LA Area Road Trip: Whittier College, College of the Canyons, Los Angeles Harbor College

Students at College of the Canyons engaged in listening

This week I was in the LA area. My road trip started at Whittier College on the first day, and then the second day was split between College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA and Los Angeles Harbor College in LA.This was my second visit to Whittier College, a small liberal arts institution in Whittier, CA.  You can read by my visit here.

This was also my second visit to College of Canyons, where I was invited by Patty Robinson who heads the civic engagement efforts at the college.  Providing pathways for students to develop skills to engage in democratic processes and engagement has been a priority for the college.  Peacebuilding is very much part of that approach.  At the college I met with three groups.  First, I met with a communications studies class where we looked at styles of communication and how to improve listening strategies.  I urged the students to consider a “full” listening approach that focuses on observation and reflection.  I also met with a group of faculty and staff to consider how conflict resolution intervention strategies can be incorporated throughout the campus.  I think every educator could benefit from basic conflict resolution learning.  And finally, I met with a business ethics class where we looked at corporate social responsibility as well as the cost of unresolved to conflict to business.

Later in the afternoon I visited Los Angeles Harbor College. I met with a group of students as part of a career exploration session and shared about peace studies and peacebuilding and how skills attained through coursework and learning can apply in many fields.   I also met with faculty and administrators at the college to assist in their efforts at developing a peace studies efforts.  Here, I’ve been working with Elika Dadsetan, who directs the Harbor Advantage Program. She teaches peacebuilding courses in Iraq and has a graduate degree in the field from the University of San Diego.  I was impressed with the college’s appreciation of how a peace studies efforts could offer opportunities for their students.


Published by David J. Smith

I am a career coach, consultant, and head of a not for profit - the Forage Center - that offers humanitarian education training. I also teach at George Mason University and Drexel University. A one time lawyer, I spent many years teaching in a community college where I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar teaching in Estonia. I'm the author of Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016). I've been married to my best friend for over 31 years and we have two well adjusted adult children who teach me something new everyday. I live in Rockville, Maryland.

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