Public Scholarship and Engagement Launches Faculty Fellows Program

group of people standing under a terrace
The Community Engaged Learning Faculty Fellows Program 2020 cohort (Upper row, from left to right: Lee Martin, Valerie Eviner, Kristen Kiesel, Tim McNeil, Milmon Harrison. Bottom row, left to right: Lindsay Poirer, Lisa Rasmussen, Dr. Jeather Jane Hether). Photo: David Spight

On January 17, Public Scholarship and Engagement launches its inaugural Community Engaged Learning Faculty Fellows program, established to create and improve community-based student learning experiences that will cultivate and foster a culture of engagement at UC Davis. 

The cohort-based program is organized around monthly meetings and mentorship to support individuals working to fully integrate this learning approach into existing courses and new curricular experiences. The first cohort includes UC Davis faculty from across disciplines – from design and plant sciences to education and medicine.

“This fellows program is a direct response to what we heard from our faculty," says Vice Provost of Pubic Scholarship and Engagement Michael Rios. "They told us to create ways that incorporate public engagement into teaching. The program is one of the many ways that PSE aims to support faculty. In doing so, it addresses one of the university’s primary goals, which is to reward and recognize public scholarship at UC Davis.” 

While community engaged learning courses may take different forms, they all address a specific need, problem or common concern, include collaboration with a community partner that is connected with course content and disciplinary perspectives, and require ongoing and documented student reflection.

There are some wonderful examples of community engaged courses already being offered at UC Davis. Aquatic insect collection within the department of entomology, for instance, has offered students the chance to work in collaboration with Cache Creek Conservancy, a local environmental nonprofit, to assess water quality while also developing skills to identify aquatic insects at the Family level. Similarly, an interactive media class from the design department partners with the Crocker Museum in Sacramento, allowing students to design ceramic installations while also developing visual and user interaction design skills. 

Public Scholarship and Engagement wants to acknowledge and reward the exemplary faculty and instructors who incorporate community-framed problems and questions into their classrooms and build the capacity for further student learning experiences outside the classroom that address issues of public concern. 

This six-month program will address questions surrounding public engagement and student learning outcomes, including how can students be prepared to engage responsibly and thoughtfully with community partners, and how can mutually beneficial relationships be built with community partners? 

According to Postdoctoral Fellow Ingrid Behrsin, "All fellows, regardless of the extent to which they have thus far incorporated community engagement into their teaching, are committed to collaborative practices that foreground community-defined priorities in their teaching." 

Upon completion of the program, Community Engaged Learning Faculty Fellows are expected to teach their modified or newly design community engaged course during the 2020-2021 academic year and will receive will receive a one-time award of $1,000 in an Academic Enrichment Fund (AEF) during the quarter in which their proposed course is taught.

The 2020 Cohort includes:

  • Valerie Eviner: Department of Plant Sciences, College of Biological Sciences 
  • Milmon F. Harrison: Department of African American and African Studies, College of Letters and Sciences 
  • Dr. Heather Jane Hether: Department of Communication, College of Letters and Sciences
  • Kristin Kiesel: Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
  • Lee Martin: School of Education 
  • Tim McNeil: Department of Design, College of Letters and Sciences 
  • Lindsay Poirer: Department of Sociology, College of Letters and Sciences
  • Lisa Rasmussen: Department of Pediatrics, UC Davis Medical Center

About UC Davis Public Scholarship and Engagement

Public Scholarship and Engagement (PSE) is fostering a culture of engagement at UC Davis that increases the university’s impact through mutually-beneficial relationships that have local, regional, statewide, and global reach. 

We envision UC Davis research, teaching and learning that serves society and makes a positive difference in the world.

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