2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog 
    Oct 06, 2022  
2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

CASA Pitzer Program

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GENERAL: Critical Action & Social Advocacy (CASA) Pitzer advances critical analysis, action and advocacy on the most pressing issues in the Inland Empire. As an academic program and community hub, CASA Pitzer brings local residents, organizers, activists, artists, educational institutions and nonprofits together with members of The Claremont Colleges to build community and enact change. The CASA Pitzer academic program engages students, staff, faculty and community partners in collaborative projects and community-based participatory research on regional equity and justice pertaining to issues of incarceration, immigration, education, environment, labor, art, culture and health.

NAME CHANGE: For almost 20 years, the Pitzer In Ontario Program was known as PIO. Since moving out of the PIO house, previously located on H Street in the city of Ontario, the program has been operating out of a historic building in downtown Ontario that houses the academic program and community partners. After two years of operation and community input, the program, including the new space in which the program operates, was renamed: Critical Action and Social Advocacy (CASA) Pitzer.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS: Students must take the 2 core CASA courses simultaneously: 

Due to the intensive internships, fieldtrips and writing components of this program, students earn three credits for the two courses. These two courses must be taken together and the program is limited to a cohort of 13 students. 

ONT 101: Critical Community Studies course description

This course explores current movements, theories and narratives centered around critical issues in our local communities as well as focuses on theories and approaches to social service and social change and the tensions between them. The course will apply theory to practice through interdisciplinary scholarship, in-class dialogues, critical reflection and analysis, experiential learning, and direct engagement with local change-making organizations and movements. The course’s theoretical frameworks are grounded in a cross section of disciplines, including contributions from cultural studies, critical education theory, psychology, sociology and anthropology. Course praxis (theory + action +critical reflection) will play out in large part through the program’s intensive practicum, class fieldtrips and workshops that exemplify that which we study. Through this course, students will engage in hands-on applications of community-based education and become aware of local knowledge, assets, and approaches to social change.

ONT 105: Research Methods for Community Change course description

Research Methods for Community Change is an introduction to diverse approaches to qualitative inquiry, from ethnography to participatory action and project-based research. Our course combines a classic “toolkit” approach to qualitative methods with the praxis of community-building and social change. We examine current debates, ethical dilemmas, and theoretical approaches to research in community settings. A distinctive and vital component of ONT105 is the intensive research internship and community immersion experience-a 125-hour commitment over the course of the semester. Students are partnered with grassroots organizations working to address issues that directly affect communities in the Inland Empire. Internship topics include immigration, education, incarceration, environmental justice, community health, and labor rights. In collaboration with a partner organization, students design and complete project- and community-based action research and share these as part of the culminating course assignment.

INCLUDED INTERNSHIP: Students are required to complete a 125-hour internship with one of our core eight community partner organizations to produce rigorous community-based research or praxis, and to integrate classroom theory into practice through change-oriented work.

MAJORS CREDITED: CASA is designed for sophomores and juniors (though others may petition entrance) and it satisfies requirements in the following majors:

  • Sociology
  • Environmental Analysis
  • Organizational Studies
  • International Intercultural Studies
  • American Studies

LAUNCHING PAD/LANDING PAD: The CASA Pitzer Program is an important developmental experience that benefits both students returning from or going on 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 CASA Pitzer 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. CASA Pitzer also provides exceptional work and real world experience with a 125 hour internship component, where you will be placed with a local Inland Empire non-profit. This allows Claremont Colleges students to build their resumes while applying theory to practice.  

LOCATION: CASA Pitzer | 200 S. Euclid Avenue, Suite B | Ontario, CA 91762 |

CONTACT: CASA Pitzer Faculty Director: tessa_hicks_peterson@pitzer.edu


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