From Public Opinion to Kindness to Chocolate: Learn Online with SBS Community Classes

Sept. 8, 2020
montage of fall 2020 SBS Community Classes


This fall, the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is offering 11 online, non-credit courses – lasting from two hours to seven weeks – on topics ranging from the racial violence and cannabis policy to professional editing and Tucson food – as part of its Community Classroom Program.

“We are excited by our lineup of fall classes. They include topics that are top-of-mind for many of us, such as public opinion and racial violence, and we are proud to share our expertise with those wanting to delve deeper into these issues,” said Maribel Alvarez, associate dean of community engagement for the College of SBS. “We are also offering classes on topics such as kindness and chocolate that can hopefully provide a welcome respite from the stresses of this time.”

Most courses are offered live online, while others consist of a mixture of pre-recorded lectures and live online sessions. All live online sessions will be recorded and shared with those registered participants who cannot make the live sessions.

In the run up to the election, political scientist Samara Klar is teaching on the “Politics of Polling: The Impact of Public Opinion.” The six-week course covers not just how opinions are measured but what influences citizens’ opinions, and how these opinions can be used and abused.

Jeannette Maré, founder of Ben’s Bells and graduate student in the Department of Communication, is teaching the course “No Time for Nice: Kindness as a Force for Personal and Social Change." In this five-week course, participants will learn about kindness through a social science lens. Maré will also provide tools to help participants develop a plan for putting their kind intentions into action.

Anthropologist Jennifer Roth-Gordon is teaching “Whiteness and Racial Violence in America," which will offer insights on how racial violence works with other forms of structural racism and how race and whiteness structure our world.

Additional Lifelong Learning Courses include “Modern Cannabis Policy: Prohibiting, Legalizing, and Regulating a Commonly Used Substance” taught by Professor Anne Boustead and “Power to the People? Lessons from Europe’s Populist Turn” taught by Professor Paulette Kurzer.

Community members can also learn about language and the brain from the founder of modern linguistics, Noam Chomsky. Chomsky, who is UArizona professor of linguistics and the Agnese Nelms Haury Chair, co-teaches the linguistics course “Language, Mind, and Brain” with Professors Thomas Bever and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini.

The fall courses include two Cultural Immersion Experiences. “Cocina del Pueblo: Tucson Basin Foodways” is a three-part course presented in collaboration with Tucson Meet Yourself and features live food demonstrations by three cooks (and attendees will receive recipes of the dishes). In the two-part workshop “The Cultures of Chocolate,” attendees will explore chocolate production, both historical and present-day, as well as sample various chocolate confections.

The fall line-up includes three Professional Development courses: “Planning Powerful Presentations,” “The Craft of Editing in Professional Contexts,” and “Nothing About Us Without Us: Community-Based Program Evaluation.”

For a complete description of the fall online 2020 courses, please visit