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Exploring Dimensions of Community-Engaged Scholarship

A one-day interdisciplinary workshop addressing community engagement in the academy.

May 05, 2017
from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM

Memorial Union, MU II

Community-engaged (or “public”) scholarship can be described as scholarly and creative work in the public interest, scholarship planned and carried out with community or public partners, or scholarship that produces a “public good” such as exhibits, performances, and broadly accessible research results. This scholarship acknowledges that research that includes impacted communities is likely to be more meaningful, relevant, and have increased reach. Similarly, Community Engaged Learning (CEL) (sometimes also termed “service learning”) is a student-centered pedagogical approach that thoughtfully pairs classroom learning goals and experiential student engagement in communities outside the classroom.

While both community-engaged scholarship and CEL can raise awareness about critical issues facing society today and stimulate broad discussion about such issues, both are nevertheless socially-embedded practices that should raise important questions about power dynamics, privilege, and positionality. Our one-day workshop will convene an interdisciplinary group of graduate students, postdocs, faculty members, and community partners to engage in critical dialogue and learning about community engagement in the academy. It will introduce examples of public scholarship and CEL, as well as the benefits and potential drawbacks of such endeavors. Workshop participants will exchange experiences, and/or develop foundational knowledge in developing research and CEL partnerships with community groups. 

Preliminary workshop and session topics: 
1. Getting to the root: Re-imagining the expert 
Exploring privilege and expertise in the sciences academy, in particular the injustice of discrediting others’ knowledge; 
Explore and deconstruct objectivity in the sciences academy, and its role in socially-engaged research; 
Basics of community engagement, through considering community based research and best practices. 

2. Wading in: Contemplating community-based research and public scholarship 
Examples of what such projects might entail; 
Insight into the opportunities that such research provides; 
How to begin a public scholarship project; 
Activity: Students will be set up to receive counseling from graduate students in small groups on how to relate their current research to a public project and ways to translate of their work. 

3. Weaving it in: Community engaged learning across disciplines 
Examples of diverse classes that incorporate service learning (STEM, social sciences, humanities); 
Developing service learning partnerships with community organizations; 
Evaluating service learning projects and their learning outcomes; 
Activity: Building a service learning syllabus.