relationships with the natural world. Projects will be mainly remote with the option for face-to-face engagement related to the projects.

 

Anti-Bias K12 Education (online)

The Black Lives Matter at School week of action and call to anti-racist curriculum year round was initiated by Seattle educators in 2016 in response to bomb threats by white supremacists toward students and teachers wearing Black Lives Matter/We Stand Together t-shirts at John Muir Elementary School.  Inequity in curriculum, curricular violence, bias in textbooks, lack of access to diverse authors and representation in school libraries all contribute to the “achievement gaps” that both federal and state education departments often focus on in their initiatives and data tracking.

Meditation and Service

We will practice and grow in our understanding of mindful meditation and awareness as a foundation for personal and global healing. Meditation is a practice that encompasses a philosophy of living with a quiet mind, open heart, and in service to others. Learners will cultivate their own mindful meditation practice 6 days a week for 15-20 minutes a day. Together we will explore the connections between ancient Eastern philosophy, personal healing, and social responsibility. Service-learning with our non-profit community partners gives context to the course materials and our mindfulness practice. Equally important, it provides an opportunity to experience present moment awareness while deepening learners’ experiential understanding about the social determinants of health and their influence on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. 

Higher Education in Prison

Drawing on poetry, political theory, sociological texts, film, and personal narratives, this course offers an introduction to prison and its critiques, as well as the power of education to transform individuals and societies. This hybrid course meets once a week at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF); Capstone students will study together with women enrolled in higher education at the women’s prison, about 20 minutes south of PSU in Wilsonville. Successful background clearances are required in order to participate.

 

Sustainable Food Systems and Educational Farms at Learning Garden's Lab Site

The time is ripe to be part of the growing sustainable food movement! This class addresses the current food issues that face urban citizens by holistically engaging students in the many layers of Portland's local food and farm culture.  Students will critically analyze the state of our current food systems while being engaged in positive solutions to agricultural-related issues. The community partner and classroom is the Learning Gardens Lab, where students will gain hands-on farming experience, experientially explore their personal connection to food and the land, participate in the Learning Garden programs, and positively contribute to food security in our greater community.

Immigration and Refugee Resettlement in East Portland (REFUGEE YTH IN PDX)

According to Communities of Color in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile, “In total, people of color in 2008 (by traditional Census Bureau counts) comprise 26.3% of the population of the county. When we add the Slavic community to these data, […] the size of the community totals over 200,000 residents." A large number of these residents are immigrants and refugees. The Coalition report finds that these communities face sharp disparities compared to whites in education, income, poverty, and other metrics. The report states that “our pathways to effective practice lead us to prioritize service delivery that stretches far beyond the framework of ‘cultural competency’ into ‘culturally-specific services.’”

Creating Global Citizens

Global citizenship is of utmost importance as our societies are increasingly becoming more connected through media and technology. There is a growing disparity in the American school system that allows only the privileged students to participate in meaningful and engaging cultural learning. Schools that receive funding and support are able to facilitate cultural exchanges in person for students and faculty, while the majority of students in the public system receive little financial support and are left without any type of cultural exchange or enrichment program. This capstone will provide this needed and valuable cultural exchange.

Leadership and Mentoring 

The mentoring of young people takes many forms. Some young people are fortunate to grow up with a caring parent, relative or adult ally who serves as a mentor to them. Other young people do not enjoy the benefits of a strong mentor in their lives.  Research shows that mentoring results in a myriad benefits for both the mentor and the mentee. For all involved, these include the development of leadership skills, increased interpersonal communication, improved relationship-building skills, and increased self-awareness. Armed with these skills, a young person has greater potential for success in many settings.

Environmental Justice and Salmon. The Columbia river flows through our region in physical and metaphorical ways. Present in the story of the river and the salmon that navigate it are social issues, history and conflict that continue to impact NW communities. Through a place-based, experiential approach we will engage this content. Over the course of the term we will spend the majority of our class time outside of the classroom near the river and at sites of cultural or geologic importance.

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