Out of the office and into the classroom
Tom McEnery teaches urban survival at SCU
By Jennifer Cohen
With all the problems confronting America’s urban areas, talk about solutions may be merely academic. That’s precisely the arena selected for a new series of courses and lectures developed by Santa Clara University’s newly appointed presidential fellow, Tom McEnery. McEnery is the primary lecturer for the first third of the class. For the second part of the course, guest speakers, including San Jose Police Chief Lou Cobarruviaz, journalist Phil Trounstine, playwright Luis Valdez and football star Ronnie Lott, will discuss how each of their respective disciplines addresses the reoccurring problems that cities face.
Lott, for instance, will discuss the importance of professional sports to a city’s economy, while Valdez will explore what it was like for him growing up in San Jose.
The former mayor will attempt to educate SCU students how a city does and doesn’t work, and how to tackle urban problems. This term, McEnery’s class, “The City: Reaching for the 21st Century,” is hailed by SCU administrators as giving students “a unique behind-the-scenes look at the most powerful issues confronting American society, with mayors and social workers, artists and academics.”
The course’s goal, according to the syllabus, is to “expose SCU students to experts in urban issues, along with leading community figures of the Santa Clara Valley…giving students firsthand experience in working with recipients of the services their disciplines have to offer.”
The class doesn’t follow the basic lectures-midterm-final will provide a well-rounded view of problems and solutions.
Twenty percent of student’s grades will be earned through eight hours of community service. Students are expected to create programs, or jump into existing ones in which they will be mentors for younger students.
The second part of McEnery’s job as a presidential fellow is to put together forums that deal with current social issues.
The first symposium, to be held April 21, is called “Forum on the new city-state.” It will bring together mayors and former mayors to discuss the reemergence of the city-state, an entity autonomous from the federal government. McEnery sees a trend back to the days in which the city-state was responsible for its own defense, economy and foreign policy.
Mayor Susan Hammer, San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan, Dianne Feinstein, former mayor of San Francisco and current candidate for U.S. Senate, as well as Terry Goddard, former mayor of Phoenix, will come together to debate some possible ways to restructure and renovate and political climate of American cities.
Although discussion topics will be focused, some diversions, as well as some fireworks, are expected. The issue of the proposed Giants stadium, for example, will be one topic that will most certainly come up. “It will be the hottest ticket in town,” McEnery said.
McEnery is confident his experiences will contribute to his year as a fellow. He graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in commerce and a master’s in history, and served eight years as San Jose’s mayor.