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Identity, Diversity, and Leadership

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
June 29, 2020 - July 10, 20206/29 - 7/10M-F 9A-3POpenLynn Hernandez
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Course Description

Who am I and how do my identities shape my life experiences, my worldview, my relationships with others, and the types of opportunities and challenges I face? To work effectively as a leader towards social justice, it is important to reflect on the multiple social groups we belong to. These social group memberships (social identities) are based on our race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, class, religion, age, nationality, and (dis)ability. We should also reflect on how our social group memberships position us within the social, historical, and political landscape in relation to systems of inequality. Awareness of our social identities and the advantages and disadvantages within these different social groups will influence our perspectives on, and awareness of, social justice issues and dynamics.

Participants will deepen their understanding of their own social identities and how they shape their lived experiences and impact those around them. Through engaging readings, provocative films, interactive activities, and storytelling, this course will provide students with the unique opportunity to understand systems of oppression and empowerment and closely examine their own social identities within these systems. Recognizing that these social identities do not operate in isolation from each other, discussions will be guided by the concept of "intersectionality" and the ways our overlapping identities impact our experiences. We will also explore the ways our social group memberships shape our worldviews by exposing us to stereotypes and creating unconscious biases. As students deepen their understanding of social justice, identity, and intersectionality, they will develop leadership skills and strengthen their ability to work across difference, practice allyship and interrupt bias. The required Action Plan will provide students with an opportunity to apply their new knowledge and leadership skills to a meaningful project in their home community or school. Students who are self-reflective, willing to step outside of their "comfort zone", and eager to share and listen to others' experiences are especially encouraged to apply. This course is ideal for any student committed to working effectively to create a more equitable and just society. The knowledge and skills gained from this course are applicable to all careers.

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This course is part of the Leadership Institute, a two-week academic program that helps students cultivate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership. This unique program consists of three integrated elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan. Our students are thoughtful and compassionate youth who are interested in social issues and creating positive change. Enrollment in this program requires several hours of online engagement prior to campus arrival. This online participation can be completed at any time where internet access is available. Once on campus, participants can look forward to full days in a community of engaged and curious learners.

Additional programmatic information may be found here.

Prerequisites: None required.

Instructor Biography

Dr. Lynn Hernandez earned her Masters degree in counseling psychology and her Doctoral degree in developmental psychology from Florida International University in Miami, FL. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University in 2009 and was part of the Brown School of Public Health's faculty until 2019. Currently, she is the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and an Associate Professor of Medical Education at the CUNY School of Medicine. Within these two roles, Dr. Hernandez has been deeply involved in delivering multicultural competence training to health practitioners, developing curriculum specific to social justice leadership, and engaging in student and faculty recruitment and retention efforts. Her research aims to address the various health inequities impacting communities of color, particularly adolescents of color. She conducts her scholarly work within a Community-Based Participatory Research model, where members of the community are seen as the experts and are actively involved in all stages of program development and implementation. As a result, Dr. Hernandez has worked extensively with high schools, community agencies, health clinics, and adolescent health tasks forces in the Northeast to implement culturally appropriate, behavioral prevention and intervention programs that are easily accessible for youth of color and their families. She is excited to be teaching Identity, Diversity and Leadership for the fifth year and looks forward to meeting her next cohort of social change makers!

Course Information

  • Course Code: CESO0916
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

Leadership Institute

Two-week non-credit residential program focused on socially responsible leadership and creating positive change. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2020.

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