Program gives Tucson community chance to dive into UA curricular

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Betty Hurd | The Daily Wildcat

The inside of Gallagher Theater in the Student Union Memorial Center on April 11. The theater is also used a classroom.

There’s one thing that ties gun debates, Brexit and Mexican idols together and it’s the Community Classroom.

Community Classroom was rolled out for community members of Tucson in fall of 2018. The program is an initiative to target potential learners that are not full-time or part-time students.

“In its first year, 14 courses/workshops enabled 19 Social and Behavioral Sciences faculty to engage with over 600 community members,” said Kerstin Miller, manager of projects and events at the University of Arizona.

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The program builds off different instructors’ specialties to give the Tucson community “diverse topics that speak to a variety of adult learners,” according to Miller.

The program’s first workshop from last year, according to its website, was called “Celluloid Desert: Tucson in Cinema History,” which took a look at Tucson’s place in the history of filmmaking.

The class met at The Loft Cinema and lasted two hours with discussions and group activities.

This year, the program will hold classes like a study of Brexit and why it happened, or looking at Mexican idols and demons.

The class titled Mexican Superheroes, Demons, and Idols, focuses on exactly what the title implies.  

“In many places around the world, these cultural icons usually embody popular notions of justice, patriotism, solidarity, and protection,” Luis Guel Coronado said in an email. “In Mexico, fantastic heroes are not new as they have represented people’s aspirations, fears, and hopes in different times and historical contexts.

The classes differ in price, but none reaching the $733 per credit rate at the UA. The cheapest class for the community is priced at $55. According to the website, this course, “Savoring Story: A Food and Story Making Workshop,” is led by Melani “Mele” Martinez, a lecturer for first year writing courses at the UA. 

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The most expensive class, and also one of the more high profile classes, is the one taught by Noam Chomsky, Thomas Bever and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, titled “Language, Mind, and Brain.” The class will hold 100 registered members.

Community members can pay $250 to register for the class. While the other classes may not be focused entirely on students, this class is an exception, as it pits community members and students side by side.

“[Community Classroom] allows community members to attend classes and rub elbows with UA students,” Miller said. “Both groups of learners value the exchange of ideas among the different generations.”

Community members may also take part in one class without paying, according to the program’s website, but they have to email communitymatters@email.arizona.edu or contact Kerstin Miller at least one day prior to the event.

For more information, or to suggest an idea for a course, contact the program by filling out a short form at communityclassroom.arizona.edu/contact.


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