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Bannan Forum Grants

The Bannan Forum awards grants for research, teaching, and university initiatives that engage issues of contemporary significance within the Catholic intellectual tradition and extend the Jesuit, Catholic vocation of SCU as a transformative social force.


Mission Integration Grants

Square Art Holding on Together

The Ignatian Center's Bannan Forum will award up to six grants (up to $5,000 each) to faculty and staff to support deeper integration of the mission and tradition of Santa Clara University into their teaching, research, or programs. In addition, the grants seek to promote and make accessible the comprehensive humanism of the Jesuit intellectual heritage, bringing it to bear on contemporary global realities, and to encourage intellectual discourse among faculty, staff, and students. 

Projects can take various forms, such as curriculum and course development; research and writing; and mission-based programming and initiatives targeted at students, faculty, staff, and/or the wider community.  Proposals that are interdisciplinary or draw members from more than one unit on campus are particularly encouraged.


Design & Dialog Grants

Explore 2020 Cover Art Square

The Ignatian Center's Bannan Forum 
will award up to six grants (from $2000-$5000) to support the development and/or early stages of collaborative projects. Dialog and Design grants are intended as “seed” funding.

Groups of faculty and/or staff will identify themes for new scholarship inspired by Jesuit mission and tradition linked to current faculty and/or staff interests and competencies.

Ideally themes will spark mutual interest among several faculty and/or staff and have a larger scope than individual scholarly projects.  

Funding might support activities such as:

  • Regular lunch or dinner meetings over a quarter (when such meetings become possible)
  • Dialog and Design project conferences or off-campus retreats (when such meetings become possible)
  • Bringing in resource faculty or staff from other universities to support discussion and planning
  • A regular series of “working paper” colloquium with discussion and group commentary
  • Funding for books or other media pertinent to the common effort
  • other collaborative efforts by the Design and Dialog group

Funding of Dialog and Design grants looks to specific outcomes, such as:

  • Papers that develop preliminary conceptualizations of the common theme
  • Formal proposals that can elicit support from traditional funding channels
  • Proposals for curriculum innovation
  • Proposals for a conference or other significant public forums to be held at SCU


Eligibility: Full-time faculty (of all ranks) and full-time staff are eligible to apply. The Bannan Forum encourages interdisciplinary projects and/or projects that involve faculty and/or staff from more than one department or from more than one area within a department, and integrate students as collaborative contributors. Priority will be given when possible to proposals from applicants who have not previously received Bannan Forum Grant funds. Bannan Forum Grants will not be awarded to fund repeat projects. Proposals must be signed by the primary applicant(s) and by the related department chair(s)/supervisor(s). 

Project Duration: Bannan Forum Grants must be conducted within eighteen months from the date of the award. Unused funds will be returned to the Ignatian Center at the end of 18 months. When a decision to award a grant has been made, the Director of the Bannan Forum, Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education will notify each grant recipient and schedule a meeting to review the related grant parameters and expectations. The Director of the Bannan Forum will serve as a point of contact for the grant recipient during the duration of the project. 

Review Procedures: Proposals will be evaluated by an evaluation committee chaired by the Director of the Bannan Forum. Occasionally, proposals may be distributed to additional expert reviewers selected by Ignatian Center staff who may advise the committee. The committee's recommendations will be reviewed by the Executive Director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education for final funding decisions. Reviewers consider the following criteria, among others, when evaluating proposals:

  • Does the proposal meet the submission criteria as laid out in this Call for Proposals?
  • What is the significance of the proposed project to the work of the Forum?
  • Does this proposal specify impact to the campus community and/or larger community?
  • Is the project clearly described, well defined, and able to be successfully completed within the grant timeline?
  • Is the proposed methodology appropriate? Are sufficient resources and expertise available?
  • Does the proposal demonstrate a sufficient review of relevant literature/sources?
  • Is there departmental/institutional commitment to support the project?

Grants will fund work on topics that engage with the Jesuit, Catholic mission of SCU and the primary themes of the Bannan Forum:

  • The Jesuit, Catholic intellectual and aesthetic tradition, connecting scholarship and teaching to the historical and global currents of spirituality, creativity, and intellectual discovery
  • The Jesuit university as a source of reconciliation and justice, exploring the role of transformative education and faith in contemporary public life and culture
  • The characteristics of Jesuit education, expanding the application of Ignatian educational principles to support transformative ideas and practices
  • The Universal Apostolic Preferences,  activating the comprehensive Jesuit mission on campus. 

These categories are not meant to restrict proposals only to religious themes.  The Ignatian mission and tradition embraces a wide range of humanistic, artistic, scientific, and technical activities that help individuals, society, and our common home to flourish.      

Funding of Dialog & Design Grants might support activities such as:

  • Regular lunch or dinner meetings over a quarter (when such meetings become possible)
  • Dialog and Design project conferences or off-campus retreats (when such meetings become possible)
  • Bringing in resource faculty or staff from other universities to support discussion and planning
  • A regular series of “working paper” colloquium with discussion and group commentary
  • Funding for books or other media pertinent to the common effort
  • other collaborative efforts by the Design and Dialog group

Funding of Dialog and Design grants looks to specific outcomes, such as:

  • Papers that develop preliminary conceptualizations of the common theme
  • Formal proposals that can elicit support from traditional funding channels
  • Proposals for curriculum innovation
  • Proposals for a conference or other significant public forums to be held at SCU

To apply, submit the following items as a single PDF:

1. A proposal that:

  • Describes the nature, scope, and method of the proposed research/course/project.
  • Explains why the research/course/project is innovative through reference to related research/courses/projects.
  • Discusses the significance of the research/course/project to the work of the Bannan Forum; the work of the Ignatian Center; the mission, vision, and values of Santa Clara University; and the broader community.
  • Identifies methods that will be used to measure the success of the project.
  • Suggests future work based on the anticipated results of the project.
  • Outlines dissemination plans (research) or scope of audience and impact (course/project).
  • Notes the role and contribution of all applicants.

2. A Detailed budget that clearly identifies the purpose of the funds requested and identifies institutional cost sharing.

3. Additional supporting materials such as curricula vitae of project faculty or staff, relevant bibliography, and/or project schedule.

As a condition of the grant, awardees must furnish the Ignatian Center with updates 6 and 12 months after funds are made available and a final project report one quarter after the completion date indicated on the proposal cover page. The final project report may be made available on the Ignatian Center website.

If a paper related to a Bannan Forum Grant is accepted for publication in a journal, a cover letter briefly explaining the research outcomes and a pre-print of the published paper, or a link to the network-accessible journal, must be submitted to the Ignatian Center for inclusion on the website. Researchers must include, or cause to be included, recognition of the Bannan Forum Grant, Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education in all publications of research results from a Bannan Forum Grant-funded project.

A Seat at the Table | Conversations on Clare of Assisi | 2009-2010 Bannan Grant Report | Jean Molesky-Poz
Nou se Ayiti: We Are Haiti | The Strength of a Community Voice to Overcome Human Rights Abuses | 2010-2011 Bannan Grant Report | Caitlin E. Robinett
Toward a More Equitable Distribution of Resources Within Our World | 2008-2009 Bannan Grant Report | Alexander Boll, Nicole I. Nasrah, Jacqueline Peterson, Marta Robinson, & Wren
What Good is God for Grief and Loss? | 2012-2013 Bannan Grant Report | David B. Feldman & Robert A. Gressis
Go and Do Likewise | 2014-2015 Spohn Grant Report | Christopher Wemp '12
Water for Life | A Journey to Nicaragua Exploring Sustainable Development | 2007-2008 Bannan Grant Report | Ed Maurer
Interfaith Cooperation on Environmental Issues | Muslim Southeast Asian Contributions to a Global Ethic | 2006-2007 Banna Grant Report | David Pinault
Shakespeare at San Quentin | Santa Clara Studnts Perform Shakespeare For and With Inmates | 2005-2006 Bannan Grant Report | Aldo Billingslea

Mission Integration Grants

Augmented Reality SCU Native History Walking Tour

  • Amy Lueck  |  Associate Professor, Department of English
  • Lee Panich  |  Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

The project is an Augmented Reality (AR) version of our popular SCU Native History Tour. The SCU Native History Tour was developed in collaboration with members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and the Ohlone Indian Tribe in order to reveal the deep Ohlone history of our campus for public audiences. The grant will support efforts to convert the Ohlone-produced material to be an accessible AR interface in order to deepen the community’s engagement with Ohlone history as a critical aspect of the social justice work that is a central part of our Jesuit mission.

Identity & Belonging: MENA Experiences at SCU

  • Allia Griffin  |  Lecturer, Ethnic Studies
  • Andrew Ishak  |  Lecturer, Department of Communication 

The grant will support a research and community building project centered on supporting Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) students, staff, and faculty at Santa Clara University. The grant funds efforts to better understand how MENA people on campus self-identify and what this means in terms of their experiences. In addition, funds will be used to forge spaces of belonging through regular gatherings for MENA students, staff, and faculty offered throughout the year.

The Benefits of the Examen for Psychological Health and Well Being

  • Tom Plante  |  Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. University Professor, Department of Psychology
  • David Feldman  |  J. Thomas and Kathleen L. McCarthy Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology
  • Anthony Cortese  |  Program Director for Ignatian Spirituality, Ignatian Center

The grant will be used to conduct a pilot study to determine if practicing the Examen for several weeks might improve psychological functioning and well-being among SCU students. The Examen is an end of the day prayer and reflection from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus. It is a brief five-point prayerful method to review the day and to reflect upon and learn from it as one anticipates the next day. The study will use rigorous evidence-based scientific research and state-of-the-art randomized clinical trial methodology to empirically determine the potential benefits of this important daily contemplative strategy.

Transcendentality: A Student Publication using Artwork to Display Ignatian Spirituality

  • Sally Vance-Trembath  |  Senior Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies
  • Rhiannon Briggs  |  Class of 2024

This grant will fund a curated publication of Santa Clara University students’ original artistic works exploring five transcendental experiences/activities: loving, knowing, hoping, creating beauty, and striving for excellence. The project will celebrate Ignatian spirituality through a mission-based arts initiative exploring those activities where God’s presence is intensely experienced. 

Addressing Perinatal Mental Health Needs within the Latinx community in Silicon Valley

  • Veronica Miranda  |  Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
  • Alice Villatoro  |  Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health

This grant will fund a project that focuses on barriers to postpartum mental health care for Latinx communities in Santa Clara County. This research aims to provide a new human-centered ethnography that utilizes a public health lens to understand how Latinx birth givers navigate their postpartum lives, including identifying resources and support systems to address their mental health concerns.

Aligning Advanced Writing & Social Justice Curriculum Across Engineering & English 

  • Maura Tarnoff  |  Lecturer, Department of English
  • Loring Pfeiffer  |  Lecturer, Department of English
  • Jackie Hendricks  |  Lecturer, Department of English
  • Maria Judnick  |  Lecturer, Department of English
  • Theresa Conefrey  |  Senior Lecturer, Department of English
  • Andrew Carlos  |  Head of Research, Outreach, & Inclusion, University Library
  • Jes Kuczenski  |  Senior Lecturer, Director of General Engineering, School of Engineering
  • Ricardo Padilla  |  Programs Director for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in STEM, School of Engineering

This grant proposal brings together faculty and staff members in English, Engineering, and the library to unify expectations and practices for this course across the School of Engineering and the College of Arts & Sciences. The grant recipients will work collaboratively to develop the Engineering writing and communications curriculum to include new and expanded content focusing on the ethical and social justice dimensions of engineering design and communication so as to help students bring their own projects in line with the University’s mission and values.

Reducing Disinformation Propagation: Examining Emotion and Reputation of Engagers, Disputers, and Witnesses of Cyberbullying

  • Hooria Jazaieri  |  Assistant Professor, Department of Management
  • Yuhong Liu  |  Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering


This grant will fund research to approach cyberbullying from a multimethod and interdisciplinary perspective, with a specific focus on the impact of emotion and reputation on ethical decision-making and disinformation engagement of individual users (i.e., Active Engagers and Active Disputers) and converting Passive Witnesses of disinformation to become Active Disputers of disinformation. The research will help to facilitate intervention efforts aimed at increasing people’s ethical decision-making around engagement in disinformation facilitated cyberbullying.

tUrn Climate Action: Our Spiritual Responsibility to the Future

  • Kristin Kusanovich  |  Senior Lecturer, Department of Theatre/Dance & Child Studies

This grant will support the creation of a public presentation and written content on the Jesuit intellectual heritage that places tUrn in relation to the mission of Santa Clara University, the four Apostolic preferences, the three pillars of the Sustainability Strategic Plan and the newly formulated Laudato Si’ Action Platform. The grant will be used to convene faculty, staff, and students to develop materials for the presentation and written content related to the question of our spiritual responsibility to the future.

Design and Dialog Grants

Reuse, Repurpose, ReStore: Exploring Ways to Counter the Rising Costs of College

  • Cara Uy-Segal  |  Sustainability Manager for the Center for Sustainability
  • Ali Reimer  |  Director of Marketing and Communication for the College of Arts and Sciences and Staff Associate for the Center for Sustainability

This grant will fund a project to explore the lack of access to resources to meet fundamental needs (especially among students), document systemic inequities on our campus, and develop a proposal for an all-encompassing campus reuse store for students, faculty, and staff. This project will research and develop a solution that will also empower our academic community to flourish and contribute to a hope-filled future where students are less worried about meeting physical, fundamental needs.

Unhoused Initiative at SCU

  • Jamie Suki Chang  |  Assistant Professor of Public Health
  • Michelle Oberman  |  Katharine and George Alexander Professor of Law
  • Philip Boo Riley  |  Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Religious Studies
  • Sarita Tamayo-Moraga  |  Senior Lecturer of Religious Studies

This grant will be used to strengthen and formalize the Unhoused Initiative at SCU. It will support work towards a more comprehensive, established structure and a longer-term vision in order to maximize the potential of commonalities and collaborations in the courses the participating faculty teach, their research, and the community partners they collaborate with. work. Toward this goal, the overarching objective of this “proof of concept” grant is to begin building the foundations for the Unhoused Initiative at SCU: to determine the feasibility of this interdisciplinary, community-partnered group, and the scope and range of our mission.

Mission Integration Grants

Building an Evidence-Based Anti-Racist Discussion Toolkit for Santa Clara University 

  • Naomi Levy  |  Associate Professor, Political Science
  • Natalie Linnell  |  Lecturer, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Laura Nichols  |  Associate Professor, Sociology
  • Katia Moles  |  Academic Year Adjunct Lecturer, Religious Studies
  • Christelle Sabatier  |  Senior Lecturer, Biology

This grant will support efforts to to create a toolkit of anti-racist practices, which will contain transferable resources available to individuals and departments across SCU. The toolkit will outline examples of different approaches to starting conversations within a unit and guidance on how to progress from various starting points to more meaningful work. The project will be based in the Racial Justice Coalition and use the RJC network to disseminate the toolkit across campus units.

Building with a Conscience? New Housing Initiatives and Justice in the Silicon Valley

  • Sreela Sarkar  |  Associate Professor, Communication

This grant will fund research on the housing crisis in Silicon Valley that asks “three inter-related questions: 1) How are Big Tech and the state addressing this crisis through their policies and actions? 2) What are the racialized and class-based complexities of housing access especially in the context of new policy actions? 3) How are housing activists and social movements positioning themselves as effective actors for social change vis-à-vis institutions like the state and corporations?” While challenging neoliberal and technocratic policies, the project will highlight the experiences of marginalized residents.  The project will also include collaborative work with academics, policy makers, and activists through events at Santa Clara University. 

Devotions of Bondage: English Jesuits and American Slavery

  • Andrew Keener  |  Assistant Professor, English

This grant will fund research on the ways professors, staff, and students at the world’s first English Jesuit colleges positioned themselves rhetorically in relation to the wider world and its developing problems of slavery, colonialism, and capitalism.  The project will examine the foundations of Jesuit humanism and its earliest Anglophone circumstances to understand the problems of white supremacy and racism embedded within today’s American Jesuit colleges.

Integrating Ohlone Voices into the Santa Clara University Archives: A Summer Speaker Series

  • Kelci Baughman McDowell  |  Research & Instruction Services Coordinator, University Library, Archives & Special Collections
  • Erin Louthen  |  University Archivist, University Library

This grant will support the implementation, hosting, and digital preservation of three programmatic events as part of a Santa Clara University Library Archives & Special Collections department program entitled, Integrating Ohlone Voices into the Santa Clara University Archives: A Summer Speaker Series.  The project will provide a venue to host events that incorporate indigenous representation into the intellectual life of Santa Clara University. The series will address the silences, erasure and elision of Native American lives and voices in the archives, including the Santa Clara Mission Manuscript Collection.

Radical Healing: A Student Activist Participatory Action Research (PAR) Zine Project for Sociopolitical Wellbeing

  • Jesica S. Fernández  |  Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies
  • Sharmila Lodhia  |  Associate Professor and Department Chair, Women's & Gender Studies

This grant will support The Radical Healing Zine Project, a participatory action research (PAR) collaborative project that aims to center the voices and experiences of student activists. Through the use of photovoice (e.g., photographs and stories/narratives), testimonios and critical reflexivity journaling, the project will document how student activists experience healing and wellbeing, and thus develop practices for self and collective community relational care. The project will document, dialogue and disseminate practices of and for radical healing that can sustain student activists, particularly in relation to racial justice work.

Undergraduate Studies Antiracism Reading Group

  • Katharine Heintz  |  Associate Provost, Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer, Communication Department 

This grant will support the Undergraduate Studies team’s effort to realize the mission of SCU to become an anti-racist institution through the development of mission-based programming and initiatives targeted at students, faculty, staff, and/or the wider community. This will include revision and development of anti-racist curricular and co-curricular programs to serve undergraduate students and the faculty and staff who support them.

Design and Dialog Grants

Engaged Learning: Cura Personalis in the Classroom

  • Allia Griffin  |  Lecturer, Ethnic Studies
  • Amy Lueck  |  Assistant Professor, English

This grant will support a video and blog series, Engaged Learning: Cura Personalis in the Classroom. The series will act as a digital archive that seeks to highlight ways that faculty, staff, students and alumni are maintaining or forging community. The theme for the series this year will be “Cura Personalis in the Time of COVID.” The project leads intend to create a sustainable digital archive that can simultaneously document the many projects occurring on campus as well as be a gathering space for members of the community looking for resources, inspiration, innovation, and ways to remain connected.

Global Migration and Refugee Studies Program

  • Enrique Pumar  |  Fay Boyle Professor and Department Chair, Sociology

This grant will support the establishment of the Global Migration and Refugee Studies Program (GMRSP) at Santa Clara University. This program intends to provide a home for all the faculty, students, and staff of the university who are interested in migration and refugee movements around the world. The program plans to follow a comparative historical approach to investigate and study why people migrate, how they move, what trajectory they follow and why, and what are the consequences of migration movements for all of us. The funding requested will be used as seed money to create and institutionalize the program.

Mapping Inequality and Justice Interventions in Googleville

  • Jaime Wright  |  Academic Year Adjunct Lecturer, Religious Studies
  • Elizabeth Drescher  |  Adjunct Associate Professor, Religious Studies
  • Edrick Servando Bondoc  |  Program Director, Arrupe Engagement, Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education

This grant will support the development of a community-based learning course sequence that brings together faculty, Arrupe staff, students, and community leaders to explore, analyze, and document the impact of the proposed Google Transit Village (“Googleville”) development on spatially structured experiences of inequality and justice in impacted neighborhoods of Silicon Valley. The project will build upon the existing Engaged Learning for Social Justice (ELSJ) framework and seeks to address the systemic inequalities in Silicon Valley through longer-term research and analytical techniques that are data-generating and data-driven.

Mission Integration Grants

Kasia and the Months, a Musical for the Stage 

  • Tim Myers I Senior Lecturer, English Department
  • Dr. Nancy Wait-Kromm I Associate Professor, Music Department

This grant will fund a collaborative and interdisciplinary teaching project and will be used to finish the musical Kasia and the Months. The project will offer insight into and support for strong, healthy family relationships, the kind of reverence for nature that underpins sustainability, and to assert—in audience-friendly ways—some fundamental ethical ideas. The project is based in Jesuit, Catholic understanding of art as a space for emotional, moral, and intellectual learning and transformation.  

Retreat as Resistance: Researching the Effects of Vocation Discernment on Student Mental Health

  • Dylan Houle, Executive Director, Career Center
  • Vania Tong, Assistant Director, Career Development Specialist, STEM + Innovation, Career Center
  • Victor Lemus I Campus Minister for Social Justice, Campus Ministry
  • Bich Nguyen-Hamilton I Training Director and Staff Clinician, CAPS 

This grant will fund an overnight vocation discernment retreat for SCU students. The retreat will provide time for students to intentionally engage in self-reflection, self-exploration and career-exploration under the careful guidance of Career Center and Campus Ministry staff.  In addition, the three campus departments will collaboratively investigate the potential impact of an ongoing discernment retreat on student mental health, particularly those struggling with anxiety over their future, and help understand the efficacy of Jesuit-style vocation retreats on student mental health.

Developing Global and Intercultural Communication Badges at SCU

  • Benjamin Hall I Business and Data Services Librarian
  • Christopher Hanso I Assistant Director of Study Abroad
  • Melissa Heid I Director of International Students and Scholars

This grant will support the development of an asynchronous micro-learning credential based on the values of intercultural competency (e.g. curiosity, humility, awareness, etc.). Curriculum development will involve expanding future study abroad pre-departure orientations to include a required digital badge called “Global and Intercultural Communication” (GIC). For this digital badge or micro-credential, students will learn how competencies and attitudes such as empathy, critical thinking, listening for understanding, and examining cultural contexts can help strengthen their intercultural awareness.  Using cultural dimensions research and global examples, this digital badge will foster students’ self-awareness (e.g. blind spots, biases, social identities) and cultural sensitivity.

The Breaking Bread Project: Unhouse Initiative

  • Marlene Bennett I Project Director, Unhoused Initiative
  • Jamie Chang I Assistant Professor, Dept. of Public Health
  • David Decosse I Director of Religious & Catholic Ethics. Dr. Decosse
  • Michelle Oberman I Katherine & George Alexander Professor of Law
  • Boo Riley I Professor of Religious Studies
  • Sarita Tamayo-Moraga I Senior Lecturer in the Dept of Religious Studies

This grant will be used to support the UI’s vision to engage departments, staff, students, faculty and administrators in the University’s intersection with and impact on our unhoused neighbors. This project aims to become a campus-wide resource by fostering connections, conversations and collaborations between the various individuals and organizations working on issues related to the unhoused in and around our community. This funding will support a series of “Breaking Bread” luncheons where local leaders whose work involves engaging with homelessness from a variety of perspectives sit together to discuss their current strategies, projects, goals and philosophies.The goal of the luncheons is to foster deeper mutual understanding amongst those whose work is engaged with people experiencing homelessness in Santa Clara County.

Ignatian-Inspired Pedagogies of Possibility: Transformational Team-Based Methods to Build Community, Collaboration, and Inspire Social Change

  • Katia Moles I Academic Year Adjunct Lecturer, Religious Studies

This grant will fund a project that focuses on supporting SCU students to engage in vocational discernment via team-based pedagogies with application in the social sciences, humanities, and engineering. Based on the Ignatian tradition that emphasize whole-person education, experiential practice, reflection, and service to the common good, the team-based pedagogies encourage students to self-reflection and identify as change makers, problem-solvers, collaborators, and to solidify their commitment to their “search for meaning” and “the greater good” as a form of vocation.  Moreover, team-based pedagogies deepen self-knowledge, and the integration of student’s social justice beliefs into their personal and professional lives through vocational discernment as a lifelong ethical practice.

The Bible and Migration

  • Roberto Mata  I Assistant Professor, Religious Studies

This project will be used to launch a course that equips students with a constructive scriptural, theological, ethical and pastoral response to the migrant crisis at home and abroad. Students will explore the intersection of Catholic Social Teaching with various theological, ethical and political approaches to migration; problematize Eurocentric theories and methods to discuss global migration; and be given opportunities to stand in solidarity with migrant communities and allow their voices to be heard.  This course will include documentary films, visits to deportation centers, visits to migrant labor camps in the Central Valley, collaboration with immigrant advocacy groups, case studies, and guest speakers.