2015 - 2016 Engaged Faculty Fellows

Sumita Dutt, Department of History and Women’s and Gender Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences

With the Engaged Faculty Fellowship Sumita Dutt developed a new course in History, entitled “M.K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr: Call to Civic Engagement” which is scheduled for Fall 2016. This course studies the works of M.K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. and their legacies and impact in the field of community service and civic engagement. The course is structured to reflect critically upon the uses of history and past social justice engagements such as the ones Gandhi and King led, and their value in addressing issues of our times. The civic engagement component of the course where students work closely with community partners allow historical and theoretical learning to be applied out of the academy and into real world context. Sumita is working the logistics of student involvement (20 hours) with two different organizations that work in Miami-Dade County, namely City Year Miami and Community Justice Project. Students will be paired with these community-based organizations to work in areas of economic justice and education access.

Yui Matsuda, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Health Sciences

As an Engaged Faculty Fellow, Matsuda has strengthened the civic engagement component of NUR440, Population and Community Health Nursing. In this course, students are assigned to a community agency and spend a total of 43 hours engaging in a population nursing process (assessing the community, and planning, implementing, and evaluating a health education program in the form of a health fair). Students reflect on their experiences through post-clinical conferences with a clinical instructor and in-class activities. Matsuda has worked closely with the Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research (El Centro; P60MD002266) at the School of Nursing and Health Studies to formalize a structure to support the logistics of health fairs. Furthermore, Matsuda is collaborating with El Centro to conduct a research study examining the long-term impacts of these health fairs.

Alexandra Perisic, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, College of Arts and Sciences

With the help of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, Alexandra Perisic was able to design a new service-learning course entitled “New Caribbean Spaces: Immigration and Cultural Production.” Students gained first-hand insight into the immigrant experience by volunteering at either the Little Haiti Cultural Center or Fanm Ayisyen nan Miami (Haitian Women in Miami).Their work on the anti-gentrification campaign in Little Haiti and the after-school program at LHCC allowed them to think critically about the difference between charity and solidarity. They were able to establish more personal connections to the texts studied in class, and realize the importance (and difficulty) of building alliances across race and class differences.

Andrew Porter, School of Nursing and Health Studies

Andrew Porter applied to be an Engaged Faculty Fellow to build and foster connection between his students, community partners, and Miami. With the guidance of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, he transformed his Contemporary Health Issues in South Florida seminar into a service-learning course. He partnered with six local public health related agencies where students worked a minimum of 20 hours over the course of the semester. Students wrote a series of five reflective journals, which helped the entire class build meaningful dialog and gain perspective on the relationship between learning and service. The semester ended with a poster presentation session where the community partners joined students to celebrate a wide range of impressive accomplishments and partnerships.

Jan Sokol-Katz, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences

BIO After developing the Sociology Department's service learning/civic engagement Internship SOC 365 course, Jan Sokol-Katz became an engaged faculty fellow for the purpose of incorporating civic engagement and community based learning into her Juvenile Delinquency SOC 370 course. Facilitated by a partnership with the local nonprofit Exchange for Change, her students participated in a series of written exchanges with students attending a local alternative high school for girls, PACE, covering the phenomenon of juvenile delinquency and the social policies developed to address such behavior, and culminating in a workshop at the University of Miami where the UM and PACE students developed strategies to best contend with the issues faced by at-risk youth. In the fall of 2016, the partnership will expand to a coed court mandated alternative school, AMIKIDS, Miami.