Do you want to change the world, but aren’t sure where to begin? Or are you already engaged in activism and want to expand your skills and knowledge? This pathway gives students room to explore the histories and theories of activism and social change movements, the skills required to organize people for social change, and knowledge of the legal, governmental, and economic systems relevant to understanding and participating in efforts to create a more just and equitable world.
Students who choose this pathway may develop knowledge and skills in many of these areas:

  • Histories and theories of activism and social movements
  • Legal issues and frameworks
  • Skills for organizing, promoting, and mobilizing direct actions in public spaces
  • Collaboration skills necessary for coalition building and community outreach
  • Strategies for communicating and expressing issues to a larger public
  • Working with diverse communities and constituencies
  • Communication skills through multiple formats (performing arts, art, media, and social media)
  • Grassroots organizing skills
  • Understanding political systems
  • Grant writing and fundraising

Finally, students on this pathway might consider careers in political organizing or campaign work, nonprofit work, or advocacy. They might thus become artists, writers, campus chaplains, politicians, civil rights lawyers, or theatre professionals. Whether you’re new to activism or already focused on specific social change goals, this pathway is adaptable to a wide range of experiences and backgrounds regarding social change and is designed to help you refine your plans for work during and after college.

Faculty & Staff

Beatrice Adams

Assistant Professor of History


Katharine Beutner

Katharine Beutner

Associate Professor of English; Activism & Social Change Pathway Co-Liaison (on leave 2023-24)


Erin Guzmán

Erin Guzmán

Henry J. Copeland Interfaith Chaplain and Director of Religious & Spiritual Life


Jimmy Noriega

Jimmy Noriega

Professor of Theatre and Dance (on leave 2023-24)


Ibra Sene associate professor of history at college of wooster

Ibra Sene

Associate Professor of History; Global & International Studies Department Chair


Becky Webb

Pathways Program Coordinator, Global Engagement Office Administrative Coordinator


Latest activism social change News

Hans Johnson '92

English and Spanish alumnus organizes for social justice in Wooster and across the nation

Hans Johnson ’92 chose to attend The College of Wooster because the school gave him an opportunity to connect with a diverse student body […]

Chantel Massey '13

English alumna helps build community through poetry and performance

Chantel Massey ’13 has always been a writer and a lover of poetry, but she didn’t always recognize that she could turn her passion […]

Reggie Harris, an acclaimed musician, storyteller, and expert on civil rights music

Acclaimed musician-storyteller Reggie Harris to perform at Wooster Oct. 26

The College of Wooster will welcome Reggie Harris, an acclaimed musician, storyteller, and expert on civil rights music for a performance on Wednesday, Oct. […]

Maud Bulman '23

Anthropology major finds new love for social work through internship

Maud Bulman ’23 , an anthropology major at The College of Wooster, started volunteering with Trinity United Church of Christ during the school year. […]

More activism social change Articles


Experiential Learning Opportunities (Two Experiences)

Students will complete two experiences related to activism and social change. Approved experiences should have students in positions of active participation and/or leadership. These might include:

  • Campus workshops
  • Service Trips (such as those offered by Religious & Spiritual Life during the fall & spring breaks)
  • Campus jobs (for example, shadowing staff in the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, research assistant positions, working on campus garden and sustainability projects)
  • Leadership in campus organizations
  • Work with nonprofit organizations as volunteers, interns, or paid staff
  • Internships
  • Off Campus Study


Reflections guide students to articulate meaningful connections between the skills and knowledge they are gaining and the experiences in their coursework, experiential learning opportunities and career goals.Reflections take place along five points in the pathway:

First Reflection Touchpoint: At the Start of the Pathway

The first opportunity to reflect is when the student declares their Pathway.  Responses to prompts asked at this moment establish a baseline from which student moves forward.

Second Reflection Touchpoint: An Opportunity to Investigate

At this point in the process, students will explore career and internship resources offered through Career Planning in APEX. They will also craft a career-ready resume.

Third Reflection Touchpoint: Before Experiential Learning Opportunity

This reflection offers students the opportunity to connect with professionals who will guide them as they plan their experiential learning for maximum growth and impact.

Fourth Reflection Touchpoint: After Experiential Learning Opportunity

This reflection takes place after the student has completed an experiential learning opportunity and asks them to consider how the work they have done connects with their pathway.

Fifth Reflection Touchpoint: At the End of This Pathway – and the Start of New Ones

At this touchpoint, students engage with questions that help them build connections between theory and practice, their career goals, and how they plan to extend their Pathway beyond Wooster.

Training (One Workshop)

  • Grant-writing workshop

Coursework (Four Courses)

Students will complete four courses that meet the following descriptions:

Legal & Political Perspectives (one course)

These courses are meant to give students an introduction to legal & political perspectives related to activism & social change movements. Courses that meet this requirement will highlight the relationship between law, policy, and justice, identify dynamics of contemporary politics and public policy, and/or examine legal & political foundations of inequalities.

  • PHIL 21000 – Jurisprudence: Law & Society
  • PHIL 21200 – Race, Gender, and Justice
  • PHIL 31200 – Political Philosophy*
  • PSCI 20715 – Immigration Politics and Policy
  • PSCI 20717 – Politics of Inequality
  • PSCI 20800 – Race and Ethnicity in American Politics
  • PSCI 21501 – Topics in Constitutional Law and Appellate Advocacy
  • PSCI 21800 – Political Psychology of Mass Behavior
  • PSCI 24300 – Human Rights PSCI 20721 – Latinx Politics
  • PSCI24600: Peace Studies
  • SOCI 20500 – Sociology of Law

*Course has pre-requisite or requires instructor permission to register

Forms of Communication & Expression (one course)

These courses provide opportunities for students in this pathway to strengthen their communicative and expressive skills and imagine how those skills are vital to activism & social change movements. Courses that meet this requirement will discuss the role of communication & expression in decision-making, persuasion & argumentation, collaboration, conflict resolution, or other forms of resistance.

  • COMM 15200 – Public Speaking
  • COMM 20007 – Communication & Conflict*
  • COMM 22500 – Small Group Communication*
  • COMM 25100 – Communication & Social Protest*
  • COMM 25200 – Argumentation & Persuasion*
  • COMM 25400 – Political Rhetoric*
  • COMM 25900 – Communicating Public Policy*
  • COMM 26000 – Environmental Communication*
  • ENGL 22011 – James Baldwin and Toni Morrison
  • ENGL 21014 – Religion in Black Film and Literature
  • ENGL 27001 – The Politics of Language
  • GMDS 30000 – Research Methods in GMDS
  • THTD 26000 – Latinx Drama
  • THTD 26100 – Feminism & Theatre
  • THTD 26200 – Latin American Theatre and Performance
  • THTD 30301 – Theatre for Social Change

*Course has pre-requisite or requires instructor permission to register

Histories of Movements & Community Building (two courses)

These courses offer introductions to histories of social change movements and strategies for community building. Approved courses for this requirement discuss understandings of the influences of civil & human rights leaders and movements, challenges to dominant cultural and/or intellectual paradigms, and the relationships between historical foundations of contemporary social issues and ongoing forms of resistance

  • AFST 10000 – Intro to Africana Studies
  • AFST 21300 – Racism 101
  • AFST 24100 – Black Women in Contemporary Society
  • AFST 24200 – Martin, Malcolm & Mandela
  • AFST 30100 – Africana Struggles for Freedom
  • ENGL 2300 – Introduction to African Literature: Energy and Environment
  • ENVS 12500 – Environment and Society
  • HIST 10198 – Race & the Law
  • HIST 11500 – History of Black America
  • HIST 20132 – From Black Power to Black Lives Matter*
  • HIST 20135 – The History of Pain
  • HIST 23000 – Prison Systems
  • HIST 23200 – Africa from Colonization to Globalization
  • HIST 27517 – From Civil Rights to Black Lives*
  • HIST 27518 – The Making of the Carceral State
  • PHIL 21600 – Environmental Ethics
  • PHIL 31003 – Marx’s Das Capital*
  • RELS 10000 – Religious Thought and Action
  • SOCI 20300 – Environmental Sociology*
  • SOCI 20900 – Inequality in America*
  • WGSS 20200 – History of Feminist Thought*
  • WGSS 20400 – Transnational Feminisms*

*Course has pre-requisite or requires instructor permission to register

Suggested Additional Courses, Programs, and Trainings Centered on Personal & Community Health

  • PHED 13301 – Yoga, Intro To, 1st Half (0.25 credits)
  • PHED 13302 – Yoga, Intro To, 2nd Half (0.25 credits)
  • RELS 26747 – Yoga: Then and Now (1 credits)
  • IDPT 19918 – Life by Design @ Woo (0.25 credits)
  • IDPT 40510 – Safe Zone (0.5 credits) RELS 26935 – Just Work (1 credit)