Staff as Students of Social Justice

Staff as Students of Social Justice

Program for Staff to audit AC Courses

About the Program

The 'Staff as Students of Social Justice' (SSSJ) Program is an opportunity for up to 25 staff per semester (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 VCUE colleagues.

Program Overview

  • Staff participants audit a course of their choosing from a curated list of relevant AC courses, which vary each semester.
  • Staff participate in a weekly discussion section led by a GSI specifically for staff.
  • Flexible scheduling: roughly 3-4 hours of class/discussion per week (plus additional time for optional readings)
  • Professional development opportunity: staff work with their supervisors to ensure that they will be able to take full advantage of this learning opportunity 
  • Staff complete a sharable artifact with their classmates instead of assignments/ exams/ finals to showcase what they learned and gained from experience with other members of VCUE.  These artifacts are presented at the end of each term - check out some examples from the Fall 2020 cohort below!
  • Upon completion with at least an 80% attendance rate and participation during meetings, staff receive a certificate of completion signed by the Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Education, Catherine Koshland, and a letter in their HR file for merit and performance reviews.

Application Process

We’re excited to offer six exciting fall American Culture courses for fall 2021. Staff discussion sections will be led by Graduate Student Instructor David Maldonado (Graduate School of Education) with flexible dates, guest speakers, and a unified curriculum. Fall instruction begins the week of August 23rd.  

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

Course Offerings

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 Final Presentations

Summer 2021 Cohort Final Presentations: Staff as Students of Social Justice Program

Summer 2021 Presentation / Presenter Time 
Group #1: "Carceral Capitalism," with Aly Jarocki, Gillian Edgelow, Krystle Simon, Mariana Matthews, and Robert Hold 00:00
Group #2: Abolition Geography with Jasmine Valenzuela, Nancy Donovan, Tabea Mastel, and Vanessa Lujan 15:21
Group #3: Counterinsurgency and The Panthers with Carina Galicia, Dylan Howser, Erin Blanton, Les Gorske, Sandy Richmond, Dylan Howser, and Mark Shaw 26:54
Group #4: Mutual Aid and Survival Pending Revolution with Barbara Montano, Helena Weiss-Duman, Jenny Jones, Stacey Frederick, and Tanisha Muquit 45:43

Summer 2021 Projects

Zoom
Project Title: "Carceral Capitalism," by Aly Jarocki, Gillian Edgelow, Krystle Simon, Mariana Matthews, and Robert Hold
Zoom
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
Zoom
Project Title: "Mutual Aid and Survival Pending Revolution" by Barbara Montano, Helena Weiss-Duman, Jenny Jones, Stacey Frederick, and Tanisha Muquit

Previous Cohorts' Presentations & Projects