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Critical Community Engagement

Students Painting Mural at School

Program Objectives

Eighth College has ambitious and actionable learning objectives that are characterized by the following:

  • A foundation of ethical practices
  • Recognition of our humanity as it transcends across disciplines
  • Prioritization of social and emotional well-being of students and community
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Ambitious reciprocal and respectful efforts inside the classroom and outside to achieve transformation as we seek to solve historical and imminent challenges facing our communities – locally and throughout the world

UC San Diego students, and those in Eighth College particularly, are in a unique position to critically reflect on and put into action their connections to those at UC San Diego, the region, and more broadly the world. The reflection process requires courage, humility, and self-awareness. Our program cultivates conditions for reciprocity, ethical relations, and strong interpersonal communication skills (including advocacy for self and others). 

UC San Diego students and those in Eighth College especially must have a deep understanding of the factors that have historically led to discrimination, structural and institutional racism, social exclusion, intentional and unintentional marginalization and harm to diverse communities. These conditions have in part also created mistrust among diverse communities to broader social institutions.

Eighth College's general education program priotitizes awareness of how historical factors interplay with current conditions in order to work collectively towards community-centered solutions to today’s most challenging problems. This includes peparation for responding to those that will arise in future moments.

The multi-disciplinary curriculum of Eighth College seeks to build students’ abilities to engage with diverse communities using a holistic approach to well-being by addressing not only physical health, but emotional health, social support by creating community within the college, and to foster intellectual curiosity that considers how prior and current approaches are rooted in an ethical approach to engaging community members and partners as part of the discovery process and strategies to create bold solutions to diverse global and local challenges.

Course Descriptions

Critical Community Engagement 1

This course introduces ethical partnership across complex social, historical, and political positions. The course addresses contested framings of community and participation through practical examples, theoretical conceptions, and empirical studies. Students will give close attention to shared circumstance and negotiation of power relations. 

Offered in Winter and Spring Quarters

Critical Community Engagement 2

This course introduces students to writing as a community-informed endeavor. Students will develop writing practices to engage in respectful, meaningful, ethical, and reciprocal community partnerships. Using participatory action and community-rooted research, students will develop reading, writing, and thinking practices that recognize, honor, and foster community knowledge. 

Offered in Fall and Winter Quarters

Critical Community Engagement 3

This writing-intensive course is preparation for the upper-division project. It allows students to examine their role in society, in their communities, and in the campus and surrounding areas. Topics will include self-awareness, wellness, empathy, and community work. In addition, students will learn strategies for identifying and leveraging the strengths of persons, institutions, as well as the natural and built environments. The goal is that students, upon completion, will have the necessary background to engage in a community-engaged project, which will be the topic of a research paper.

Offered in Fall and Spring Quarters

Critical Community Engagement 120

This project-based capstone course will require a community-engaged project. The result could be either an individual or group project, presented in a variety of media types (e.g., written, performed, film, exhibition, etc.).

Offered Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters