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Design and Evaluation of
Dear Habermas Commuity Service

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: October 6, 2005
Latest Update: October 6, 2005

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takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Preliminary Report on Design
and Evaluation of Commuity Service in Dear Habermas Classes
One of the primary goals of the Sociology Department is to disseminate information and awareness in our service communities so that social issues in the community are better understood by community members, who can then be proactive in dealing with them effectively. Our first level of awareness is our students who are encouraged to share the awareness that comes of their learning with family, friends, neighbors. Our second level of awareness comes from inviting family, friends, neighbors to share in our exhibits and our workshops, using visual sociology and shared activity to get across social issue perspectives and increase community awareness of both the problems and the complexity of alternative solutions. Our third level of awareness involves actual outreach on several levels.

  1. We put together research material on the current pressing issues and translate it into visual messages that are quickly grasped and will draw attention to the issue. Then we disseminate these messages in the community.

  2. We go out into the community, in such places as churches, community centers, shopping market parking lots. There we share out messages and information with community members who show any interest.

  3. When community members contact us through our students or any of our disseminated messages, we share our learning and experience in contacting local agencies and finding alternative solutions for the community.

  4. On a fourth level of awareness, we are trying our hand at creating a video short on some of the discussions on our Yahoo site, so that they can be shared with the Internet community more effectively.

  5. And we will soon have agency and legal professionals joining us for discussion on the social issues in open classes to be shared with the college community and community visitors.

Examples:

    Fall Semester 2004

  1. The Nile Virus concern. We researched the issue. Located agencies and contacts for getting help in clearing neighborhoods of standing water. A student who worked with the problem in Manhattan Beach guided a citizen in a minority area to getting help in his area. It was very difficult. We found the response rate in MB must faster, and several of us sought out networks and tried to increase the response rate in the area that was having the problem.

  2. The Presidential Election and Propositions - We studied the propositions. Shared with friends, neighbors, and families, shared in English and Spanish, and then went into the supermarket parking lots with flyers and information dissemination. Many family members who had never voted before, voted in that election in response to their relatives here at CSUDH.

  3. Our classes were also active in encouraging the County to help, not close MLK. Petitions were disseminated both at school and in the community, and our students delivered those petitions. Many participated in the demonstrations.

    Fall 2005

  4. Schwarzenegger's Special Election Propositions - The students are again working on summaries and explanations in both English and Spanish and on dissemination throughout the community. Special emphasis on Propositions 74, 75, 78, 79. This semester we have extended our efforts to cards and bookmarks, hand-made by the students as part of their visual sociology, to cement the bond with community members met in this effort.

  5. Our classes are developing workshops in craft projects, specifically designed to illustrate a specific social issue, and are inviting relatives, friends, neighbors to share in these workshops. We are also training community participants to share these activities in their communities as a means of transmitting social messages throughout the community.

  6. We have established an open discussion group on Yahoo for community and students and faculty to discuss current social issues in terms of political and social theory as we study them in class. Recently students in Wisconsin and a former CSUDH student, now in law school, explored the issue of murder and killing, and developed a beautiful dialog to illustrate illocutionary discourse. We are planning to pull the dialog into a video that can be displayed on Dear Habermas.



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