An honors program at a public university gives students a scholarship and early course signup and lets them use laptops if they take classes on subjects like “white privilege” and Black Lives Matter, which both have community engagement components.
Sam Houston State University in Texas (SHSU) offers a scholarship of up to $2,800 to students who take these courses or others as part of its Elliott T. Bowers Honors College. Students who gain admission into the Honors College can sign up for courses earlier than their non-Honors peers, obtain access to a special computer center, and “automatically receive the Bowers Scholarship upon acceptance into the college.” The Honors students also graduate with distinction and gain usage of cameras, video cameras, and laptops for their class projects.
“Understanding Whiteness: Historic and Contemporary Viewpoints on Privilege,” asks SHSU Honors students “how might white people better understand white privilege and their potential role in dismantling systemic racism?” and requires students to “engage in personal self-reflection” and “educate others about white privilege through action research projects and community engagement initiatives.”
The seminar examines “white privilege” from modern and historical perspectives, e.g., “the social construction of whiteness,” as well as “key historic events and movements advancing white privilege (eugenics, global colonization, holocaust).”
The Black Lives Matter Honors College seminar is taught by associate professor Ervin Malakaj, who co-chairs SHSU’s Diversity Committee for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
“The Black Lives Matter movement has called on Americans to address the racial violence, mass incarceration, and dehumanizing social policies directed at African Americans,” reads the seminar description.
The BLM course is part of SHSU’s Academic Community Engagement (ACE) program, which blends teaching with community engagement.
Other seminars offered by the Honors College include a course examining the “physiology of sexual function,” and a course called, “Culture and Society: Harry Potter.”
SHSU, a taxpayer-funded public school, also offers three other scholarships to its Honors College participants, with amounts set at $500 per semester and $500 per year.
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