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Modesto, California
The Search for Common Ground: Culture in California’s Central Valley
The Search for Common Ground

Faculty participants in The Search for Common Ground attended a production of San Joaquin Blues, a play about life in the Central Valley, in order to create curricular units on the performing arts in region. Image courtesy of Modesto Junior College.

Modesto Junior College (MJC) used an NEH grant to integrate the local history and culture of California’s Central Valley into its humanities curriculum, with a focus on the migrant, refugee, and low-income communities from which many of the college’s students hail. Over the course of two years, faculty at MJC developed and tested 27 instructional modules that have been shared across the region and are now being used in classrooms. The new curriculum has drastically improved student outcomes and the teaching culture at MJC, as well as fostered new partnerships among the region’s universities, colleges, and businesses.

“[The program] changed the teaching culture of our institution. We are trying to bring out, from students, the cultural competencies they already have.”
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