Spotlight on Faculty Learning Communities: Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR)

Community Engaged Scholar Emebte Atanaw works with our CBPR FLC and offers our first spotlight on FLCs with this blog post:

A group of faculty from different schools within the George Washington University community gather together once a month to discuss their interest in CBPR (community based participatory research) and provide each other assistance and advice on research projects. This group is part of the Faculty Learning Communities at the Nashman Center.

CBPR members include Erin Athney (School of Nursing), Lottie Baker (Graduate School of Education & Human Development), Mayri Leslie (School of Nursing), Uriyoán Colón Ramos (Milliken: Global Health), and Maranda Ward (Milliken: Clinical Research and Leadership).

Faculty discuss their research, obstacles they face, share ideas to improve projects. The group is interdisciplinary which allows them to connect with professors across schools at GW. Professors in the group are interested in community engaged scholarship courses, and learn how they can gain course designation if they haven’t already. The group ranges from new faculty to veterans which adds to the diversity in the group. 

Want to get involved with Community-Engaged Scholarship at GW? We would love to meet you! Come to our next breakfast conversation on April 19, 2018 from 9:45-10:45 a.m. in the Churchill Center at the Gelman Library to find out a little bit more about the Nashman Center.

Want to start an FLC next year or join one in progress this year? Check out the offerings here:


Opportunities from Campus Compact Mid Atlantic

The Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic (CCMA) is a non-profit membership association of colleges and universities that are public, 2-year and 4-year. They advocate, support, and encourage institutional participation in academic and co-curricular based on public service and civic engagement programs to universities and colleges in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Delaware. Here are some news and updates from the CCMA:

Next, CCMA is searching for two new VISTA leaders! These two leaders will serve as a resource for their VISTA cohort of 30 members, build capacity for their organization, and support VISTA alumni outreach. If you have participated in national service for at least a year and are interested, apply now at:

Also, CCMA is officially welcoming Delaware into their network. So, join them for a CCMA Launch in the University of Delaware on Wednesday, April 18. 2018, where discussions about Mobilizing Higher Education’s Ability to Elevate Community Life Through P-20 Partnerships will be held. There will be a panel of CCMA Presidents, followed by an Idea Exchange, CCMA Award, and a Launch Plenary speaker. Register here:

In addition, there are some opportunities to earn grants for papers and proposals. The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) is inviting departments from colleges and universities in the U.S. to apply for mini-grants. These grants will formalize helping students investigate disciplinary questions in their major through a civic lens. Applications are due by April 23rd, 2018. Click here for more information and to access the application:


Finally, nominations are now open for the CCMA 2017 Awards. Every year, the CCMA recognizes and awards those who have shown excellence in leadership of civic engagement and service-learning in order to promote a culture of engagement throughout the region. There are several awards opportunities, so click here to see their descriptions and to find out how to nominate an individual or a program:


So, these are some events and opportunities that the CCMA is offering, and if you are interested to find out more about these kinds of news and events, check out their full website:


A Right to the City Exhibit Opens April 21st at Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

A Right to the City explores the history of neighborhood organizing and civic engagement in D.C. With a focus on a diverse range of neighborhoods across the city, the exhibition tells the story of how "ordinary" Washingtonians have helped shape and reshape their neighborhoods through the fight: for quality public education, for healthy and green communities, for equitable transit and equitable development, and for a genuinely democratic approach to city planning.

Learn More

Teach-In on Reconstruction at Howard University April 24th

Don't miss a teach-in on Reconstruction for K-12 pre-service and in-service teachers. This is part of the Zinn Education Project campaign to teach Reconstruction. Presenters include NPS chief historian Turkiya Lowe, Howard University professor Greg Carr, Lies My Teacher Told Me author James Loewen, representatives from NMAAHC and the African American Civil War Museum, and more. Location: Howard University's Blackburn Center. This event is free. RSVP required.

Learn More and RSVP

Registration open for 2018 Global EPICS Symposium and Workshop at Purdue






This is a great opportunity for STEM fields to engage in community engaged scholarship.


Deadline is May 25, 2018

EPICS is an engineering-based, service-learning approach to multi-disciplinary design where student teams address needs within their local and global communities. Founded at Purdue University, EPICS has been integrated into the curricula at 42 universities and colleges. EPICS in IEEE, a signature program of IEEE, empowers students to work with local service organizations by applying technical knowledge to implement solutions for a community’s unique challenges.

This year’s gathering will bring together three groups for a synergistic set of workshops, panel discussions and roundtables. These three groups are:

  1. New Faculty, instructors; staff professionals; IEEE volunteers and members; industry partners and others interested in learning about the EPICS model for Engineering/Computing-based Service-Learning and Community Engagement
  2. Experienced EPICS leaders, faculty, instructors, administrators, students and partners from the member institutions of the EPICS Consortium
  3. International EPICS leaders, faculty, instructors, administrators, students and partners especially from India including our IUCEE-EPICS institutions

The symposium and workshop have special slots for each group (Monday for those new to EPICS, Thursday and Friday will focus on India). Tuesday and Wednesday will be a mix of interactions between groups with opportunities for discussions around common interests.

How You Benefit

• Gain a better understanding of engineering-based community engagement

• See examples of ways EPICS can be integrated into course curriculum and capstone projects

• Develop the skills to gain institutional support, acquire community and industry sponsors, establish funding models and build a sustainable program

• Gain insights from experienced leaders on how to engage students; identify, create and sustain projects; and conduct student assessments

• Network with established EPICS colleagues as well other interested facility members, industry and community leaders

• Learn how to make connections globally across programs

• Leave the workshop prepared to put what you learned into practice in order to grow, institutionalize or establish an EPICS program at your institution

Workshop Details

Date: June 11-15, 2018

         June 11 – for those new to EPICS

(all participants invited to the welcome reception on the evening of the 11th )

         June 12-13 – for all participants, sessions led by EPICS faculty from multiple institutions
         June 14-15 – focus integrating EPICS into the Indian engineering curriculum and similar models

Where: Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Registration Fees:

$200 June 11-13 (includes Tuesday and Wednesday meals and Monday welcome reception)

$400 Full week (June 11-15 and includes Tuesday - Friday meals and Monday welcome reception) 

Participants are expected to cover their lodging costs and travel to the workshop. A room block is available on Purdue’s Campus at the Purdue Union Club Hotel from June 11-15.

Questions can be forwarded to

Eric VandeVoorde at +1-765-494-3750 or or

Dr. William Oakes at

Are Think Tanks Obsolete? If so, what does that mean for research?

Dr. Fran Buntman of the Sociology Department shared this article with us and we wanted to pass it along. The article discusses potential impacts of new ways of knowing/learning that policymakers and their staffs may choose over traditional research

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Greg Squires

The Nashman Center is committed to highlighting faculty that give back to the community and GW students through community engaged scholarship. Ashley Hidalgo, a Community Engaged Scholar with the Nashman Center, sat down to talk with Dr. Greg Squires, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Administration. 

Ashley Hidalgo (AH): Could you give me an overview of your service-learning courses?

Gregory D. Squires (GS): Generally I have had a social problems focus in my service learning or engaged scholarship classes.. My courses have tended to deal with cities and particularly racial issues in metropolitan areas. I have  given these students choices of places where they might work and then have them write their final papers based on that experience.  I ask them to evaluate the effectiveness of the organization they’ve been working at, in light of the theories they are reading about in their books, articles, and class discussions. I try to get them to understand how the organization understands the problems they addressed- what their theoretical understanding is – often with a general focus on whether the organization sees their issues  through the lens of individual failings they need to address, or structural institutional changes that they need to address.

AH: How long have you been doing community engagement projects?

GS: Well throughout my career, I have tried to connect my own work, particularly my research, with community organizations that have shared my interests. Even when I was in graduate school, my research assistantship was to direct The Human Rights Information Services at Michigan State University, and my job was to write newsletters for human rights organizations.We had occasional meetings and conferences, and my job was to interact with these kinds of organizations throughout the state of Michigan. My first job out of graduate school was  with the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights . At the Commission I was linking my work with community organizations, and have  continued to try to develop those kinds of linkages with community groups, government agencies, and non-profit organizations of various kinds.

AH: That is great work. You mentioned a vast variety of services - from indirectly helping communities in your past jobs, to directly serving in your graduate years. Why do you think it is important for GW faculty to be involved in community engaged scholarship?

GS: For a variety of reasons. First, it is in the interest of our students. It provides them with a learning experience that they wouldn’t get otherwise.  And it is more than just an internship. I think these engaged scholarship experiences help make classroom experiences come alive. They enhance what students get from the books and articles they are reading, the papers they are writing, and other classroom experiences It makes the academic work better, and the academic work makes their involvement in the community stronger.

AH: I completely agree with your statement based off of my own experiences taking these community-engaged classes.

GS: Yes, the Human Services and Social Justice program is particularly heavily focused on engaged scholarship.  However, other programs at GW also get students into the broader community. For example, the law school and medical school often have clinics that provide direct service. But, they are not really engaged in collaborative work that is the focus of engaged scholarship.  They are more engaged in the provision of services. This does not make one better than the other, but they are different.

AH: You mentioned your background in service, what issues are you exploring in your scholarship?

GS: I have been looking at the uneven development of cities, particularly racial inequalities within cities, and more particularly the role of financial institutions. So, I have done a lot of work on redlining, predatory lending , other related fair housing issues, I have done studies on banking practices, home-insurance practices, and in the process, I have published academic studies. But I have also been an expert witness in court cases. I have worked with community organizations on their projects. I have done a lot of writing for mass media including several newspapers, magazines, and blogs. So, this is the range of activities that are all part of the engaged scholarship practices.

AH: What are some of the less obvious ways that students can benefit from community partnerships?

GS: I don’t know if these are less obvious ways, but students can get to know people and are exposed to  perspectives on issues that they might not get otherwise. I think it helps them when they graduate, Getting out of the Foggy Bottom neighborhood will probably better prepare them to enter almost any field they will end up in when they graduate from here; whether it is professional school, graduate school, or a job. But particularly, with the social and cultural experiences they may gain, they will be better equipped to negotiate the world they are going to enter than they would be without those experiences.

AH: Could you share a favorite student story? Such as a favorite project, or an idea that was meaningful?

GS: My favorite story is about a graduate student who went to work with an organization called ONE DC, which is an organization that attempts to address the gentrification of the Shaw neighborhood. I think she has now been there for 8-9 years, and I have often told her that she is  my proudest and likely lowest-paid former student that I had at GW.

AH: Did she begin in her undergraduate years?

GS: No, she was here in our graduate program. She got her master’s degree in Sociology, and she began her journey from here to ONE DC after she completed her master’s degree.

AH: Did she take community-engaged scholarship courses?

GS: I don’t recall what she did as an undergraduate but we do not do as much engaged scholarship in graduate courses as we do at the undergraduate level. Many of our graduate students are working in various jobs, some of which are more connected to our graduate work than others. But, I can’t say we have strong engaged scholarship in the graduate program like we do in a lot of our undergraduate program courses.

AH: Moving forward, do you have any recommendations on how we would provide an indicator for the impact of your course(s)?

GS: Well, in the student-evaluations that students complete at the end of the semester, we might fold in some questions that ask them not just if they had a good experience or if they enjoyed their service-learning or engaged scholarship position, but we might also ask something more pointed. We might ask about their assessment of their engaged scholarship, or how their work outside of the university affected their academic work, and did they view them as two separate worlds or did they see an interaction between the two? Did their engaged scholarship help them in their academic work, or did it help them make more sense in their readings and in their writings? It would be interesting to see. My guess is that there would be some variation. Some students I fear would say that it was two separate spheres, which is what we are trying not to do. We are trying to integrate the two, but I do not know how much we have attempted to evaluate students or do this type of research to find out how they understand the value of their engaged scholarship.

AH: What would you say to a student who is unsure about taking a service-learning course?

GS: I think they should try it. In a sense, any course is a risk, particularly any elective. But, if they are unsure, it is all the more reason they should take one, and depending on how that goes, they can make a more informative decision as to whether or not they want to take more. But you know, we often say that engaged scholarship is not necessarily for everyone. Particularly, more from a faculty perspective, we are not saying that every faculty member has to be doing this type of research, but we would like to enable, encourage, and incentivize them to do this type of work if this is what they want to do. But you know, it is not something for everybody,. Those who feel that they would get a lot out of this type of activity should be encouraged to do more engaged scholarship, while those who have done it in one or two courses and found that this didn’t help them or further advance their objectives probably should not pursue it. But for a student who has never done this and is trying to decide whether or not they want to do it, I would say yes, try at least one course.

AH: I completely agree with that. I think also after trying it, they can decide whether they want to continue to take more or just volunteer.

GS: Right.

AH: As you mentioned, everyone has their own career path and interests, and it doesn't hurt to try.

GS: Or get their MBA!

Breakfast Conversations on Community-Engaged Scholarship: Dissemination of Student Research

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On March 29th, the Nashman Center held another session in our series of Breakfast Conversations on Community-Engaged Scholarship. At this session, on Dissemination of Student Research, Nashman Faculty at GWU discussed disseminating student research to the largest audience possible.

Michelle Kelso from the Sociology Department, Phyllis Ryder from the University Writing Department, Dana Hines from the Nursing School, and Christopher Klemek from the History Department shared their experiences.

In Professor Kelso’s class, she had students evaluate a local non-profit organization. The students collected information, created surveys, and wrote 20-page papers on their research. 

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Another great representation of community work in the classroom is Phyllis Ryder’s University Writing Class. Students were assigned to write about social change. Some of her students have been published - read some of their contributions here.

Professor Hines' project involved students in the nursing school, who made a powerful impact within the transgender community as a result of their research.

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Professor Klemek and students from his class have created a community history project where they go to local communities in the D.C. area and collect historical data. They partnered with local community organizations to research the history of local areas. 

Student research can be submitted here for the Julian Clement Chase Prize, which is a $1,000 prize that recognizes exceptional research writing projects focused on the District of Columbia in all undergraduate classes and in all disciplines at the George Washington University.

Want to get involved with Community-Engaged Scholarship at GW, or are you already doing work that centers the needs of the community with your students? We’d love to meet you. Our next breakfast conversation will be on April 19, 2018 from 9:45-10:45 a.m. in the Churchill Center at the Gelman Library.