July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society, Community Engagement Division, and Equity, Culture & Social Justice in Education
Background and motivation. While research suggests that community engaged projects can be particularly effective, such work is notoriously time consuming and not scalable. The learning curve for an organization seeking to start such work is steep. Additionally, it is important to evaluate to what extent work typified as community engaged work actually creates a participatory space of community- centered perspectives regarding roles, interests, worldviews, actions and outcomes. Project design and execution. To this end, we developed a formative assessment tool utilizing Chandanabhumma et. al.’s (2020) evaluation of community voice within 253 unique community based participatory research projects as a foundation. This tool, created in partnership between a university and outreach group affiliated with the Air Force, allows organizations to evaluate existing projects and explore ways to develop on a path towards true community-engagement. The outreach group in this case undertakes significant STEM education within New Mexico, but in the past, a majority of the work has been done “for” or “to” communities, rather than “with” communities. The paper details the development and initial use of the tool. Lessons learned. The tool helped the organizations recognize where they could incorporate community voice within the planning of their projects as well as evaluate the level of community voice present in various aspects of past projects. By using the tool, several members made aspects of their work more explicit. Specifically, members shared ways they sought ideas, feedback, and insight from teachers, and how this informed their ongoing work. Conclusions and next steps. While the initial use of the tool revealed some uncertainty about community engagement, it opened space to value and expand existing practices aligned to community engagement. Ongoing use of the tool, paired with leadership support, is driving the organization to change how they view community roles.
Velarde, C., & Svihla, V., & Gutierrez , E. K. (2021, July), A Tool for Informing Community-Engaged Projects Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36625
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