Labor and Leadership

Session: Fall
Type: Synchronous
Units: 3
Academic Year: 2019 - 2020
Approval Required: No

This residential-hybrid course will explore the interplay between spiritual leadership and labor. Rooted in multi-disciplinary course materials and praxis assignments, each session will be facilitated as a collective inquiry into the relevance of a labor framework for social movements, vocational discernment and organizational management. Over the semester, we will build foundation knowledge around the richness and variety of labor organizing in the United States and around the world, as well as the theological underpinnings of different labor perspectives. In addition to drawing inspiration from historic and contemporary labor struggles, the class will explore the limitations of and opportunities for the prevailing model of organizing, by centering groups of workers who have historically been excluded from labor analysis and mobilization. Together, we will engage and imgine inclusive, collaborative and holistic approaches to labor organizing and labor relations in and outside of traditionally organizing industries. Building on this wider frame, we will consider the relationship between labor and work to which one is called. Here we ask: How can a labor framework help to fortify personal boundaries and ensure sustainability in ministry and in justice work? We further explore the role of labor in congregational and organizational management, with particular attention to volunteer labor, the role of contracts and covenants, and how staffing, supervision and compensation practices reflect and further an organization’s values and counter-oppressive commitments. This course is appropriate for M.Div. and MASC students at any point in their program and will be graded on a credit/no credit basis unless otherwise requested. In addition to the SKSM criteria for assessing academic effort, ECO goals and participation, evaluation will be based on presence and preparation for class sessions, three short reflection papers, and a final project. This is a residential course that is open to students participating through distance technologies.

Labor and Leadership relates to SKSM thresholds 2 (Prophetic Witness and Work), 4 (Histories of Dissenting Traditions and Thea/logical Quest) and 7 (Educating for Wholeness and Liberation), as well as MFC competencies 4 (Social Justice in the Public Square) and 5 (Administration).

[20 max enrollment]

Instructor: Meg  McGuire