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Video: Professor pioneers “engaged scholarship” pedagogical approach

June 26, 2009

This spring, in an effort to develop a model for sustainable community engagement and collaboration with traditionally marginalized communities, Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling formed the Center for Community Engagement (CCE).

The center offers a way for Lewis & Clark faculty and staff to collaborate with a wide range of professional organizations and educational institutions to address critical community needs in education and mental health.

Aligning himself with a growing movement in academia, Professor of Counseling Psychology Tod Sloan calls this approach to community development “engaged scholarship.”

“Engaged scholarship means that our work in the university setting is not just about books and ideas being transmitted from one generation to next, but that the active engagement of that knowledge with the ongoing struggles of communities and social movements is something that scholars are a part of,” Sloan said. “This means getting off campus into spaces where people are already doing something, bringing new resources and different perspectives there, and working in collaboration with projects that are viable and that are helping marginalized communities sustain themselves.”

Thus far, the center has organized projects such as the NW Tribal Communities Support Grant, the Educating for Sustainability Initiative, and the Early College Access Advocacy Project. The center also sponsors a variety of non-credit classes, conferences, and workshops throughout the year.

This fall, the center will begin Project Dialogue, a network of regional practitioners available to facilitate community dialogues that foster community resilience, social justice, and ecological sustainability.

In addition to his work to develop Project Dialogue, Sloan is involved with several off-campus efforts to link Lewis & Clark with social justice actions on a local and international scale. His work includes being editor of the Journal for Social Action in Counseling Psychology, serving on the board of directors for Tryon Life Community Farm, and working with a subgroup of Portland’s Transition Initiative to address the psychocultural dimensions of adaptation to the phenomena of peak oil and climate change.

In this video, Sloan discusses the various ways in which he practices engaged scholarship, including a trip to Nicaragua with the organization Green Empowerment, to assess its impact on community well being. The video includes footage taken by current graduate student Kelly Hubert, one of several students who accompanied Sloan in Nicaragua.

For more information:

Vanessa Fawbush
Public Relations Officer
503-768-7992
fawbush@lclark.edu
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