Preparing Publicly Engaged Scholars

Preparing Publicly Engaged Scholars: A Guide to Innovation in Doctoral Education offers examples of approaches to doctoral education responsive to the diverse aspirations of current and future generations of PhD students. It explores a range of curricular and program innovations, from introducing graduate students to career pathways beyond the academy, to collaborative archival research with community partners, to incorporating land-based pedagogy in connecting and supporting Indigenous students. Below is a brief insight into each of the contributions. Explore the report for more.

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Working with Communities
“Working with Communities,” the first section of Preparing Publicly Engaged Scholars, brings together pieces exploring how students can become involved in community-engaged work and what values need to be prioritized in working with communities.
“Build Bridges not Walls: Connecting Campus and Community,” by Deborah A. Boehm (University of Nevada, Reno), Esmeralda Salas, Margarita Salas Crespo, and Alana Walls, traces how involvement with immigrant justice work and advocating for change in the education landscape can both draw on students’ previous life experience and help build new knowledge and future careers.
“Caring for Stories in Community-Engaged Research and Coalitional Work for Justice,” by Rachel Bloom-Pojar (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee) and Danielle Koepke, describes how graduate students can learn to prioritize “practices of care” in using their research skills to work with communities, through examining a community writing project around reproductive (in)justice with promotores de salud (health promoters).
“Putting a Human Face to Public Humanities through Digital Storytelling,” by Cathy Gudis (University of California, Riverside) and Victoria Romano, uses the community-engaged work of the Los Angeles Poverty Department’s Skid Row History Museum & Archive to show how faculty and graduate students get drawn into the work by community-engaged organizations.
In the Classroom
“In the Classroom—Learning Together” explores how publicly and community-engaged humanities methods can be learned in the classroom, whether in conventional seminars or in courses that are themselves based in community spaces.
“Teaching Public Humanities in Practice,” by Jessica Friedman and Elizabeth Son (Northwestern University), gives an overview of graduate programs and courses in the public humanities, and offers Son’s course at Northwestern as an example of how to facilitate graduate student engagement.
“Public Humanities Pedagogies, Justice-Centered Methodologies, and Community Empowerment,” by Stacie McCormick (Texas Christian University), Lorenzo Casanova, Jason A. Smith, Kelly Franklin, and Dallas Brister, describes the course “Contemporary African American Literature: Theorizing Livable Black Futures” and shares four students’ engagement and plans for their future publicly engaged work, including projects on Black girl literacy and storytelling, queer of color voices in rural communities, critical literature pedagogy, and a disability-studies website.
“Combahee Taught Us: Care and Collaboration in Black Feminist Pedagogical Praxis,” by Treva Lindsey (The Ohio State University), LC Johnson, and Tyiesha Radford Shorts, traces the lineages of community education for Black liberation, and the creation of the Black Feminist Night School during Dr. Lindsey’s fellowship as a virtual community learning space deeply grounded in Black feminist goals.
Supporting Students’ Selves and Futures
“Supporting Students’ Selves and Futures” explores the department, university, and funding structures, approaches, and programming that can support students in publicly engaged work, work against racism and colonial presents, and open up new possibilities for students’ future careers.
“Weaving a Web Together: How to Create Accountability and Support Structures for Graduate Students,” by Lando Tosaya, Laura Irwin, and Ralina L. Joseph (University of Washington), is a conversation about how consciously formed cohorts of new graduate students and co-mentorships can help build webs to work against racism and sexism in the university.
“A Canoe Concept Toward Sustained Indigenous Connections,” by Malia Baricuatro, Annie Fay Camacho, Gabriella Colello, Jonathan U. Guerrero, Johansen Pico, and Tiara R. Na’puti (University of California, Irvine), centers Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander student experiences to address developing land-based education and critical indigenous pedagogy as approaches for graduate education.

“Being a part of a university that acknowledges the wisdom of Indigenous masters and gives them the same respect and resources as any other academic has empowered me to believe that I have a future in academia where my work is a valued part of the solution and not merely historical reporting of ‘ancient societies.'”—Annie Fay Camacho, “A Canoe Concept Toward Sustained Indigenous Connections”
A traditional canoe is being built by the shore on a field of grass.
“Enabling Community-Engaged and Public-facing PhDs,” by Jonathan Anjaria (Brandeis University) and Moriah King, draws out both process and individual trajectories to offer practical and hopeful strategies for students and departments alike in enabling community-engaged graduate work. These strategies emerge in part from their experiences working in research positions within government.
“Exploring Diverse Justice-Driven Careers for Publicly Engaged Doctoral Students,” by Sandra Ristovska (University of Colorado Boulder) and Nandi Pointer, reflects on a career diversity series on visual media, justice and human rights, the value both graduate students and faculty found in the series, and some recommendations to enable similar programs.

“Many of us came to the humanities and humanistic social sciences because we believe in their transformative power. We owe it to our students and ourselves to do our part in helping to create and sustain the institutional infrastructures needed to support publicly engaged research that advances positive societal outcomes. A justice-drive career diversity series is just one small way forward.”—Sandra Ristovska and Nandi Pointer, “Exploring Diverse Justice-Driven Careers for Publicly Engaged Doctoral Students”
Nandi Pointer, a collaborator of Sandra Ristovska, 2021 Scholars and Society fellow, standing outside a restaurant with friends and colleagues.

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