OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Honors College students embark on odyssey

05/27/1999

CORVALLIS - While other students are starting jobs and planning vacations, a group of honors students from Oregon State University are spending their first week of summer vacation learning about globalization and its impact on Oregon communities.

The students from OSU's University Honors College will visit various sites in Newport, Independence, Corvallis and Sweet Home from June 13-18 as part of a special six-day course, "One World, Ready or Not: Oregon and the Global Society."

Using an "action research" method, this course will examine the effects of globalization on the farming, timber, fishing and high tech industries.

"The course embodies a non-traditional approach to learning that blurs the boundaries between teacher, student, community and researcher," said Dwaine Plaza, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology. Stakeholders with vested interests in globalization will be invited to tell their stories to students who will then have the opportunity to collectively reflect upon the information.

After an overnight retreat at Silver Falls State Park on June 13, the students will begin their odyssey by interviewing farmers, workers, fishing families, business leaders and government officials. They will also have the opportunity to tour a variety of locations, including Stahlbush Island Farms, Hewlett Packard, and Rogue Wave Software Company.

"A primary purpose of the course is to engage the students in 'action learning' where they address issues about which they know little, and learn to listen to all sides," said Kathleen Stanley, an instructor in the sociology department.

Sriyanthi Gunewardena, master's candidate in women's studies and course facilitator, said the course is "a great opportunity for students to learn that education does not only take place in classrooms.

"By learning to set aside our preconceptions and listening carefully we can learn to recognize the diversity of voices and perspectives on contemporary social issues," Gunewardena said.

During the final day of the course the students will host a luncheon and make a presentation to the stakeholders and invited guests about what they have learned about globalization and its effects on various communities in Oregon.