Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies Program

College of Arts and Humanities

109/110 Main Hall
Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies
Hannah Ashley, Director

The purpose of this program is to equip future professionals to work in urban communities and with agencies and organizations that particularly focus on urban youth, including but not limited to schools, social service agencies, and youth and community development organizations. Through an experiential approach to learning and a philosophy of empowerment, the program will help WCU students to understand the complex context of American cities, the strengths and capabilities of families of diverse backgrounds, and the implications of public policy for large urban systems.

The minor will enable students who are preparing for urban careers to develop a deep understanding of the economic, social, cultural, and political context of urban social systems and community factors that affect youth. The Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies (YES) Minor is in the liberal studies program and open to all students in every college.

Minor in Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies

All undergraduate students are held to the academic policies and procedures outlined in the undergraduate catalog.  Students are encouraged to review departmental handbooks for program tips, suggested course sequences, and explanations of procedures. When applicable, additional policies for specific department programs may be listed below.


RUX 110. Introduction to Urban Community Change. 3 Credits.

This course explores the idea that people critically understanding the world and how to act in and for themselves on the world to change it is an essential quality of humanity.
Gen Ed Attribute: Humanities Distributive Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.


YES 250. Intro to Youth and Urban Community Work: Urban Prof Workshop. 3 Credits.

This course addresses professional dispositions for working in the urban environment. Students gain an awareness of the strengths of communities, as well as the forms of oppression that youth may experience in the urban environment.

YES 300. Youth Empowerment and the Urban Context. 3 Credits.

This course will immerse students in theories, historical contexts, and practices of leadership and democratic action through study, reflection and a semester-long partnership with an elementary or middle grades classroom in an urban school.

YES 301. Seminar in Youth-Led Media and Inquiry. 3 Credits.

Students will participate in a six-week intensive seminar on service learning/CEL and youth-led media as a particular strategy of CEL.