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Texas college offers new curriculum for social change

Some education experts anticipate that more college and university students will consider learning online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: jagritparajuli99/Pixabay

Texas News Service

DALLAS — The death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis two months ago has accelerated the launch of a new learning program by a school in Dallas.

The Urban Scholars Program was in the works at Paul Quinn College, but became more urgent with Floyd’s death, as the historically Black college addresses challenges facing urban communities.

Ben Nelson, CEO and founder Minerva Project, the company that helped design the curriculum, says many high achieving students now have a keen sense of purpose — and they want college to provide them with tools to help them change society.

“This country needs more than just changing names on football teams and maple syrup, and much more about fixing the problems that we face,” Nelson states.

In addition to educational requirements, a big component of the Urban Scholars Program is employment — with students expected to work 15 to 20 hours a week.

About 550 students attend Paul Quinn College each year.

Students who enroll in the program will study how to close the multi-generational wealth gap, end the prison-industrial complex, or provide equitable and affordable health care to all.

Nelson says many students don’t want four years of lecture halls — and instead, want to earn a degree that engages them in tackling real world problems.

“To solve, or help ameliorate, some of the great disparities that our society faces around wealth, access to health care, around treatment by the criminal justice system,” he states.

Nelson say the Urban Scholars Program will offer a fully online 36-month undergraduate degree in business administration and public policy designed to educate a “new generation of change-makers.”

Support for this reporting was made possible by Lumina Foundation.

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