Summer 2020

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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.

 

This course will explore sustainability, food security and personal connection to the environment through community engagement at the Oregon Food Bank and Wombyn’s Wellness Garden. Students will examine community-based learning through the lens of sustainability leadership, and engage with alternative and critical perspectives on sustainability. Class time will focus on hands-on activities in the learning gardens, group discussion and community engagement projects in support of the Oregon Food Bank and Wombyn’s Wellness Garden. 

Senior Capstone Students visting the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona,Spain One of the most powerful learning opportunities for a student is studying abroad.  The impactful, sensory experience of being far away ultimately brings us closer to ourselves, naturally offering a platform to examine how we identify and relate to the world around us. 

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.

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.

Image result for contrary to media we are not all meant to look the sameEvery Body Matters – Embracing Size Diversity

 This course focuses on fatness as a social and cultural construction, examining the relationship between discrimination caused by body size and gender, race, and social class. Students will use social justice and healthcare perspectives to question weight bias and explore ways in which the fat community and its supporters resist sizeism. This course offers an alternative view of fatness that accepts the reality of a diversity of body shapes, sizes, and types and works to reduce harmful bias and fat phobia that negatively impacts all people, fat and thin. Standardized weights and "ideal" body types can be oppressive to everyone, even those that fit the "norm."

 

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.

This capstone is designed to provide an opportunity to learn about Spanish culture and society by means of synchronous and asynchronous discussion group forums between American and Spanish middle and high school students.  The communities of students will be from: Portland, Oregon, various schools in Washington state and Zamora, Spain.  These forums will be between paired classes (one USA and one Spanish) of similar grade and language level and will be facilitated and monitored by both teachers of each class.  Each grouping of classes will be assigned 2 capstone students. 

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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