Faculty Spotlight Dr. Phyllis Ryder

Nashman Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Phyllis Ryder

Professor Ryder is an Associate Professor of Writing specializing in service learning, composition, academic literacy, faculty librarian partnerships for teaching academic research, rhetoric of democracy, public and community writing. Itohan Amu, a Community Engaged Scholar at the Nashman Center, sat down with Dr. Ryder to learn more about her work.

She has two current publications. The first is a book, Rhetorics for Community Action: Public Writing and Writing Publics https://www.amazon.com/Rhetorics-Community-Action-Cultural-Pedagogy/dp/0739137662 . The second is an article about her evolving understanding of the community partners that she works with, From Reciprocity to Interdependence: Mass Incarceration and Service Learning available here http://proxygw.wrlc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eue&AN=121172789&site=ehost-live

We asked Professor Ryder how she incorporates service learning into her courses. She allows “students to work with organizations in DC in order to have a context to really think about language, writing and communication and also because it sparks some questions that students will often research”.  She made clear that she likes it because it helps people to understand that there’s a deeper purpose for the scholarship that happens at the university and understand the amount of impact that the students can make on the community by answering real world questions. Over the years, Professor Ryder has worked with over 20 community partners including: Life Pieces to Masterpieces, DC Central Kitchen, Free Minds Book Club, US Dream Academy and many more.

During the course of her class, Professor Ryder talks about what’s actually happening among community organizations and how they conceptualize social change while doing their work and what it means to bring a community together. Professor Ryder believes that it is important for GW students and professors to be involved in the community because it forces them to keep testing their assumptions. It’s important for them to understand the issues happening today and the new layers that come with it. She stated that “what’s happening on the ground is dynamic and if we’re not plugged into that, then scholars and teachers are not necessarily doing their scholarship fully and are teaching in a limited way. Having that engagement with community keeps them humble and keeps them to adapt theories and goals.”

The Nashman Center appreciates Dr. Ryder’s work as a Nashman Affiliate, she chairs the Black Lives Matter Faculty Learning Community learn more about their work here and community engaged work in her course which you can learn more about here.

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New Article Relational Social Justice Ethics for Art Therapists: Nashman Affiliate Dr. Jordan Potash

New Article! Nashman Affiliate Faculty Member Jordan Potash: Relational Social Justice Ethics for Art Therapists in Art Therapy

Abstract: Relational social justice integrates psychological theories and practices with political and social change paradigms to situate relationships as central to ethical decision making. The core of this approach entails strong assurance of human rights and commitment to dialogue across racial, cultural, social, and political differences. Typical patterns that characterize protesters and opponents as enemies are replaced with both functioning as partners in the quest for social change. Art therapists can employ the relational approach to ethics when engaging with policymakers, colleagues, and clients to challenge injustice and reimagine societal norms.

Download article here through Gelman Library Access: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07421656.2018.1554019

Learn more about Dr. Potash’s work here: http://arttherapy.columbian.gwu.edu/jordan-potash and here  http://www.jordanpotash.com/

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Nashman Faculty Spotlight: Erin Wentzell

Erin Wentzell is an assistant clinical professor in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Health, Human Function and Rehabilitation Science and the Academic Director for Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency between GW Physical Therapy program and Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is part of our Nashman Affiliated Faculty and recently Itohan Amu, a Scholar with the Nashman Community Engaged Scholarship team sat down to learn more about Wentzell’s work.

As an instructor Wentzell teaches a community engaged service-learning course called “Interprofessional Community Practicum”, which discusses health equity, social determinants of health, and how health is impacted by community and socio demographic factors. Professor Wentzell incorporates service learning into her course, her students work with community partners in the DC area who work with underserved populations. Students hear about the communities in class but are able to see it face to face and understand it better through their service and partnership.

Professor Wentzell and her course work with community partners that look at health in a broader sense in underserved populations. Catalysts sports, Whitman Walker Health and Youth Services, Washington Senior Wellness, Department of Defense, HSC Kids in Action adaptive sports program, NRH adaptive sports and boxing program, The Playtime Project, the National Park Service just to name a few. While teaching this course, professor Wentzell has learned that she’s not the only one out there doing community engaged scholarship. She is motivated by the amazing people in the DC area with a level of passion and engagement. She noted that while “it takes a lot of upfront work to set up partnerships, there is nothing compared to it, because students end up learning from it, the community benefits from it, and we are proud of it at the end.”

Wentzell believes that it is important for GW professors and students to be involved in the community because they need to realize that we are all neighbors and part of the Foggy Bottom community. However, she notes it is also important that we ensure it is reciprocal relationship, the community helps the students grow and develop and we can make an impact in the community and that makes the community a better place for all of us.

Wentzell imparted some healthy wisdom to an outside of GW audience recently check out her quote in w Outside magazine https://www.outsideonline.com/2393660/ask-your-doctor-if-nature-right-you

Dr. Cleary's Community-Engaged Scholarship Highlighted in GW Today!


Dr. Sean D. Cleary, a member of the Nashman Affiliate Faculty, is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. His work with young adults with autism for class “The Autism Experience: A Public Health Perspective” has been highlighted in GW Today!

We are excited to see a spotlight on the excellent work that Dr. Cleary and his colleagues are doing! Check out the article here. Check out more of our great Nashman Affiliate Faculty here.

Faculty Spotlight: Manuel Cuellar

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Nana Evison, a scholar at the Nashman Center, spoke with Dr. Manuel Cuellar, one of our Nashman Affiliated Faculty about his Community-Engaged Scholarship. You can learn more about Nashman Affiliates here.

Dr. Cuellar is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literatures and Cultures in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, in the Department of Romance, German, and Slavic Languages and Literatures. His research and teaching at GWU are centered on Mexican and Latin American literary and cultural studies on race, gender, and sexuality using ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, and studies of contemporary and classical Nahuatl.

We asked Cuellar to describe his work and how he incorporated it into his course, SPAN 4480 Studies in Latinx Cultural Production. “My work looks at the role of movement and dance, in particular, in Mexico in public spaces. I study how dance became crucial to understanding questions of national belonging at the beginning of the twentieth century in Mexico right after the Mexican Revolution of 1910. For over twenty years I have been a traditional Mexican folk dancer. One way I have been able to incorporate my knowledge and expertise in Mexican dance is to bring it to the classroom and extrapolate that to service.”

He stresses the importance of rehearsal. “At the end of the day, that is what my students do in the classroom; they rehearse ideas. They’re trying to understand different concepts about Latin America and Latinx communities in the United States by thinking critically and rehearsing what it means to interrogate these questions about national belonging, gender, sexuality, and interracial diversity in Latin America and the US.”

We wanted to know Dr. Cuellar’s thoughts about community-engaged scholarship and collaborating with people outside of classrooms. “I think when you think of Latinidad, you usually imagine the Mexican American community on one hand, and the Caribbean diaspora on the other. However, the largest population of Latinx people in the area are from Central America, particularly from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. We need to think about how we engage these particular communities, not just theoretically, especially if we think of the students that we get here at GW: their lived experiences and backgrounds.”

In talking about the community-engaged scholarship that students do in his course, Cuellar notes, “I want them to be flexible in terms of the kinds of service that they can provide, considering their internships and paid jobs, and not to think of this as a burden but as an opportunity to enhance their learning. My responsibility as a professor is to enhance my students’ knowledge and to have them think about how knowledge is created, and the places where that knowledge is created. Without doing community engaged work, we wouldn’t really get to that part. Knowledge can’t be reduced to the classroom. We work with different kinds of organizations because in our department we have an incredible program; it is called Operación Impacto; that is run by one of my colleagues, Dolores Perillan. She has already created an incredible network of various communities. This vast network consists of the Latin American Youth Center, Somos Familia, and DC Bilingual, to only name a few.”

The Nashman Center is delighted to have Manuel Cuellar as a Nashman Affiliated Faculty Member. To learn more about Community Engaged Scholarship Courses, click here.

Class Spotlight: Social Problems in America


Professor Gregor D. Squires, a Nashman Affiliate Faculty member and Professor of Sociology and Public Policy & Public Administration, will be teaching the Social Problems in America (SOC 2105) Engaged Scholarship/Service-Learning class in Fall 2019. The Nashman Faculty Update wanted to highlight this class for those who might be interested as registration comes up soon!

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The class aims to integrate students into the city to see first-hand the problems addressed in the readings, lectures, films, and other classroom activities. It includes guest speakers who are actively engaged in addressing critical issues facing the DC community, attendance and analysis of an event in DC (e.g. Congressional hearing, theatrical performance, political demonstration, museum exhibit) and volunteering with a local non-profit advocacy or service delivery organization. The final paper will be an assessment of the causes, consequences, and potential solutions of a critical social problem based on students’ experiences on and off campus.

To read more about the class, check out the page from Fall 2018 on GivePulse here. You can also check out our previous interview with Professor Squires here.

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Nashman Affiliate Faculty Leslie Jacobson Honored at Women's Work Event

Professor Leslie Jacobson, a Nashman Affiliate Faculty member and chair of the Faculty Learning Community on Community Engagement and the Arts, was honored at a retirement celebration commemorating her 42 years of teaching at GW and her commitment to students and the community. Read the coverage in GW Today about the event here.

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Nashman Affiliate Faculty Dr. Scully Wins the Morton A. Bender Teaching Award

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Dr. Tara Scully, a Nashman Affilated Faculty member and Assistant Professor of Biology, will be recognized at the 9th Annual Faculty Honors Ceremony, which will take place on Tuesday, April 23rd, at 4:00 p.m. in the Jack Morton Auditorium. She will be recognized, along with several other teachers, and awarded the Morton A. Bender Teaching Award, which awards $1,000 to faculty for professional development. You can find more information about the event here and more information about the Morton A. Bender Teaching Awards here.

Dr. Scully has been an incredible asset to her students, teaching one of the largest service-learning classes at GW, with over 100 students. She shared her experiences with the Nashman Center in a faculty spotlight that we highly recommend you take a look at here. Congratulations to Dr. Scully for the well-earned award!

Women's Works: Compiled and Directed by Leslie Jacobson


This event is a celebration of Professor Leslie Jacobson's over 40-year career at GW as a professor of theatre and an advocate for social change through the arts. “Women's Works celebrates theatre's ability to awaken our empathy and inspires us to make positive social change.” Selections from Strangers in Their Own Land, The Body Project, Evil, Vanishing Point, Migratory Tales, The South Africa Projects, A...My Name Is Alice - among other plays and musicals - come together to illuminate the power of story.

March 28, 2019 at 7:30PM
March 29, 2019 at 7:30PM
March 30, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.
March 31, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.

Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre, Marvin Center

Purchase tickets online here

This production is accompanied by a panel discussion on the power of theatre to be a catalyst for social change. Link here for more information on that event.

New Podcast from Nashman Affiliate Faculty Gaetano Lotrecchiano on Teams and Collaboration

New Podcast from Nashman Affiliate Faculty Gaetano Lotrecchiano on Teams and Collaboration

We are sharing a recent podcast from Nashman Affiliate Faculty Dr. Gaetano Lotrecchiano on how to build effective teams. The podcast is part of a series on “Research Into Action.” A transcript of the podcast is also available at the site. https://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/research/podcast/e142/?fbclid=IwAR2DgX_xUwIjLM_tXhsaFW7QODy0sdcljWPwIkN7AxQkSvBEAlUQ_cqaWIk.

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