Practicing Democracy has a few spots available this spring. It meets on Thursdays from 1:10-4, and is a 1.5 credit class. The course is taught by Mary Hannah Henderson, a visiting professor. Yesterday, she answered a few questions for me about who this course would be a good fit for, and why she is excited to teach it.
What kind of student should register for this course?
Juniors and seniors. Those who have no previous organizing experience as well as those who have organized before will both get a lot out of the course. We use a “reflective practice,” combining hands-on projects with reading and analysis. While I have students who have gone on to be professional organizers, most take their learning about democratic practice and leadership into work in other arenas, including medicine, law, education (K-12 and higher Ed.), politics, ministry, and the arts.
What will students gain from this course?
A better theoretical and practical understanding of how to develop leadership in themselves and others, build community around that leadership, and mobilize resources out of that community to address common concerns.
What makes you uniquely suited to teach this subject?
For 18 years, I’ve been part of a growing global network of organizers, teachers, and researchers using and refining this approach to teaching democratic practice. My writing and research has mostly been in the realm of narrative and leadership, looking at how we engage and articulate sources of hope in response to challenges, both individually and as communities. As a teacher, I have worked with and designed leadership and organizing curricula for undergraduate, graduate, faculty, and staff leaders in a variety of institutions of higher education.
What are you most looking forward to in teaching this course?
Having a chance to work through this material with Wesleyan students! I learn something new every time I teach this course.