Community Engagement 101: Peer Exchange Session, April 2021

Community Engagement 101 is a proposed introductory curriculum for faculty and TA/Teaching Fellow graduate students across The New School (TNS) who incorporate external engagement or partnership as a part of their syllabus. For more information, visit our Collaboratory In-Depth Profile home page here.

On April 2nd, 2021, the Community Engagement 101 team hosted their second Peer Exchange Session to explore community-engaged learning, developing equitable collaborations with external communities and partners, and how various decisions and priorities shaped syllabi and partnerships.   

The peer exchange session included a panel of faculty who presented their syllabi from courses developed with external partnerships, followed by in-depth conversation on incorporating equitable external partnerships within higher education curricula. Faculty presenters included:

  • Andrew SheaJohn Roach, and Caroline Dionne (School of Art & Design History & Theory and School of Design Strategies, Parsons): Freshkills Park Partnership, Sound the Mound, and Curating Design
  • Alexandra Delano (Eugene Lang College & Schools of Public Engagement): Sanctuary 
  • John Bruce and Barbara Adams (School of Design Strategies, Parsons): MFA Transdisciplinary Design’s “Superstudio” 

Faculty panelists were prompted to reflect on the following questions: 

  • What do you see as the benefits of equitable and mutually beneficial community-classroom partnerships, and for whom? 
  • How might courses and syllabi be designed so as to be beneficial for all parties? How might students be prepared to engage in such collaborative coursework?
  • If you taught this course more than once, what changed or evolved over time? What did you learn from these changes?  
  • How has the pandemic context and social distancing guidelines shaped or changed community engagement practices this year? What might we learn from engaging external partners and communities during a pandemic? 

Faculty presentations were followed by a vibrant discussion on the previous questions. We had a lively and productive conversation, and we look forward to the next iteration of Peer Exchange Sessions!

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