Community Engagement

Ideas in Action, Critical Reflection

Key courses in the program blend classroom and field placement experiences, bringing ideas and action into a fruitful dialogue that reinforces student learning.  These service-learning opportunities engage students with professionals, community activists, and the public to gain critical perspectives on the program’s core subjects. Most students participate in 40 hours of community engagement over the course of the quarter (a few, for logistical reasons, may opt for a longer research paper).  This fieldwork often culminates in a paper or in-class presentation given by the student.

Our Labor Studies program courses generally follow this model of classroom and field experience, or engage students in a collaborative research or public engagement project.  For instance, in “Immigrant Rights, Labor and Higher Education” (LBR&WS M166B) students learn about immigration law and policy in the contemporary U.S., the political contesting these policies, and the place of immigrant students in colleges and universities.  Under the instruction of Kent Wong (Director of the UCLA Labor Center), students in this class have participated in the creation of documentary films, the organization of public forums featuring key political leaders, and the publication of original works of scholarship such as Underground Undergrads and Undocumented and Unafraid that chronicle the lives of undocumented students.

Field Research and Internship

The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment offers over three hundred leadership development, service-learning, and field research placements annually to undergraduate students at UCLA and from other universities. Students participate in these experiential learning opportunities through the interdisciplinary program in Labor Studies and summer internship programs taught by UCLA faculty from various social science departments. The students are placed in labor, governmental, or other nonprofit organizations in and around Los Angeles for the duration of the quarter or summer program.

The Labor Summer Research Program is a research seminar with fieldwork; a way to augment traditional classroom-based learning with experiential learning in a community setting with direct engagement in labor and workplace issues. This summer program offers students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in an applied research experience focused on the Los Angeles labor movement that is leading national efforts to promote social justice for working people.

Dream Summer is a ten-week, full-time internship program that places undocumented student leaders with social justice, labor. and queer/LGBTQ organizations. This internship experience provides leadership development and training for undocumented leaders and strengthens multigenerational social-justice movements. Each participant will receive a $5,000 award to support their educational goals.