Pitzer in Ontario is a justice-oriented, interdisciplinary program in urban studies and community-based research. With theoretical foundations in the social sciences and a strong emphasis on experiential education, the program allows students to understand the local impacts of globalization and to engage in social change efforts. These efforts are informed by long-standing relationships with community organizations, city agencies, and non-profits in order to identify and address pressing community issues.
Current Projects. Ongoing projects include food justice (Huerta del Valle), transportation justice (the Wheelhouse bike co-op), labor organizing, immigrant rights, youth organizing, community health, and civic engagement.
CASA Ontario. Pitzer in Ontario holds classes at CASA Ontario, our storefront community hub, located six miles from the Pitzer campus at 200 S. Euclid, Suite B. Transportation is provided.
Course Load. Students must take the two core Ontario courses simultaneously: ONT 101 PZ -Critical Community Studies, ONT 105 PZ -Research Methods for Community Change. Each of these courses is worth 1.5 credits and together, the core program counts for 3 credits. Students may elect to take an Ontario companion class such as ONT 78, Voter Engagement and the New Left (Fall) or ASAM 84, Non Violent Social Change (Spring).
Major Credit. Ontario Program core courses count toward majors in Sociology, Environmental Analysis, Organizational Studies, and International/Intercultural Studies. Please discuss your decision to take the Ontario Program with both Ontario staff and your major advisor before enrolling.
Educational Objectives. Ontario Program core courses fulfill the Intercultural Understanding-Domestic educational objective as well as the Social Justice Theory and Social Responsibility Praxis educational objectives.
Launching Pad/Landing Pad. The Ontario Program is a fantastic way to prepare for, or return from, study abroad. Taking the program before studying abroad gives students solid grounding in ethics, critical inquiry, and methods that facilitates directed independent study projects. Returning students bring skills gained during the semester away and apply them to local issues, easing back into Pitzer life in a non-traditional, experiential setting. Students who do both Ontario and Study Abroad programs may be well positioned to write a Local/Global senior thesis, which takes a multi-sited approach to a topic of interest.
Requirements. We require a 150-hour internship to be completed over the course of the semester along with an associated 20-25-page research paper. We ask that students minimize additional extracurricular activities during the semester so as to facilitate the immersive aspects of the internship and the academic demands of the program. We provide opportunities for Spanish immersion but knowledge of Spanish is not a requirement. First years are not allowed to take the program, but we encourage sophomores, juniors, and seniors to enroll. There is no application process. Enrollment is by permission only, so you must meet with Ontario staff before pre-registration. Please feel free to contact professors Susan Phillips or Tessa Hicks-Peterson for details.