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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Three new JBS programs announced for 2011

Published: October 22, 2010
Section: Front Page

The university announced three new Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) programs on civil rights, film and mobile programming for summer 2011 and one program on environmental studies for next fall, according to a newsletter sent Wednesday by program manager Alyssa Grinberg.

Last year, half of the eight JBS programs for this summer were cut due to a lack of applications from students. This year, faculty submitted fewer proposals to be reviewed by the JBS Committee, comprised of Professor Laura Goldin (AMST), Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe, Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer, Director of Study Abroad Scott Van Der Meid, Senior Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Elaine Wong and Grinberg.

“In this case, it’s quality over quantity,” Grinberg said.

Both Grinberg and Profesor David Cunningham (SOC), who will teach the 12-credit summer program “Civil Rights and Racial Justice in Mississippi” said they were optimistic about the success of the programs this year.

Cunningham explained that last year because it was the inaugural year of JBS, “there were a lot of unknowns” but added that administrators have made “great efforts” and learned from last year’s mistakes.

Grinberg explained that experiential learning programs like JBS allow students to bridge the gap between “practical skills” and theoretical learning and then apply their new knowledge for the rest of their life and career.

“This model of education is transformative,” Grinberg said. “It’s exciting. It doesn’t necessarily feel like arduous work.”

In addition to Cunningham’s program, two other 12-credit programs taking place this summer are “Filmmaking: From Script to Screen,” being taught by Professor Mark Dellelo (FILM) and Professor Marc Weinberg (ENG) and “Mobile Applications and Game Development,” being taught by Profesor Tim Hickey (COSI) and Pito Salas. In fall 2011, Goldin and Dr. James Stewart, along with others, will teach the 16-credit program “Environmental Health and Justice.”

The three summer programs are eight weeks and run from May 31 to July 22. The environmental program runs from Sept. 1 to Dec. 21. The applications for all programs are due on March 15.

Tuition for summer JBS programs is pro-rated at 75 percent because there are fewer weeks than in a normal semester, Grinberg said.

Cunningham’s program will work in collaboration with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and the Mississippi Truth Project, a project that focuses on how researching the inequality of the past can lead to a more just future.

Mississippi is “emblematic of America in the sense that it embodies all the [country’s] extremes,” Cunningham said.

Students will work on research in at least four counties across the state that will help advance racial justice projects local communities have already started, according to Cunningham.

Cunningham said he hopes students will be able to “use Mississippi’s past in a way that improves its present and its future.”

In the film program, students will spend the beginning of the semester studying film making in the classroom and attending workshops before spending the last four weeks producing a script written by students, according to the JBS website.

As part of the mobile gaming program, students will attend several lectures with guest speakers and begin the semester by joining with other students to create a “sophisticated suite of mobile applications” the website said. Students in this program can also choose to continue their experiential studies with a 13-week internship in the fall, taken at the same time as an independent study course.

Goldin’s program will focus on the environment’s effects on economic and social justice.

“A theme of the program will be to use legal, scientific and other skills to assist marginalized communities in gaining access to healthier neighborhoods, rather than suffering the worst of society’s environmental ills,” Goldin said.

Because of the longer time frame, the program will include more traveling trips than Goldin’s similar JBS environmental program this summer.

“It’s designed to be relevant to the issues of the day,” Goldin said. “We’ll respond to whatever is pressing in the needs of the communities we will work with.”