By Becky Musard
Students pursuing a degree within the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer area were given a new option to explore this fall term.
Thanks to the interest of community involvement shown from her students, Rogue Community College Instructor Erika Giesen, became motivated to create new courses pertaining to the AAOT degree.
“The Community Development for a Sustainable Future Focus Area provides students with knowledge, skills and experiences that will allow them to play a leadership role in developing and strengthening their communities in the 21st Century,” Giesen sid.
As our society continues to face all types of diversity and environmental issues, it is important to Giesen that her students know how to “meet these challenges and to see the opportunities within them to create strong, thriving, diverse and sustainable communities.”
Southern Oregon University’s Business Department did research and discovered that regional employers desire employees that know ways to solve problems sustainably. This is also a part of Giesen’s motivation for this class, to “help students be prepared for future careers.”
Getting social, cultural and economical groups to all work together for a common interest and expanding sustainable practices are all a part of community development, said Giesen. “The study of community development requires an interdisciplinary approach focusing on local, diverse and green communities,” Giesen said.
The CDSF Focus within the AAOT is 23 credits. Of these credits 12, are required, while the other 11 are elective courses on diversity, sustainability and a Cooperative Work Experience. Giesen explains that “all students will be applying their classroom knowledge by doing a CWE and working in a community or business setting of their choice; this will provide them with hands-on skills that most other students won’t get at RCC.”
The goals for the CDSF focus area are to provide an interdisciplinary framework for analyzing and responding to environmental, social and cultural issues and it gives opportunities for students to engage in experiences on an off campus that enable them to apply and expand their knowledge of a real life setting. Aother goal is to make interactions between the college and the community that are beneficial to the education, interests and needs of each party and to serve as a motivation for a positive social change through teaching and mentoring of students.