ALA 421 - Creating Inclusive Communities
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Applied Liberal Arts (ALA)
Department: LSA UG: Curriculum Support
With permission of instructor.
Mandatory credit/no credit.
May be repeated for a maximum of 4 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

Residence Staff at Michigan work with residents to build, develop, and nurture a supportive and stimulating multicultural community. We know that this is no easy task. This course will provide you opportunities to gain facilitation skills to implement the community development model and facilitate interactions with your residents. Specifically, we will be focusing on the following 5 skills:

1). Listening

  • Active Listening: Listening for accuracy and feeding back the content and feeling of the message. “Let me see if I am hearing you correctly”
  • Generative Listening: Listening for strengths, skills, qualities and values in a person that they may (or may not) recognize they have.

2). Asking questions that produce discussion and reflection. This includes:

  • Collective Reflection: “Let’s talk about what we learned today, what are the aha’s, what are the takeaways.”
  • Asking questions during discussion/conversations: “Who else has experiences like that who can comment on what was just said?”
  • Summarizing: Stating concisely the main thoughts. “It sounds to me as if we have been talking about a few major themes… what are some of our themes?”

3). Getting participants/residents to ask each other questions and follow up on ideas

4). Encouraging sharing of experience and ideas: This includes the facilitator being vulnerable and sharing their experiences as well.

5). Noticing and Managing Dynamics: This includes noticing:

  • Who’s talking? Who’s not talking? How do the identities of these patterns impact the group or interaction?
  • What is not being said in the space? What does the body language look/feel like?
  • What does the silence mean? Is it because participants/residents are reflecting? Uncomfortable? Are people feeling triggered?

Course Requirements:

Attendance at the weekly sessions and three evening 3-hr sessions are required, with one excused absence, so that students practice the importance of reliability. Readings are required. Group project in which students choose an event, situation, or place demonstrating some kind of disparity or inequality on campus to analyze and present to the class. Weekly journals or 2-3 pages based on readings and in-class exercises and discussions. Two individual papers: one (5 pages) is an analysis of the student's own social identity and is also presented in class; and the other (10-12 pages) covers self-assessed learning, with integration of at least six of the assigned readings, and a plan for application of the learning in the residence hall job the following year.

Intended Audience:

Undergraduates who want Psychology field experience in a university setting.

Class Format:

Independent Study

ALA 421 - Creating Inclusive Communities
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
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