Program Features & Curriculum

One aim of the Bridge Program is to remove some of the barriers that commonly prevent low-income adults from accessing higher education. As part of this, the program offers each student:

  • A supportive community
  • Tutors on site to assist with reading and writing assignments
  • Textbooks and school supplies
  • Access to computers
  • Refreshments on the nights of class
  • Bus tokens to get to and from class

Throughout the three academic quarters of the program, students study philosophy, literature, art history writing, and urban studies. Each quarter, students are enrolled in two 2-unit classes, with the option to add a 1-unit course in urban studies. In the philosophy class, students study various philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Sartre, de Beauvior, Kant, Anzaldua, Frankl, and Malcolm X. Together, the class considers the core questions of philosophy and considers both traditional answers as well as significant challenges to these answers from those whose voices have traditionally been excluded from the conversation.

Students undertake similar kinds of study in the field of literature and in the study of art history as a means of developing the ability to “read” the visual world. In the writing courses, students begin by claiming their voices and sharing their stories on the page. As the program moves forward, students begin to weave together the texts of others with their own experiences and with outside learning to create a final project that adds their voice to the conversation of the humanities. Courses offered through the field study option in Bridge are designed to encourage students to consider the ways that they might think about spaces and communities, as well as the roles and responsibilities inherent in community engagement.

Below is a description of each course offered in the Bridge Program:

ENG 110: The Art of the Personal Narrative

This is a class about writing your story (personal narrative). In class, we’ll focus on creative expression and writing about your world. Through this work, you will learn to use the writing process to draft, write, develop, expand, and edit several pieces of personal narrative writing. You’ll also learn to identify and apply strategies of language revision, using poetic devices and developing good habits with punctuation and grammar.

ENG 111: Writing & Responding: Creating a Critical Dialogue

Last quarter, you wrote your stories. We focused on expression –  writing your world, as well as using the process of writing. This quarter, we will build on these ideas. You’ll be writing your responses, as you explore the space where you encounter the ideas and experiences of others. You will write the intersection between your experiences, your thoughts, and your opinions – and your understanding and best listening of someone else’s thoughts.

ENG 112: Writing Critical Analysis

Last quarter, we researched a topic together as a class, and you wrote your ideas about this research – as well as your own personal stories on the subject. This quarter, we will continue to assemble papers this way, building on the ideas that you wrote about in the first and second quarter. Rather than having a topic chosen for you, you will choose a topic from subjects we’ve studied in the Bridge Program so far. You will also learn to include your own research, look at research critically, and bring together ideas from outside sources.

HUM 110: Philosophy: Good Questions for Life

Philosophy at its most simple form is the love of wisdom. And the love of wisdom, best practiced, is not a matter of finding correct answers, but of learning to ask good questions and engage in a conversation about possible answers. Broadly speaking, the central questions of philosophy have to do with who we are, how we should live, and how we know. In philosophy we would call these questions about ontology, ethics, and epistemology. In this course, we will read various texts philosophers have written over the past 2,500 years about exactly these issues. We will then come together to engage in good conversation about our own thinking concerning these sorts of questions.

HUM 111: Literature: Reading Cultures

In this course you will come to understand what the function of texts is, where they come from, how literature is truly part of your everyday life, and how what you know already is connected to famous books, old and new. Becoming acquainted with letters and texts is about learning to read and interpret so that we may notice how a variety of literary works, in diverse formats and from different times and distant places, actually speak about us and the world we live in now. In academia this is known as close-reading. We will examine various texts from various authors, formats and world regions.

HUM 112: Art History: Visual Literacy

Art is a visual language. Much like the written word, art contains a vocabulary for visually looking at the world.  The vocabulary is the medium of which the artwork is made: oil paint, stone, photography, video, etc. This quarter we will examine many different voices stretching back 30,000 years ago to the present.  We will look at the art of Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Renaissance, Impressionism, and Contemporary Art, among others. Art is alive.  We refer to even the oldest work of art in the present tense: “It is…”  This is because artworks, no matter their age, are timeless. They continue to resonate in our modern lives, as they continue to ask questions, not only of the past but of the world we live in. As in literature, we will closely read artworks in order to unlock our own thoughts, questions, and expressions about our world.

URB 110: Introduction to Community Mapping Process

In this workshop, students, divided in teams, will spend time in the Little Tokyo area of Downtown Los Angeles. With the support of faculty and teaching assistants, they will unobtrusively observe and record both material and symbolic evidence of community culture, economics, history, and politics. Through these experiences, students will be introduced to the concepts of community mapping, service learning, self-reflection, and documentation of field experiences.

URB 111: Applying Community Engagement Skills

In this workshop, student teams explore a section of South Central Los Angeles. With the support of teaching assistants and faculty, students experience the neighborhood. In getting to know the community, each student team will develop and propose a service-learning project to be carried out during the spring quarter. Throughout the process, each team of students reflects on and documents its experiences.

URB 112: Linking Community-Building and Service Learning

In this workshop, each team of students will fully implement the service-learning project proposed during the previous quarter. Students work on these in consultation with community members, and count on the support from teaching assistants and faculty. Throughout the process, each team of students reflects on and documents its experiences. At the end of the quarter, students develop and submit a service-learning report describing their community-building experiences and quarterly outcomes.