From the beginning, SiD’s curriculum has been an interdisciplinary blend of Detroit history and culture, creative writing, community organizing for environmental justice and public engagement. While each course retains its own distinct focus, over the years we have developed intentional interconnections across our curriculum. For example: one day in our Detroit history class students may learn about the rise of auto worker organizing in the 1930s. Then, a week later in our creative writing class, they are writing their own fictional stories about industrial workers portrayed in Diego Rivera’s spectacular mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Another example: one week students learn how active listening can be an effective organizing tool; and the next week they meet and listen to Detroit community organizers while participating in an environmental tour of Southwest Detroit. Everything students learn in their SiD courses strengthens their humility, expands their capacity for nuance, and equips them to make more meaningful contributions through their community-based internships. 

We are excited to announce that the SiD curriculum will expand in Spring 2022 to include five courses:

Baba Jamon Jordan, SiD’s newest faculty member, will continue to teach the required Detroit history class - From the Underground to Motown. Jordan was recently named the city of Detroit’s first official historian and the Detroit Free Press has dubbed him the “People’s Historian”. His course utilizes a uniquely alternating blend of discussions and tours around the city that reveals hidden histories of Black Detroit.

Stephen Ward, long-time SiD Faculty Director and Associate Professor (DAAS/RC), will return from a sabbatical to teach a new course tentatively titled, The Legacy and Lineage of James and Grace Lee Boggs. Ward will be assisted by SiD Acting Associate Director Rion Berger. Based in Ward’s continuing research and activism with the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, the course will explore and engage with an array of contemporary activists and grassroots Detroit efforts that have drawn inspiration and support from both James and Grace Lee Boggs.

Darcy Brandel, Lecturer in Creative Writing (RC), will continue to teach her popular SiD elective course, Detroit Artist as Activist. Her class introduces students to a wide range of Detroit artists - past and present - from muralists to poets to jazzheads and more. She explores with students how artists use their creativity to mold and to shape better communities and worlds in Detroit and beyond.

Diana Wasaanung’gokwe Seales, CASC Assistant Director and Adjunct Lecturer (School of Social Work), will teach her long-running course, Environmental Justice Organizing in Detroit. Seales utilizes her vast experience as a community organizer in Detroit, and her current engagement with both the local and global environmental justice movements, to help students develop their own organizing “tool-boxes.”

Rion Berger (SiD Acting Associate Director) and Craig Regester (SiD Acting Faculty Director and Lecturer II), will continue to co-teach the Community-Based Internship Reflection Seminar. The course empowers students to develop their own personal theories of change through their contributions, engagement and analysis of the mission and practices of their Detroit community partners.