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April 9, 2001

OUCP mini-grants encourage community contact

By Jan Gleason


College junior Kylea Asher is examining sources of wisdom in American culture through an internship at Wesley Woods she secured with the help of Susan Cumings, an Office of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP) graduate fellow. Asher was enrolled in ILA Professor Angelika Bammer’s “Junior Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies” class last fall, in which Cumings worked through her OUCP teaching mini-grant.

“The focus of my work has been on identity formation,” said Asher, an interdisciplinary studies major. “I’m interviewing residents at Wesley Woods Geriatric Center about their life histories and experiences and looking at the resulting wisdom. The bigger question I’m exploring is whether our culture is still turning to seniors for life-achieved wisdom or whether we’re turning to self-help books and paid consultants. I’m interested in where we go for our wisdom today.”

Beyond the personal interviews, Asher also has spent time as an observer at Wesley Woods. This internship will provide information for her senior research project next year.

“Susan talked with me about my interests and helped me make the connection with Wesley Woods,” Asher said. “She and Dr. Bammer have also helped me think through what questions I want to address in my senior project.”

Cumings’ assistance is only one form an OUCP teaching mini-grant can take. Modest monetary grants can help purchase special equipment or teaching materials. Both forms of grants, along with research mini-grants, have been created to make it easier for faculty to add theory practice learning (TPL) experiences into their courses.

“It’s very time-intensive for faculty to implement TPL initiatives into their courses,” said Michael Rich, associate professor of political science and OUCP director. “There are connections with local agencies that need to be made, and details need to be worked out. We can provide short-term, custom teaching assistance through the work of our graduate fellows for faculty who apply for and receive OCUP teaching mini-grants.We also can provide cash mini-grants.

“This is a Universitywide effort to encourage all faculty to incorporate elements of the TPL pedagogy into their courses,” Rich said. “We want to change what sometimes has been an ‘urban safari’ experience for students into a partnership where the community also benefits from the information being processed by students and faculty.”

While it’s a bit early to determine the success of the mini-grants as incentives for faculty to incorporate TPL, Rich said he will know the program has been successful when it noticeably impacts the curriculum so that a greater number of students have the opportunity to participate in a community-based learning experience.

Deadlines for teaching mini-grants occur twice a year and are quarterly for the research mini-grants. A faculty committee will rank the recently submitted applications for fall to determine which will receive awards.


2000-01 Mini-Grant Recipients

Marc Auslander, assistant professor of anthropology, and Susan Ashmore, assistant professor of history, Oxford College: “Community Research on Landscape and Memory in African American Communities”

Angelika Bammer
, associate professor in ILA: “IDS 390 Junior Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies”

Tara Doyle, lecturer in Asian Studies and religion: “REL 212/ASIA 370T Asian Religious Traditions: Hindu and Buddhist Practices of South and South-east Asia”

Nancy Eiesland, associate professor sociology of religion, Candler School of Theology: “REL 603 Sociology of Religion”

David Hilton and Mimi Kiser, adjunct professors, Rollins School of Public Health: “Facilitating Community Empowerment: From Theory to Action”

Karen Mumford, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies: “Learning to Green: A Learning-Based Evaluation of the Georgia Community Green Space Program”

Robert Pastor, professor of political science: “POLS 190L What’s Wrong with American Democracy and How Can We Fix It?”

Michael Rich, associate professor of political science: “POLS 369 Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation”

John Wegner, lecturer in environmental studies: “ENVS 491 Service Learning Course in Environmental Studies”

Karen Worthington, clinical professor and director, Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic: “Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic”



Back to Emory Report April 9, 2001