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Engaged Conversations Series to focus on community partnerships

This spring semester, Cornell faculty and staff will have new opportunities to connect and develop their skills in community-engaged learning (CEL). The Einhorn Center for Community Engagement has launched the Engaged Conversations Series, a set of speaker events and workshops designed for anyone incorporating CEL into curricula, research and other programs. 

The spring 2024 Engaged Conversations Series, co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching Innovation, will focus specifically on community partnerships — how to build, nurture and sustain them.

The series begins Monday, February 12, with an Engaged Publication Talk with James Spinazzola, the Barbara & Richard T. Silver ’50, MD ’53 Associate Professor and Director of Winds in the Department of Music at Cornell. The talk will be held at noon in the Engaged Cornell Hub on the 3rd floor of Kennedy Hall. An Engaged Faculty Fellow, Spinazzola will discuss the writing and publication process for his book Community-Engaged Performance Tours. Emphasizing reciprocity, cross-cultural exchange and global awareness, the book addresses how touring musical ensembles can work with host communities instead of performing for them. The book includes student and community perspectives and case studies from Spinazzola’s experience leading university wind symphony tours in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, programs for which he received Einhorn Center grant funding. 

The series also includes two Engaged Speakers events. The first is Wednesday, February 28, at noon in 102 Mann Library and on Zoom. Rachael Shah, associate professor of writing studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will give a talk on Transformative Co-Creation: Epistemologies and Strategies for Collaborative Writing with Community Partners. In this discussion, Shah will draw on interviews with people who have co-created across university-community lines to explore not only the transformative potential of deep collaboration, but concrete techniques that have been used to infuse democratic ideals into the collaboration process.

The second Engaged Speaker event will be Wednesday, April 10, at noon in 102 Mann Library and on Zoom. The topic will be Reciprocity, Mutuality and Solidarity in Community Engagement, a talk by Aurora Santiago-Ortiz, assistant professor, gender and women’s studies and Chicane/Latine Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison. By examining a case study of an interdisciplinary research course, Santiago-Ortiz will delve into the ethical considerations, as well as dilemmas and possibilities when engaging in critical and anticolonial approaches to service-learning, as well as participatory action research processes. 

Rounding out the spring Engaged Conversation Series is an Engaged Faculty Workshop that will focus on Partnership, Assessment and Impact. In the 90-minute workshop led by staff from the Einhorn Center Academic Initiatives team, participants will learn how to establish and maintain meaningful relationships with community partners, as well as processes and tools to assess the impact of those relationships. The workshop will be held Friday, March 22 at noon in 209 Kennedy Hall.

Lunch is provided at all in-person Engaged Conversations Series events. Registration is requested.

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