Staff as Students of Social Justice

Staff as Students of Social Justice

Program for Campus Staff to Engage in Anti-Racist Pedagogies

Background image: Collage of communities of color organizing for housing for all; mutual aid; people's free food program and land repatriation

About the Program

The 'Staff as Students of Social Justice' (SSSJ) Program is an opportunity for campus staff (from the Division of Undergraduate Education and beyond) to audit an American Cultures course and participate in discussions about timely and important topics. Piloted in Fall 2020, the SSSJ Program is a unique opportunity to learn first-hand from leading scholars and American Cultures instructors about the intersections of race, ethnicity, and gender; dig into subjects of personal interests; and build connections with faculty, students, and fellow staff colleagues.

Program Overview

  • Attend online lectures and meetings for the core Staff as Students of Social Justice course.
  • No exams, grades, or academic credit.
  • Upon completion, you will receive a certificate signed by Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Oliver O’Reilly, which will be added to your HR file.
  • Supplemental readings will be available and encouraged - especially for the guest scholars presenting to SSSJ participants.

Application Process

Staff discussion sections will be led by Graduate Student Instructor David Maldonado (Berkeley School of Education) with flexible dates, guest speakers, and a unified curriculum. The application cycle for Spring 2024 is now closed. For questions about future offerings, please email

Through this course, we learned how the devastating fires we experience in California today are a product of climate change and pervasive policies of suppression deeply connected to settler colonialism, white supremacy, and dispossession of Native peoples from their ancestral lands. We also learned from guest speakers about several tribal groups' ongoing efforts to preserve, sustain, revitalize, and share their cultural practices and scientific knowledge.
Jean Cheng, Sarah Pickett, and Alex Tan

Previous Course Offerings

Fall 2022 Courses

Introduction to Ethnic Studies (Ethnic Studies 11AC)
Instructor: Juana María Rodríguez
Two weekly lectures: one pre-recorded and one live lecture on Thurs 9:30 am - 10:59 am 

Introduction to the History of the United States: The United States from Settlement to Civil War (History 7A)
Instructor: David Henkin
Online lectures: Mon & Wed 5:00 pm - 6:29 pm

Principles of Sociology: American Cultures (Sociology 3AC)
Instructor: Mary Kelsey
Online lectures: Tues & Thurs 3:30 pm - 4:59 pm

Love, Study, and Struggle: An Interrogation of Material Antiracisms and Carcerality (SSSJ Lecture Course)
Instructor: David Maldonado
Pre-recorded Lectures (Self-paced)

Please visit this page for more information.

Spring 2022 Courses

Material Antiracisms and Carcerality
Instructor: David Maldonaldo

Sociology and Political Ecology of Agro-Food Systems (ESPM 155AC)
Instructor: Kathryn Teigen De Master
Tu/Th 11:00am-12:29pm

Introduction to Culture and Natural Resource Management (ESPM 50AC)
Instructor: Kurt Spreyer
Mo/We/Fr 11:00am-11:59am

Intro to the History of the United States: The United States from Settlement to Civil War (HISTORY 7A)
Instructor: Brian DeLay (recordings from Fall 2021 semester)

Spring 2021 Courses

The best thing about the program was that I was able to gain a more firm and nuanced understanding of the harms and inequities of the tech industry while having really thoughtful conversations with our professors, my classmates, and folks from the VCUE Division around existing and imagined interventions into so many different facets of tech in a lot of other spaces from art to journalism to activism.
Sara Assadi-Nik, Program Coordinator, Division of Summer Sessions, Study Abroad & Lifelong Learning

Summer 2021 Projects

Project Title: "Carceral Capitalism," by Aly Jarocki, Gillian Edgelow, Krystle Simon, Mariana Matthews, and Robert Hold
Project Title: "Abolition Geography" by Jasmine Valenzuela, Nancy Donovan, Tabea Mastel, and Vanessa Lujan
Play video
Project Title: "Material Antiracism and Carcerality - And the Youth Said, All Power to the People" by Carina Galicia, Dylan Howser, Erin Blanton, Les Gorske, Sandy Richmond, Dylan Howser, and Mark Shaw
Project Title: "Mutual Aid and Survival Pending Revolution" by Barbara Montano, Helena Weiss-Duman, Jenny Jones, Stacey Frederick, and Tanisha Muquit

Cohorts by Semester

Cohort pages contain semester course information and some of the previous cohorts' presentations and projects.