Xavier Launches Academy for Community-Engaged Faculty

January 14, 2009


Under the coordination of Xavier University’s Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning, and with support from the Center for Teaching Excellence and the President’s Office, the University has created an Academy for Community-Engaged Faculty, which will focus on assisting faculty in incorporating principles and practices of community-engaged scholarship into their curricula as a primary means of institutionalizing and sustaining engagement at Xavier. The Academy and the courses it produces will help develop a critical mass of faculty who champion engagement, enrich the academic experience of students, help improve the quality of life in communities throughout the region, and build the capacity of community-based organizations. The semester-long Academy will pilot during spring semester of 2009 with these eight Xavier faculty participants.
  • Gillian Ahlgren, PhD, theology
  • Christine Anderson, PhD, history
  • Diane Ceo-DiFrancesco, PhD, modern languages
  • Elizabeth Groppe, PhD, theology
·         Margo Heydt, MSW, EdD, social work
  • Tom Kessinger, PhD, special education
  • Danielle Parker, PhD, communication arts
  • Karim Tiro, PhD, history
They were selected by a committee consisting of Byron White, EdD, executive director of the Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning; Kandi Stinson, PhD, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs; and three department chairs, one from each college – Carol Scheerer, PhD, occupational therapy; David Burns, DBA, marketing; and David Knutson, PhD, modern languages.
The Academy for Community-Engaged Faculty at Xavier University seeks to achieve three overarching goals over the next two years. First is to develop a critical mass of faculty that champions engaged scholarship and has the knowledge and credibility to challenge structural barriers at the University that hinder such scholarship. Second is to provide a more enriching academic experience for students through greater opportunities for community-engaged learning. Third is to build the capacity of local communities through more mutually beneficial partnerships between faculty and community leaders.
Each faculty participant will be assigned a representative of a community-based organization to serve as a coach through the course-planning process. The community coaches will be leaders with experience in working with university or institutional partners. They will assist faculty in creating truly collaborative partnerships where responsibility, accountability and authority are shared between the university and the community. Faculty will engage hands-on with community organizations. It will include a tour of community-based sites where faculty will witness asset-based community building in action. Third, faculty members will be required to identify a community partner as part of their course design.
Dr. Robert Bringle, world-renowned author and researcher on community-engaged scholarship and director for the Center for Service and Learning at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural faculty workshop of Xavier’s Academy for Community-Engaged Faculty on January 26. He will spend much of the afternoon meeting with the eight Academy participants. Bringle is co-editor of Universities and Colleges as Citizens, the book that Xavier’s president, Fr. Michael J. Graham, S.J., urged the University community to read and discuss soon after he took office in 2001.