Beginning in Fall Session II, CLS will debut new courses on diversity as part of a series that explores inequality issues in the United States.
The idea for the series was born out of the need to discuss and understand issues of diversity in order to be a part of a solution in society. This series of courses provides interested OU students with an in-depth understanding of inequality issues, the theoretical basis of inequality, current research about the different aspects inequality in our society and, most importantly, what we can do to support diversity in our communities, schools and workplaces.
The first part of the series is a collection of courses that will begin this October. Paul Ketchum, full-time professor for CLS and recent expert witness for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, will be the primary professor for the courses.
Dr. Ketchum’s research focuses on racial inequality as it works in education and the criminal and juvenile justice system. Professor Ketchum also publishes and presents on racial and gender bias in media representations. He volunteers in a local urban school district teaching both college and college prep courses.
“[At CLS], we see part of our goal as not just to teach classes, but to do our part to make society better,” he said. “It’s something I’m very passionate about, this idea of creating a more equal society.”
The first course offerings include Understanding Race in American Society (LSAL 4700) and Exploring Race and Gender in Film (LSAL 4700), with future plans to develop courses on understanding educational equality and class inequality in America. Each course will be offered at the undergraduate and graduate level and will be available to CLS and non-CLS students alike.
In a recent promotional video,Ketchum explained the relevance of these topics in the context of modern American society.
“Just look at what articles, what issues, what events have been in the media recently,” he explained. “We have issues such as same sex marriage, race, with issues like the confederate flag, our first black president, gender equality—all of these things keep coming up. They come up in different forms but there’s a reoccurring pattern to how these issues keep popping up in society.
“And what they have in common is that in each core there is a group with diminished power, with diminished influence. And a group with exaggerated power and influence. So even though we have all of these separate courses on inequality, what we’re really hoping to do overall is to give you, as students, a chance to look at how inequality as a whole operates in American society.”
Students interested in taking these courses or learning more about them can contact Kathryne Roden at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can also be found in the video below.
Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.