Summer Quarter: Letter from the Director
Two years have passed since George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers—an act of brutality that galvanized people throughout the United States and globally to protest in the streets. In the following weeks, between 15 and 26 million people in the US participated in the effort. And at the movement’s peak, on June 6, roughly 5 million people across 550 US locations turned out to support Black Americans, calling for an end to race-based violence and discrimination. Black Lives Matter is now widely regarded as the largest movement in US history.
This movement inspired many of us to reflect and recommit ourselves not only to ending the most extreme examples of bias and harm, but also to supporting—and celebrating—diversity, inclusivity, and civic engagement.
In the months following the protests, Stanford launched a set of campus-wide initiatives known as IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment). Provost Persis Drell explained the effort’s purpose, saying, “At Stanford, we strive to ensure that a diversity of cultures, races and ethnicities, genders, political and religious beliefs, physical and learning differences, sexual orientations and identities is thriving on our campus. Such diversity will inspire new angles of inquiry, new modes of analysis, new discoveries, and new solutions.”
At Continuing Studies, we also strive to support these efforts. We are partnering with instructors to develop and promote new courses that will help our community learn and contribute to building a more just society through advocacy and social justice, the advancement of inclusive democracy, and the exploration of classic works in film, music, and literature through the lenses of race, ethnicity, gender, and more.
We have introduced a new catalog section on social justice and expanded the scope of our cultural studies section to more directly confront Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) issues. We are also deeply aware that not everyone has sufficient economic privilege to be able to cover the standard tuition for our courses. We now offer select courses at a suppressed tuition rate in the hopes of increasing access. Last spring, this approach allowed more students to participate in Clayborne Carson and Johnny J. Mack’s course, “Nonviolence and Human Rights in the World House: Realizing Martin Luther King Jr.’s Vision.” This summer, we are doing the same with our cover course, “Why Soul Music Matters,” with Stanford assistant professor Charles Kronengold. We have also developed a small scholarship fund to help cover tuition for prospective students who need financial assistance.
This summer, we are honored to bring in fresh new voices from across the Stanford campus. In their course, “Cultures of Climate Justice,” Belinda Ramírez, a COLLEGE teaching fellow in the Civic, Liberal, and Global Education program, looks at environmental issues through a human rights lens. Hannah Yanow, the DEI liaison for the Graduate School of Business Executive Education Program, offers a course on “Exploring Queer Identities.” And Dharshani Lakmali Jayasinghe, a lecturer in Civic, Liberal, and Global Education, teaches “‘New Women’ in the Jazz Age: The Great Gatsby and Passing,” considering how F. Scott Fitzgerald and Harlem-based African American writer Nella Larsen portrayed women at the forefront of rapidly shifting political and social norms of that era. We hope to see you in class.
Finally, we have two notable additions to our Continuing Studies team: Nate Boswell, our new assistant dean, and Libby Ordoñez, our course planning specialist. Both bring a wealth of experience and will play important roles in supporting our regular courses, online public programs and events, the return to on-campus programming, and more. Please welcome them both!
Director & Associate Dean