The OBU mission statement calls students to engage in a diverse world and live a life worthy of the high calling of God in Christ. Dr. Karen Longest, associate professor of psychology, along with other faculty, have created a new minor in advocacy to further fulfill that mission.
The advocacy minor is designed for those interested in developing skills to help them become advocates for a cause that benefits society. Whether a student is interested in increasing environmentally responsible behavior, reducing the rates of child maltreatment, improving community health and wellness, or benefitting society in some other way, the advocacy minor will be useful in both professional work and as a volunteer. The minor utilizes an interdisciplinary approach and consists of 19 hours of courses from psychology, sociology, political science, English and communication studies.
The new minor will be compatible with any major and will teach students skills such as persuasive communication, advanced writing, governmental policy, research and more. Students will learn advanced writing skills, research skills, governmental policy, approaches to social problems, diversity, and how to design and carry out an advocacy project.
“We have so many students who will come to us and say, ‘I really want to make a difference in the world, I want what I learn and study to matter, I want to do some things that make the world a better place but I don’t know how to do that,’” Longest said. “I thought, what if we created a minor that would give students the skills to become an advocate? That became part of our goal; we wanted an answer for students when they asked that question.”
While most of the courses already exist, the minor will create new cornerstone and capstone classes. The cornerstone course will serve as a kind of overview of advocacy, introducing students to the many ways they can make a difference in the world, while the capstone will serve as a final project to apply students’ knowledge.
Longest has already lined up several guest speakers for the cornerstone course, from organizations including the AVEDIS Foundation, Community Market, the adult literacy program at the Shawnee Public Library and the Oklahoma City Zoo. Longest emphasized that anyone can take the cornerstone course, even if they haven’t formally declared a minor in advocacy.
The minor will be available beginning fall 2017. For more information, contact Longest at firstname.lastname@example.org.