Higher Education and Public Pursuits: Engaging Future Faculty in Ongoing Conversation about Civic Engagement

Category 1: Seminar Grant

"The purpose of this seminar is to bring together faculty, administrators, and graduate students on the Syracuse University campus for in-depth and exploratory conversation about publicly engaged scholarship and how this explicitly connects to a broader national discussion about higher education and public responsibility. The seminar will spotlight how best to sustain conversations about civic engagement on our campus bringing together participants who are deeply involved in these questions and work with those who are new to this topic and represent a newer generation in higher education and the field of education specifically.

This discussion will be embedded in an existing doctoral course offered through the School of Education by Professor Gretchen Lopez, a tenured faculty member in Cultural Foundations of Education, faculty director of the interdisciplinary Intergroup Dialogue program, and associated faculty in the department of Women_s and Gender Studies. Invited participants include faculty, guest speakers, and graduate students in EDU 781. This fall, the course brings together students from multiple fields and disciplinary backgrounds including Cultural Foundations of Education, Higher Education, Critical Literacy, African American Studies, Disability Studies, Art/Music Education, STEM Education, Exercise Science, and Instructional Design and Technology. The course focuses on _Critical Lessons: Engaged Scholarship and Educational Change_ and addresses national and local challenges including how we imagine the role of scholars in public life and more specifically, public education (Cantor, 2012). This content lends itself to critical issues raised through the Bringing Theory to Practice Project_s The Civic Series. A number of authors who have written (or are writing) for the series work from academic or administrative departments at the university (Professor Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Professor Tina Nabatchi). Syracuse University provides a productive context for such conversation, engaging future faculty with current faculty, given it is home to the multi-institutional consortium of institutions in higher education, Imagining America (see http://imaginingamerica.org/), and the notable leadership of Chancellor Nancy Cantor who has articulated a clear institutional vision of _Scholarship in Action_ (Cantor, 2005, 2008). In part, these initiatives focus on how education can build and sustain democratic culture across students and communities in the United States.

As part of this graduate course, students read selections from Civic Values, Civic Practices during a week focused on _Engaged Scholarship and Higher Education._ Scholars associated with the week_s set of readings have been invited (and confirmed) to give guest presentations and to dialogue with the class during the regularly scheduled 3-hour seminar time period. Professor Timothy Eatman, co-director of Imagining America, faculty member in the department of Higher Education, and co-author of Full Participation: Building the Architecture for Diversity and Public Engagement in Higher Education (Sturm, Eatman, Saltmarsh, & Bush, 2011) will speak on publicly engaged scholarship including a research project on the participation and lived experiences of graduate students and new faculty members who engage in such work. Dr. Margaret Salazar-Porzio, Curator of Latina/o History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution_s National Museum of American History, and former Associate Research Scholar at the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School, is co-author of The Logic of Civic Possibility: Undocumented Students and the Struggle for Higher Education (included in The Civic Series). Dr. Salazar-Porzio will speak to broadening the concept and use of _civic engagement_ in higher education through sharing her research on the narratives and civil rights struggle of undocumented college students. Both speakers will address the lived experiences of the next generation in engaging public commitments in higher education as well as educational contexts more broadly. Both also hold important roles nationally in regard to these issues.

Immediately following the class period, the students, teaching faculty, and guest research scholars will gather with others at the university for a continuing conversation about the civic role and responsibilities of higher education. Invitations will be extended to key administrators involved in questions and policies of public engagement on our campus together with faculty who are already deeply involved in such work from a _ground up,_ reciprocal learning, and/or community cultural wealth approach.

Throughout the seminar, including this conversation with broader university community, guiding questions include:

• How do we view and enact education as a public good at Syracuse University?

• How do faculty and administrators envision civic engagement? How do graduate and others students envision civic engagement? Do we need to consider/imagine engagement more broadly?

• What are we doing (for example, regarding public schooling) that is working?

• What should we, as members of the university, work on to improve our engagement with neighboring community? What kind of reciprocal learning or educational good occurs?

• How can we support and sustain these important conversations as well as actions?

Each participant (students, faculty, administrators) will be encouraged to record their reflections from this conversation in an online collective notebook or website blog _ articulating what educational challenges they feel most need to be met with collaborative action. They will be asked directly, what is the first step we/you need to take toward this?

In addition, questions from the Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) project_s evaluation web resources will be adapted, particularly for the attending graduate students. In keeping with the types of narratives to be shared by Professors Eatman and Salazar-Porzio, we recognize that this needs to be a two-way street of scholarly exchange (e.g., Cantor, 2008). We imagine that administrators and faculty attending the reception will be energized and positively provoked (to borrow from the first volume in The Civic Series, Civic Provocations) to move forward with new ways of thinking about who should be involved in such conversations and how to approach doing so. We are interested in not only what support it takes to begin such an exchange, but also questions of what will sustain this important dialogue over time.

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