November 1, 2021

In light of the recent protests and statements in support of Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist organizing efforts, the College of Liberal Arts is highlighting how its courses incorporate issues related to Black Lives Matter. We will highlight one course each month.  You can view all of our courses here:

See the description below detailing how CLA faculty advance the anti-racist messaging of Black Lives Matter through assignments, readings, and pedagogical practices that affirm the lives, history, and culture of Black people across the globe. Descriptions fall into one of three categories—Long-Standing Practices, Recent Changes, and Future Plans—designed to demonstrate the ongoing nature of anti-racist efforts:

Instructor: Dr. Courtney Ahrens
Course: PSY 471: Interpersonal Violence

PSY 471: Interpersonal Violence examines causes, outcomes, and best practices for preventing and addressing five forms of interpersonal violence: child abuse, youth violence, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and elder abuse. Across all forms of violence, inequities in income, wealth, education, employment, health, community stability, and safety serve as prominent risk factors, but these conditions are often ignored in favor of individualistic approaches to intervention. Punitive criminal justice system responses and supportive healthcare and social service interventions have also been unequally applied, further entrenching the very inequalities that give rise to family and community violence.

To help move students away from a purely individualistic view of interpersonal violence, this class examines risk and protective factors at each level of the ecological model (individual, family, organizational, community, and societal), focusing on the role that social policies play in creating and sustaining the root causes of violence. Several class sessions are also devoted to examining systemic racism, including an examination of social policies and practices that lead to inequality across nearly every domain of individual, family, and community health. To enhance student learning, students watch the documentary video the 13th about systemic inequality within the criminal justice system. We also focus explicitly on actions students can take to become anti-racist, including viewing two shorter Ted Talks about overcoming implicit bias (Verna Myers) and becoming anti-racist (Ibram X. Kendi) as well as reading a multipage handout derived from the Racial Healing Handbook by Anneliese Singh.