This seminar is a year-long interdisciplinary seminar and research practicum that develops innovative frameworks and strategies for addressing structural inequality through institutional change. The seminar explores the emerging role of lawyers (and other change agents) in advancing equality during an era of judicial retrenchment. Although the seminar focuses on higher education, its approach has implications for efforts to address structural inequality in many other domains.
During the first six weeks of the fall semester, the seminar will develop the conceptual and intellectual framework for understanding "the architecture of inclusion" in higher education by examining the dynamics of structural inequality and its remediation at the level of relationships, groups, organizations, networks, policy, and culture. This portion of the seminar will also critically evaluate the law's role in addressing structural inequality. The students will then examine the potential and limits of emerging roles, institutions, and policies for transformative change, with the participation of cutting-edge researchers and practitioners. Students co-facilitate two classes, write reflection papers, a political autobiography, and a research-framing memorandum. They will then develop field research projects and the research and analytical tools needed to conduct successful field research. They will gain invaluable skills of facilitation, fact-gathering, interviewing, and institutional design.
Beginning in the fall semester and continuing into the spring semester, students will conduct major field research projects related to diversity, inclusion, and innovation in higher education. These field research projects include: (1) alternative frameworks of merit; (2) the role of lawyers in enabling (or impeding) innovative approaches to diversifying higher education; (3) case studies of institutional partnerships and networks that enhance inclusion, mobility, and problem solving; (4) frameworks and roles for connecting information to institutional transformation; and (5) exploring innovative approaches to diversifying law schools. Depending on the scope of the field research project, students may add up to three additional clinical credits for their field research in the spring semester.
The seminar's work will be conducted in conjunction with the Center for Institutional and Social Change, which Professor Susan Sturm co-directs. Students will receive four credits for the seminar in the fall semester and three credits for the seminar in the spring semester. Students may also receive up to three additional clinical credits for the field research in the spring semester.