Civic Engagement Projects and Partnerships | NSPE | New York City
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Projects and Partnerships

  • The civic engagement initiatives of The New School for Public Engagement evolve from year to year. Below is a list of some important ongoing projects and partnerships.

    Civic Engagement and Social Innovation Committee

    Michele Kahane and Joseph Heathcott, co-chairs

    The Civic Engagement Initiative is specific to The New School for Public Engagement. Intended to promote active citizenship in an interdependent world, the Initiative equips students with the tools to think critically, tread responsibly, and work alongside communities for positive social change. The Initiative brings together faculty, staff, students, and organizational partners to work on four areas of development: The Practical Arts of Citizenship, The New School Tradition, Building a New Division, and The Civic Engagement Project at NSPE. The committee works to build long-term partnerships with organizations, giving them access to the resources of the division including faculty and staff consultation, student internships, research and media expertise, and tailored coursework. In turn, partnering organizations provide students with hands-on experience and valuable insights into the work of civil society. This approach enriches the university, the partnering organizations, and the broader communities they serve. The committee approaches community partners as co-learners and co-educators in the ongoing process of social change.

    The Social Innovation Initiative

    Steering Committee: Michele Kahane, Cynthia Lawson, Judy Mejia, Mary Watson, and Tony Whitfield

    The university-wide Social Innovation Initiative aims to enhance the capacity of individuals, communities, and organizations to devise effective, just, and sustainable solutions to social and environmental problems. A cross divisional partnership between The New School for Public Engagement, Parsons the New School for Design, and Eugene Lang College, the Initiative enables students to become versatile change makers, equipping them to address contemporary social and environmental challenges. The New School community of faculty and students are developing a foundation of knowledge about social innovation, a body of applied research and creative and professional practice, and methods of experiential teaching and learning. The initiative began in 2009, as part of the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus Initiative.

    Humanities In Public/Practice

    Project Leaders: Joseph Heathcott and Laura Auricchio.

    The Humanities In Public/Practice (HIPP) project is an effort to triangulate public humanities, civic engagement, and adult "non-traditional" student learning, emphasizing the humanities as a key arena for civic, vocational, and cognitive development. The project supports an ensemble of public humanities initiatives which are embedded in courses in the undergraduate curriculum. The project comprises a group of faculty members who incorporate civic dialogue into their classes, furthering a specific ethos and/or desired learning outcome. The courses engage themes from slavery to public art to the ethics of documentary representation and are designed to help students take part in "difficult dialogues" around a range of campus or community-based issues.

    The Corbin Hill Farm Project: Community Supported Agriculture at The New School

    Initiated by Professor of Professional Practice in the Nonprofit Management, Dennis Derryck, at Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, the Corbin Hill Farm Project aims to bring local produce to "food deserts" like the South Bronx and Harlem. Many students, faculty, alumni and staff have participated in this effective food justice project that addresses the South Bronx's economic and nutritional needs. The program runs on a Community Supported Agriculture model, in which members of the Farm Share support communities and also receive the benefits of fresh seasonal produce. All members of the New School community are invited to join.

    Progressive Pupil

    Organizer: Robin Hayes

    Founded and organized by Milano professor Robin Hayes, Progressive Pupil is a nonprofit organization that "makes Black Studies for everybody” by creating digital media and documentary films. The organization is producing the documentary Black and Cuba, directed by Hayes. The feature film follows a predominately Black group of Yale students who feel like outcasts at their elite institution, and their travels to Cuba to “see if revolution is truly possible.” The organization offers a Social Media Education and Outreach Program through which students in the Making a Difference course, a required course in the Milano management program, write for and comment on the organization's blog, which averages over 1000 views per week internationally. Progressive Pupil also runs an internship program for students at The New School who are from communities that are underrepresented in documentary filmmaking, digital media-making, and nonprofit management and/or who are committed to promoting diversity in those fields. The organization is fiscally-sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society.

    Youth Media Makers

    The Youth Media Makers program is a collaboration through the Video Lab's externship project: High school students who attend the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center work with graduate student mentors from the School of Media Studies to complete media projects based on their individual interests in social and environmental issues. The program culminates with a final public screening of student work.

    The Millennium Film Workshop

    Melissa Friedling, School of Media Studies, Civic Engagement Grant Fund recipient

    This project revives an historic partnership between the Millennium Film Workshop and The New School that began in 1965-1966 as part of the federal government's anti-poverty "street school" program. In its 45 year history, the Millennium Film Workshop has persisted as a community-based media arts center, providing open and affordable access to skills, equipment, and appreciation of the moving image. The project supports a public program series presented at The New School, and the development of curriculum related to the program and to the history of Millennium and other community-based arts and media programs.

    Shared Words, Shared Worlds: English as a Second Language Classes in NYC Restaurants

    Lesley Painter-Farrell, School of Language Teaching and Learning, Civic Engagement Grant Fund recipient

    Many immigrants working in the food industry in New York City work such long hours that they do not have the time to access English language classes. However, the acquisition of basic English skills is essential not only to the improvement of employment opportunities, but to broader participation in democratic institutions and civic life. Through this program, students in the Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MATESOL) program teach English to small groups of restaurant employees in their workplaces. This is done in partnership with restaurant owners and restaurant management companies who understand the needs of their workers.

    Democratizing the Archive: Building Networked Finding Aids with Community Partners

    Claire Potter, Julia Foulkes, Laura Aurricchio, Ricardo Montez, School of Undergraduate Studies, and Shannon Mattern, School of Media Studies, Civic Engagement Grant Fund recipients

    How can the power of the archive be applied to democratically engaged purposes? This project launches a partnership between The New School for Public Engagement, the New York Public Library, and selected nonprofit websites in search of imaginative, accessible content. Students in NSPE humanities and media studies courses research, write, produce, and publish projects based on primary documents, democratizing access to these sources by "mapping" paths through and across collections. These networked paths, or "living finding aids," will demonstrate to the broader public the nature and promise of each collection, and how archive-based research is accomplished. The project includes a colloquium with faculty, archivists, and web partners.

    Cancer Treatment Refusal in Medically Underserved Communities

    Lisa Rubin, School of Undergraduate Studies, Civic Engagement Grant Fund recipient

    Why do some people in low-income communities refuse treatment for cancer? This project tackles the question in partnership with the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention (RLCCCP), a community-based organization in Harlem addressing the needs of medically underserved communities. The primary aim is to investigate treatment refusal using qualitative and participatory research methods, with the long-term goal of improving care. The project also establishes a partnership that provides training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students interested in public health and health care disparities. Faculty participants develop a curriculum pathway in community psychology, and a set of practices around participatory action research for social justice in health-care.

    Real World Politics: Learning Campaign Management On the Job

    Jeff Smith, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, Civic Engagement Grant Fund recipient

    Students in Professor Smith's Campaign Management course learn academic theory from assigned readings and receive advice from political practitioners. But one cannot understand how electoral campaigns are run from a book. So, as a means of both increasing civic engagement and helping students understand how campaigns work from the inside, Professor Smith places students as paid interns for the summer on various campaigns in the NYC metro area. Through careful evaluation and outcomes assessment of student experiences in the project, Professor Smith creates a set of training modules and activities around campaign skills, thereby informing the broader development of a curriculum pathway in Leadership and Advocacy at NSPE.

    The Co-Existence Initiative

    Warren Spielberg, School of Undergraduate Studies, Civic Engagement Grant Fund recipient

    To enhance The New School as a space where theory meets practice, this interdisciplinary project will build a curriculum in "co-existence studies" in partnership with Al-Quds University in Jerusalem Beit Hanina, Palestine, and with NYC-based organizations working to advance co-existence. The emerging field of co-existence goes beyond traditional conflict resolution or management to prepare students to understand and work in the areas of peacemaking and reconciliation, both locally and globally, specifically regarding the management of ethnic and racial conflict. The proposal has three simultaneous and complimentary components: curriculum and course development, public programming, and civic engagement.

    Teaching the World about Learned Women: The Project Continua Pedagogical Initiative

    Gina Luria Walker, School of Undergraduate Studies, Civic Engagement Grant Fund recipient

    Throughout history learned women have contributed to the collective body of human knowledge, but their contributions remain largely unknown and neglected in the classroom. The Project Continua Pedagogical Initiative builds a multimedia online resource designed to support the incorporation of a wide diversity of learned women into K-12 and community education. Drawing on the work of an established network of collaborating scholars, the Project Continua site will evolve as an on-line community-based learning program where users can collaborate and contribute to pedagogical research and development, and provide a vital resource for educators eager to incorporate learned women into their lessons.

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