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Colorado College to develop new curriculum to tackle social justice issues head-on

Colorado College
Posted at 7:37 PM, Feb 08, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — A local college is tackling race and social justice in the classroom.

Colorado College has been selected as one of the recipients of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Humanities for All Times grant. The college will use $1 million over the course of three years for its project“Humanities for Our Times: From Epistemologies and Methodologies to Liberatory Creative Practices and Social Justice."

The college will revise and develop a curriculum to not only teach students about social justice issues but give them the tools to tackle injustices head-on.

The grant will also help meet college undergraduates’ growing interest in social justice by supporting projects that teach humanities skills and methods necessary for transformational change.

"I'm actually really happy that they're doing that. I think it's important to educate the community," said Shekinah Lolyede, Junior at Colorado College.

She's looking forward to changes in the curriculum, and the impact it could have on campus.

"I just feel like I've experienced so much racism here. I've experienced racism before, but this is an added punch of wealth as well," said Lolyede.

Colorado College English Professor Claire Garcia says the new courses will help students understand the relevance of humanities questions and methods.

"All of the humanities and social science humanities really focus on what being human is at the center of all of our questions. Human consciousness, human agency, human meaning-making is at the center of all of the questions that humanities scholars ask," said Garcia.

She says the project and the funding will represent an exciting new chapter in CC’s response to student demands for an inclusive, relevant, and empowering liberal arts education.

“Ever since I’ve been at CC, we have struggled with student demands to both diversify the curriculum and to require courses that help students understand power, inequality, and oppression, Garcia says. "Our student body has changed a lot over the past 15 and 20 years. All of our students, not just the ones from marginalized backgrounds, are demanding relevant liberal arts education that will give them the questions, tools, and knowledge to change the world."

Garcia says the new courses will fulfill the Equity and Power and Creative Processes requirements.

There will be activities for students, staff, and faculty in the humanities to interact with ideas and people past and present who are working for justice and respect for all human beings. Students also will be able to compete for grants that will allow them to bring humanities methods and values to social justice work beyond academia, collaboratively produce a special issue of the journal Hairstreak Butterfly, and engage in other professional-development opportunities.

"One seminar series is going to focus on creativity and inclusive and that's going to be headed by one of our faculty members," said Garcia.

The first activities of the grant will start in Summer 2022 with two Equity and Power faculty seminars and end with a conference in Summer 2024, Garcia says.