Community-based Learning as Justice-oriented Education
Are we teaching students to tackle systemic issues or to simply fulfill hours for a class? How do we help students understand social justice and long-term partnerships while engaging in (short-term) community-based learning? This session explored these questions and discussed solutions with a panel of current GVSU students and faculty and community partners. Participants left with an increased understanding of "justice learning," an approach to community-based learning from a social justice perspective, as well as an increased knowledge of the potential tensions that exist in community-based learning and an exploration of tools to address these tensions.
Download the presentation and handouts from this session by clicking on the links below.
Assistant Director, Grand Valley State University Women's Center
1201 Kirkhof Center
Brittany Dernberger is the Assistant Director of the Women’s Center and teaches in Women & Gender Studies at GVSU. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Women & Gender Studies and has her Masters of Public Administration in Nonprofit Leadership. Brittany coordinates the Women’s Center’s service learning initiatives and partners with Women and Gender Studies to lead a service-learning study abroad trip to South Africa. Brittany serves on the University’s Community Engagement Program Development Team and is active in the community, including serving on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of West Michigan
Executive Director of West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC)
Rachel Hood became the executive director of WMEAC in January of 2007. Rachel brings experience in fund development, strategic planning and program design and management to WMEAC. Ms. Hood holds a BA in Social Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University. From 2000 to 2004, she served as the Executive Director of West Grand Neighborhood Organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2005 she joined Metro Health Hospital as their Corporate Community Advocate. Ms. Hood has focused on implementing sustainable development concepts in Greater Grand Rapids throughout her career. She was instrumental in the program design and funding for the Turner Gateway Project, a Michigan Cool Cities project. Ms. Hood was key in launching Local First, an initiative to educate Greater Grand Rapids about the value of locally owned business.
Susan F. Carson
Susan F. Carson
Dr. Carson is a professor of education in the College of Education at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has been a member of AERA for nine years and is currently serving as the Program Chair of the Peace SIG. Dr. Carson’s scholarship and research focuses include implementation of peace education in urban K-12 schools, social justice and peace education with a multicultural emphasis, and peace and justice studies in international education. Dr. Carson’s most recent publication, “Locked Out: An Adventure in Teacher Perception,” in the Journal for the Study of Peace and Conflict, demonstrates her strong commitment to implementing peace education and caring practices into instruction and learning. She developed a model program with Kent School Services Network (a social service network with 21 organizations and six school districts), teaching undergraduate students out of identified schools serving homeless youth. Dr. Carson’s 2010 Fulbright Award to research “Principles and Practices of Caring Communities: Women’s Participation in the Public Spheres of Education in Contemporary India” demonstrated her effectiveness as a cross-cultural educator and negotiator. In addition, her international research at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana; at the Northern Council for Integrated Education in Belfast; and at Consultores Associados in Uberaba, Brazil, demonstrated her work bringing communities together through peace education.
Kanyn is a Junior at Grand Valley State University studying Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Philosophy. She is a part of a military family, and has traveled her entire life, living in various places including Arkansas, North Dakota, and Germany. Traveling abroad is an important part of Kanyn's life and future plans. She plans on attending graduate school after her time at GVSU to receive her PhD in Human Sexuality. She is always looking for new opportunities to take on, experiences to enjoy, and people to meet.