2017 - 2018 Engaged Faculty Fellows


Kimberly McGrath Moreira, Lecturer, Department of English, Composition Program 

As an Engaged Faculty Fellow, Kimberly has used this unique opportunity to further build and revise core components of community service learning into her first-year writing course titled: “The Civically Engaged Mind: What are the opportunities and impacts in a college context?” Working with The Butler Center for Service and Leadership, students are asked to choose a community partner organization related to their major or personal interest. They build relationships as both participant and observer in organizations such as The Home Team, Breakthrough Miami, UPup, SPARK, and Empowered Youth, just to name a few. It is from these community partner experiences that a series of journaling assignments known as “Small Moments” are born to show their descriptive, reflective, and critical thinking journey. Encouraged and motivated to “be engaged citizens and to cultivate their capacity to creative positive social change in their communities” (Butler Center), the “civically engaged” English 106 student builds their ability to communicate written messages that bring together the synthesis of current research as a way to lens insights from their individual community partner experience. A written discussion that motivates inquiry, critical thinking and ultimately, showing they can enter the academic discussion. Though students have been required to take this course primarily to practice and build writing skills for college, and they must produce a final project paper to show those skills, they also have an important opportunity to better connect to university service learning at an early stage in their college experience. An opportunity that has been shown to impact building knowledge, developing communication and leadership skills, examining their own value system, and even encouraging them to choose additional civic engagement courses being offered across the disciplines at the University of Miami. 

Todd Warner, PhD.- School of Education: Department of Educational and Psychological Studies 

Dr. Todd Warner received his Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2015.  Prior to joining the EPS department Dr. Warner served as the Research Director for the Misdemeanor Justice Project (MJP) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Dr. Warner’s research examines a wide range of topics in forensic psychology that promote social justice and improve community well-being.  Dr. Warner has worked closely with many community-based organizations, criminal justice agencies, and policy makers to inform public policy and systematically evaluate legal trends using data-driven approaches.  Specific areas of study include the policing of low-level offenses, factors related to racial disparities the legal system, interrogation training and practices by police, and the formulation of juvenile justice policies, particularly as it relates to issues of legal culpability.  He also holds a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Ball State University where he completed a one-year internship at Richmond State Hospital and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Kansas.  


Ashmeet Oberoi, PhD.- Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Community and Social Change Master’s Program, School of Education and Human Development

Ashmeet Oberoi is a community-engaged researcher who likes to bridge the university-community gap in her classes as well. Paolo Freire’s idea of Praxis, or a unification of reflection, theory and action, central to which is the formation of critical consciousness, is the ideology around which she designs her courses. Engaged Faculty Fellowship provided her with the resources to put in practice active engagement of students with course concepts using a combination of critical reflection and real-world applicationAs an Engaged Faculty Fellow, Ashmeet introduced a civic engagement component to EPS 371, Applied Research Methods in the Human and Social development Program to encourage purposeful inquiry. In this course, students worked with community based organizations (CBOs) to strengthen the organization’s social justice efforts through the application of research methods. The course included components of in class learning, critical reflection of research approaches, methods and design, and a service-learning piece, which engaged students in action research or Community Based Participatory Research. In partnership with these CBOs, students completed semester-long projects that gave them an opportunity to apply both quantitative and qualitative research skills for all stages of the research process – defining research questions, reviewing literature, designing data-collection measures, collecting and analyzing data, and disseminating findings. Students reflected on their experiences as a valuable learning opportunity that provided them a platform to see the value of and apply research skills in creating and supporting social change efforts in the Miami community.  


Carmen Presti, Assistant Professor of Clinical, School of Nursing and Health Studies

Dr. Presti is interested in dynamic and novel teaching strategies promoting student engagement and critical thinking. She will be incorporating civic engagement in her NUR 453 Role Transition clinical course, where students synthesize previously learned content and incorporate leadership and management skills. With the support of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, Dr. Presti plans to enhance the course with a service component where students will provide education to community partners patients and families with a goal of helping to prevent further complications from cardiovascular disease. Students will follow the experience with a reflective essay where students will describe challenges faced in providing education and assimilating leadership roles in the community.  


Christina E. Civantos, PhD-Associate Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Christina E. Civantos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Miami. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley and researches and teaches modern Hispanic and Arabic literary and cultural studies, with a focus on postcolonial studies, nationalisms, the Arab diaspora in the Americas, and the ethno-racial and gender politics of literacy. Her publications include numerous essays on these topics as well as the books Between Argentines and Arabs: Argentine Orientalism, Arab Immigrants, and the Writing of Identity (State University of New York Press,2006) and The Afterlife of al-Andalus: Muslim Iberia in Contemporary Arab and Hispanic Narratives(State University of New York Press, 2017). This recent book examines Medieval Muslim Iberia as a tool for postcolonial critique in literary and filmic narratives produced in the20th and 21st century Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and Argentina.

Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, Lecturer, Department of Geography, College of Arts and Sciences 

As an engaged faculty fellow, Ter-Ghazaryan introduced a civic engagement component to GEG310, Geographic Information Systems I. In this course, students work on a final project, which includes finding (or creating) and analyzing geospatial data and producing a map or series of maps that answer a research question and/or contribute a solution to a problem. The newly-introduced service-learning component of the course will pair students in a partnership with a community organization in need of mapping expertise.  After gaining basic technical know-how in geospatial technology, students will work with a community organization to produce maps that are of interest and/or will be beneficial to the particular community organization.