Academics

The Western Center for Social Impact and Innovation is open to students of all majors across Miami, though it is closely tied to the Western Program for Individualized Studies. The Western Program is dedicated to developing students as independent thinkers with the skills to address the complex challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Classes taught by Western Program faculty engage students in interdisciplinary thinking and form a foundation for individualized and integrated study that draws from the humanities, sciences, arts, social sciences, and professional programs.

Curriculum

Interdisciplinary Problems and Questions - WST 301 (3 credits)

This course's spring offerings will center on the Western Center's current theme. This course considers a complex topic from multiple perspectives. WST 301 identifies the distinct vantage points offered by different fields of inquiry, including philosophical, aesthetic, scientific and historical discourse, with an emphasis on achieving an integrative understanding of the topic. It is team-taught by two or more faculty members with different disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary expertise.

Environmental/Justice Films - IES/SJS/FST 127 (1-4 credits)

This course is designed to introduce Social Impact and Justice Scholars and Sustainability Scholars to a variety of environmental and social justice issues through cinema. The emphasis will be fictional feature films, not documentaries, but the feature films may be based on reality. Students will meet to watch films together and reflect on the messages they carry about environmental and social justice issues and how those messages are disseminated to the viewers. Students will explore the relationship between art and message.

Living Learning Community (LLC)

The WEST LLC is designed to put students in the driver's seat when it comes to their life at Miami. Hosted by the historic Western Program and new Western Center for Social Impact and Innovation, WEST will support its residents in identifying their individual assets and passions and applying them as strengths to whatever academic path they choose.

The paired course - WST251 - will aid WEST's students in developing their own approaches to learning that can create innovative and impactful change in themselves and the world. WEST students have access to the myriad of community programming in Peabody Hall, including national speakers and successful alumni who have dedicated their lives to social change.

This LLC is dedicated not only to helping its students through college, but also to preparing people for their lives after Miami. WEST is in historic Peabody Hall, which is surrounded by forest trails, ponds, and other beautiful natural spaces.