Teaching Social Action Summer ‘22 Virtual Institute, Bonner Foundation – Jun 28-30

Posted by Bonner Foundation on April 12, 2022

The Bonner Foundation is pleased to announce that we are hosting a virtual Teaching Social Action Summer ‘22 Institute on June 28-30. This three-day institute will introduce faculty and staff to an approach for incorporating social action campaigns into either a semester-long course or co-curricular workshop series. In this transformative experiential learning model, students develop and launch a social action campaign of their choosing during the semester the course is taught. The student campaigns seek to change a rule, regulation, norm, or practice of an institution, whether on campus or in the community.


During the three-day institute, participants will draft a syllabus and develop a teaching and a plan for supporting student campaigns which are launched mid-semester. The institute sessions will be led by Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton, Professor of Sociology at San Jose State University, with support from Bobby Hackett, President of the Bonner Foundation. We will use a flipped classroom model, where participants will be asked to prepare for live webinar sessions by reading textbooks CHANGE! A Student Guide to Social Action and CHANGE! A Guide to Teaching Social Action and watching a series of short video presentations on the following topics:

  • An Overview of Teaching Social Action
  • Organizing Your Class
  • Issue Development & Choosing Campaigns
  • Change Theory & Building Power
  • Research & Group Dynamics
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Campaign Kick-Off
  • Campaign Plan & Evaluation

Participants will work with a syllabus template which includes guiding questions. We will discuss the pros and cons of revising a course to incorporate social action campaigns or develop a new course that complements an existing course, concentration, minor, major, or certificate program. We will also share the process and lessons learned from prior student campaigns. We welcome participants who want to explore developing a co-curricular social action workshop series embedded into a fellowship or co-curricular or integrated program.

Over the three-days participants will meet each day for two 90-minute Zoom sessions (12:00-1:30 pm and 2:30-4:00 pm EST) for discussions about your goals, course models, teaching approach, and sharing examples and exercises using a Mural Board that will help you plan your social action course or workshop series.

At the conclusion of the three-day summer institute, we will invite participants to join a year-long support and networking community of fellow practitioners who are teaching or learning how to teach social action using this experiential, real-world model. The Teaching Social Action Group is hosted by the Bonner Foundation on the Bonner Learning Community Platform to give faculty, staff, and students a forum for asking questions, discussing active student campaigns, sharing successes and challenges, and announcing future opportunities for training, education, and reflection.

Our long-term goal is to mainstream this model for teaching active democracy. The world needs more citizens who have developed their knowledge and skills in bringing about positive change through real world experience. While not all of the student campaigns are successful, many have been and those that haven’t succeeded have still taught valuable lessons to those who led them and those who were engaged in one form or another.


There is no cost to join the Teaching Social Action Summer ‘22 Institute. However, we want to restrict participation in the institute to those faculty, staff or students who are committed to implementing this experiential social action course model. Please note that preparing and supporting students to launch their social action campaigns generally takes at least half of the course content and assignments. Some courses are directly on social action and change, while others address a societal issue (e.g., climate change, housing, poverty, etc.) around which students develop their campaigns. From experience, the social action campaign dimension of these courses takes up roughly half of the course work (readings, assignments, and in-class teaching and group work).

Therefore, we ask that you review the information on this model shared on the following links:

The formal application to join the summer ‘22 cohort asks you to respond to the following questions on this application form.

  • Name, Title, Department, Email, School
  • Course Title
  • New or Revised
  • Course Description
  • What interests you about participating in this course development program?
  • Have you taught social action before? If so, please describe. If not, have you had any experiences that will help you in teaching it?
  • Based on the focus of your course, what policy issues issues do you think your student might choose to address in their campaigns?

Click here to submit your application.

If you have specific questions about the model or our webinar series, please contact Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton, Sociology professor at San Jose State University, who will be facilitating the webinar series at smlipton@sjsu.edu.

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