Women, Leadership and Social Change Academic Minor
We are living in an exciting and critical historical moment on the planet with respect to leadership and social change, one that demands an influx of informed, visionary leaders to address the opportunities and challenges the world is facing today. The Women, Leadership and Social Change (WLSC) minor at Mills responds to this challenge and offers students the opportunity to build their leadership capacities and commitments in social change realms. Drawing on and housed within the nationally recognized Institute for Civic Leadership (ICL), this minor combines curriculum, mentorship, workshops, speaker series’ and community internships to support students in drawing firm connections between their academic work and the social change passions.
Course offerings for the WLSC minor are interdisciplinary, and minor requirements are structured to provide students the opportunity to study and explore the issues and approaches that have shaped and defined social justice theory and activism around the world. With an approach that is both theoretical and experiential, the WLSC minor is designed to ground learning within action, allowing students to work directly on issues they care about as they move through the program.
The WLSC minor complements a wide range of majors. The ICL program grows out of the perspective that our society needs people in every sector—education, business, medicine, technology, art etc.—who have been trained to think and operate from a social justice perspective. Thus, the WLSC minor builds a bridge between each student’s academic work and their passions to affect positive social change within their areas of interest, and also provides a strong foundation for graduate work in a number of different disciplines.
Students enrolled in the WLSC minor take three required courses and three electives covering a wide range of disciplines. An understanding of social change leadership as a discipline and a practice is grounded through the Women’s Leadership Seminar. Theory is put into practice through the course Inquiry and Action in Urban Settings, through which students participate in a community internship. Lastly, the course US Literature and Social Change provides a survey of a variety of social change movement through the lens of the social text, along with skills building in writing as a tool for social change. In addition to the required and elective courses, students enrolled in the WLSC minor are eligible to participate in ICL programing. ICL partners with many outstanding community organizations such as Bay Area Non-Violent Communication, Allegory Training, Start Dialog and others that provide training designed to build skills and networks in social change realms. Activities include mentoring by local leaders, program retreats, speakers, workshops and community dinners.
The interconnectedness of our world today calls on leaders to be life-long learners, ever striving to increase their knowledge and skills. The WLSC minor provides a solid grounding to develop and build a learner’s mind and to equip students to affect positive social change as they move through the process.
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