BERKELEY, Calif., April 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Western Institute for Social Research (WISR.edu) 40th anniversary celebration weekend takes place on Friday evening, May 1st and Saturday, May 2nd at its Berkeley, California urban learning site.
WISR is one of the very few alternative, multicultural and social change-oriented institutions of higher learning that has prospered during the past 40 years of intense cultural change.WISR's Board, faculty, staff and alumni have grown WISR into a unique multi-ethnic academic institution for people concerned with community improvement, social change and educational innovation. WISR's individualized degree programs for students and working employ teaching-learning methods that are tailored for each student, while keeping WISR's integral basic philosophy, values and sense of purpose intact.
WISR faculty member, noted civil rights activist, minister and advocate for affordable housing Richard Lawrence will reflect on the 50th anniversary of the Selma March, and on his WISR experience as part of the celebration. Richard Lawrence has contributed leadership to dozens of community organizations and was recently named a Civic Ventures Purpose Prize Fellow. He was active in the civil rights movement and participated in the Selma to Montgomery March fifty years ago.
Attendees at the celebration will also get a briefing on plans for the future, and hear stories from WISR's four decades of student accomplishments.
WISR's cofounder and President, Dr. John Bilorusky, says that "Over the past 40 years, WISR alumni have created a special culture and institutional foundation that welcomes committed people. WISR is a model of creative community involvement and civic engagement, and a supportive, inquiring environment for those seeking meaningful learning and ways to build a sustainable and more economically just world."
The Inaugural issue of the Journal of the Western Institute for Social Research ( www.wisr.edu ), will be on display, celebrating the 40 years of learning since the founding of this extraordinary academic institute for social change. The journal shares writings of its students, alumni and faculty, as they pursue their own interests and paths through the community-involved, action-inquiry that has been a distinctive quality of WISR since its founding.
The theme of the first issue of WISR's new journal is "Multiculturalism." The in depth articles reflect the insights, knowledge and real world accomplishments of alumni, as they follow their commitments. Included in the journal are articles on such topics as multicultural therapy, ethnographies of learning, Chinese learners working in groups, the role of language in multicultural relationships, the role of language in indigenous education among the Omaha people, and action-research methods to pursue culturally inclusive historical analyses.
During the 40th celebration, a commemorative history panel will highlight WISR's activities through the years on Saturday, May 2nd 2015. At noon, Lawrence, will talk about his wide-ranging experiences. WISR's cofounder and President, Dr. John Bilorusky will share a timeline on the origins and history of WISR and many of the personalities who helped take the concept of personalized education from an idea to where WISR is today.
During the weekend, historical photos of WISR and evocative artifacts will be on display in the lobby.
About: WISR has students throughout the world. WISR was founded to improve on both conventional and alternative higher education in the 1970s. At that time many educators and students were debating the merits of the university's role in the community and in social change, the "relevance" of the curriculum, and the values served by higher education.
WISR countered the absence of personalized education, multiculturalism and social change. It challenged the limitations of alternative education programs, which seemed preoccupied with simply "looking different" from the conventional. Since then, many conventional institutions have adopted reforms to incorporate some of the 60s (e.g., field studies programs, women's studies, ethnic studies).
Most alternative institutions of the sixties and seventies have failed to survive.
For more information about WISR degree programs and to learn more about the 40th Year Anniversary go to www.WISR.edu
Media can contact WISR President, Dr. John Bilorusky at 510-655-2830 or via email.
SOURCE Western Institute for Social Research