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COM offers ethnic studies course on Redwood’s campus

Standing in front of the room, Professor Madril speaks to an ethnic studies class in the portable classrooms at Redwood.

This fall, College of Marin (COM) is offering an ethnic studies course at Redwood, the first college class to ever be offered directly on campus grounds. This course, Intro to Ethnic Studies, takes place in room 705 from 2 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Students were able to enroll through the COM website and could receive support from their school counselor, if needed. The course covers a variety of topics, from multiculturalism to migration, while challenging students to develop critical thinking skills. 

Senior Mila Mincy enrolled in the class in the hopes of broadening her perspective through understanding other cultures. 

“I want to enhance my cultural and societal awareness and sensitivity, which is really valuable in an increasingly diverse world,” Mincy said. 

The course focuses on exploring different social concepts, as opposed to specific historical events. Through the use of historical and current events as case studies, students develop a deeper understanding of what makes up social culture, the role ethnic groups play in society and the influence of power on social systems.

Students listen and take notes attentively as Professor Madril speaks to the class.

“My thinking has been challenged,” Mincy said. “I am not just reading from a textbook and reporting what I read, I am learning how to think between the lines.”

Professor Eddie Madril teaches American Indian studies at San Francisco State University and ethnic studies at COM. Madril fosters the development of critical thinking skills by encouraging students to consider questions about the context in which information is presented. 

“In what ways do we look at things? In what ways can we analyze things? In what ways do we critique things? In what ways do we get information? Where is that information sourced from? What is the validity and credibility of that information source?” Madril said. 

Students have the choice to enroll in the class and Madril expects them to engage in classroom discussions to enhance their learning. 

“You have to contribute. If you are not contributing, there is no growth,” Madril said. 

In addition to expanding their perspectives and knowledge through this class, students can also gain firsthand experience in a college course. College and Career Specialist Becky Bjursten emphasized the benefits of taking a college class, including the ability to earn college credit if students complete the course with a passing grade. 

“To me, the fact that [this class] can give you college experience and can possibly take out one of your general education requirements when you do go away to college, [means] there are only upsides to it as long as it seems like the right class for you,” Bjursten said.  

By offering this course on campus, both COM and Redwood aspire to promote equity by expanding access to college-level classes to more students. 

“Not everybody has transportation or maybe they have an afterschool job, or maybe they have some other responsibility that makes it harder for them to get to another campus after school, so bringing [COM’s] campus to [Redwood] gives this college opportunity to students right here,” Bjursten said.

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About the Contributor
Tessa DeLay
Tessa DeLay, Lifestyles Editor
Tessa DeLay is a junior at Redwood and a lifestyles editor for the Bark. She enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends, and going to the beach.