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Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies Program

551 Main Hall
Hannah Ashley, Coordinator
The purpose of this program is to equip future professionals to work in urban communities and with agencies and organizations that particularly focus on urban youth, including but not limited to schools, social service agencies, and youth and community development organizations. Through an experiential approach to learning and a philosophy of empowerment, the program will help WCU students to understand the complex context of American cities, the strengths and capabilities of families of diverse backgrounds, and the implications of public policy for large urban systems.
The minor will enable students who are preparing for urban careers to develop a deep understanding of the economic, social, cultural, and political context of urban social systems and community factors that affect youth. The youth empowerment and urban studies (YES) minor is in the liberal studies program and open to all students in every college.

Minor in Youth Empowerment
and Urban Studies (18 semester hours)

  1. Required courses (9 semester hours)
    YES 250, 300, and 301
  2. Focused electives (9 semester hours)
    Choose one course from each of the following three categories:
    1. Urban contexts and communities: ANT 347; ECO 350; GEO 204, 312; PSC 304; or SOC 342
    2. Youth and social systems: EDF 255, 300; HIS 444; HON 312*, 322*; SOC 345; SWO 423; or WRH 305
    3. Empowerment work in diverse communities: Any additional course, within any department, which integrates service learning/community-engaged learning/community-engaged research/field placement in urban settings or with diverse populations; courses should take critical and strength-based approaches to issues addressed. Courses and placements that qualify will be approved by the coordinator of the program by review of syllabi. (For advising in the youth empowerment and urban studies minor, contact Dr. Hannah Ashley.)
    *Open to Honors College students only.


Symbol: YES

250 Introduction to Youth and Urban Community Work: Urban Professional Workshop (3) This course addresses professional dispositions for working in the urban environment. Students gain an awareness of the strengths of communities, as well as the forms of oppression that youth may experience in the urban environment.

300 Youth Empowerment and the Urban Context (3) This course will immerse students in theories, historical contexts, and practices of leadership and democratic action through study, reflection, and a semester-long partnership with an elementary or middle grades classroom in an urban school. Takes place on WCU’s campus as well as in the city of Philadelphia.

301 Seminar in Youth-Led Media and Inquiry (3) Students will participate in a six-week intensive seminar on service learning/community-engaged learning and youth-led media as a particular strategy of community-engaged learning. Takes place on WCU’s campus as well as in the city of Philadelphia.