Core Curriculum

Pitzer in Ontario is a comprehensive semester-long community-based education program. The program integrates an extensive internship with interdisciplinary coursework that provides the analytical framework from which social and urban issues can be effectively evaluated. Students must take the three core courses simultaneously, which include a150-hour internship as part of Social Change Practicum. Together, these courses count for four credits, while additional Ontario Program offerings may be taken individually.

ONT 101: Critical Community Studies
Utilizes Southern California as a case study to examine how global trends impact local issues. Working in a seminar format, students discuss how power shapes social and environmental problems, network and coalition building, and political movements. The class provides a theoretical and contextual framework for understanding issues including environmental justice, immigration, homelessness, education, gangs, and the prison system. We are particularly interested in links between exclusion and structural violence, symbolic devises of othering, the growth of a surveillance society, and movements toward more just urban landscapes. Several field experiences, including a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, expand on course themes. 1.5 credits. Fall/Spring, S. Phillips.

ONT 104: Social Change Practicum
This class explores community building, positionality, and social change through engagement with texts, interactive activities, guest speakers and field trips. We critically examine intersections between charity, service, social justice, activism, and academia through writing, discussion, and praxis. The course requires a fifteen-hour per week internship or other suitable community work that furthers Ontario-based social change efforts. Partnerships have been established with numerous organizations in the local area. 1.5 credits. Fall/Spring, T. Dolan.

ONT 106: Applied Methods in Qualitative Research
Constructs the bride between academia and activism through practice-based research. The course incorporates the study of diverse aspects of qualitative inquiry and culminates in the execution of a complete applied research project. We explore the role, responsibilities and ethics of an applied researcher, reviewing various types of inquiry that fall under the umbrella of qualitative research (i.e., ethnography, participatory action, narrative inquiry, participant-observation, applied research). Students directly impact not only their own intellectual knowledge base, but crucial social issues in the world around them. Students leave the course with a strong foundation to carry out systematic research using focus groups, ethnography and person-centered interviews. 1 credit. Fall T. Hicks Peterson, Spring A. Francoso

Additional Ontario Program Offerings

ONT 110: Healing Ourselves & Healing Our Communities
This course will explore the presuppositions of indigenous and non-indigenous philosophy and how they affect individual and community health and healing, social ecology and social justice. Through community-based service and research, students will be exposed to applied alternative strategies for healing human and environmental landscapes. 1 credit. Spring, T. Hicks Peterson.