Hot-off-the-presses is not usually a part of lesson plans in university classrooms - unless it is. History, political science, economics... social sciences and humanities classtime can easily and sometimes should be convulsed in topical isses. Faculty at institutions in the immediate area don't have the luxury of remove and often need to incorporate the events for multiple reasons. The Chronicle of Higher Education shares some lessons plans from faculty in the St. Louis area and how they plan to address sensitive issues of race and policing that were ignitied on Aug. 9. Could be instructive:
We’ll also be talking about community policing as it relates to Ferguson. This became a buzzword in the 1990s as a way to build better relationships with the community. I want to look at a broader model of community policing that goes beyond neighborhood meetings and foot patrols. We’ll examine cities, like Cincinnati, that have collaborative agreements in which citizens have a voice in the hiring process and in the promotion and selection of the chief. We’ll also consider whether a more-diverse force might have been able to quell some of the unrest in Ferguson or build a better understanding and communication with the community.
We need to have a mix of people in law enforcement, and I hope more students of diverse backgrounds will see this as a career path.
There’s a lot we can learn from this situation about de-escalating tensions and the legal justifications for using force. Would people feel more confident if citizens could review use-of-force cases? When you have problems in the neighborhood, do you go to the community and say, "These are the strategies we have in our toolbox. What do you think we should do?" That way, when an incident happens, the response is something the community has agreed is appropriate.
Read the whole thing. In many ways, these discussions and expansions of the curriculum to broaden our understanding of contemporary events are what leading a classroom is all about.