Bystander Initiative | Courses for Students
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Courses for Students

Courses for Students

 

At the University of Windsor, sexual assault prevention and the preparation of Bringing in the Bystander® workshop leaders are integrated into the undergraduate curriculum. All workshop leaders must take the two BI courses – Practical Strategies for Social Change and Practicum in Social Change – which provide the knowledge and skills needed to successfully facilitate BITB® workshops. Half of the seats in both courses are reserved for men. All students are welcome to apply.

 

Embedding sexual assault prevention education into the curriculum is novel in Canada. Preparing workshop leaders in this way ensures high quality, consistent delivery of BITB®, and creates a nucleus of student leaders who energize others. It places these prevention workshops into a richer social and political context, and it also demonstrates the University’s long-term commitment to improving campus safety.

Practical Strategies for Social Change:  Intervening to prevent sexual assault

 

Students learn:

  • sexual assault– what it is, where and why it happens, and the power dynamics that underpin coercive behaviour and violence.
  • social psychology of bystander behaviour – why people often don’t help in emergency situations, and how this reluctance can be overcome
  • linking theories and methods of personal change to broader social change
  • impact of sexual assault and attempted sexual assault on victims-survivors, and how to appropriately support friends in crisis

 

This course opens space for dialogue between students with different levels of experience and knowledge on the topic. Individually and collectively, students deconstruct rape myths and trace how these ideas have become embedded in popular culture, social institutions, and their own thinking. In other words, the course sheds light on how a whole society learns to tolerate sexual violence, and explores what “unlearning” might look like.

 

The course draws on the most recent research on sexual violence from a range of fields, including sociology, psychology, law, history, statistics, masculinity studies and gender studies. Students explore different approaches to fighting violence on campus and across the community and develop projects that engage ordinary people in this work.

 

Half of the students in course 1 go on to course 2 where they deepen their knowledge of sexual assault prevention, learn to deliver the BITB® workshop, and lead workshops for other undergraduates.

Practicum in Social Change

 

Students intensify their knowledge of sexual assault prevention, learn BITB® materials, and practice how to respond thoughtfully to questions or challenges from workshop participants. After mid-term, they facilitate workshops for others.

 

Working with their co-facilitator, students:

  • Dissect, reconstruct, and learn the BITB® workshop materials
  • Rehearse their delivery privately and in front of classmates
  • Respond to questions and challenges from classmates
  • Receive feedback and coaching from their peers, teaching assistants, and the course instructor

 

This intensive senior practicum pushes students outside their comfort zone. While a deep knowledge of BITB® is vital to success, the course also develops personal responsibility, teamwork, empathetic listening and responding, and other important communication skills.

 

Students in the practicum address the fear of taking a public stand on a controversial issue, and learn to offer constructive critique to classmates and to receive it from others. Working through differences in world view and facilitation style, students develop the capacity to spark and mediate a wide range of discussions in a workshop setting.

 

One of the most rewarding aspects of this course is the opportunity to work on a common social issue with people from a broad range of backgrounds, life experience and fields of study. This practicum creates and fosters an informed, caring community dynamic that facilitators then learn to reproduce in workshop settings.