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Democratizing Knowledge Awarded Campus Dialogue Grant

2/28/2017

The Democratizing Knowledge (DK) Project is organizing a series of campus dialogues, thanks to a grant from an independent national initiative called Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP).

Tentatively titled “Creating New Publics: Understanding the Power of Place,” the series is slated for the 2017-18 academic year. It will bring together educators from Syracuse University and the community to explore how curricular and pedagogical planning can better support an increasingly diverse student body.

The series will be supported by a $5,000 Campus Dialogue Grant from BToP, matched by the University.

Marcelle Haddix, Dean’s Associate Professor and chair of reading and language arts in the School of Education, is one of the organizers. “‘Creating New Publics’ will rethink the academy in an inclusive way to support students’ intersectional identities,” she says. “This approach prepares them for not only the workforce, but also the full realization of a democratic society. It underscores our mission of training engaged citizens, scholars and leaders to succeed in a rapidly changing global society.”

Founded in 2009, the DK Project is a campuswide initiative that promotes a more open, inclusive and democratic institution. The project—and the University—has a decade-long association with BTtoP, which operates in partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Hayley Cavino G’09, the DK Project’s program coordinator, says the series seeks to reflect Democratizing Knowledge’s investment in connecting campus—faculty, staff and students—with community. “We’re interested in growing these connections through curricula and pedagogy to democratize knowledge,” says Cavino, also an adjunct instructor of Native American studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. “This grant will help us move these conversations forward to involve new participants, while promoting the power of place, as it informs educational spaces.”

Central to the grant project is the burgeoning field of institutional ethnography (IE), which is the empirical study of social relations within an organization or culture. Haddix says one might use IE to understand how policies, practices and unwritten rules affect the daily work-life of a professor at a particular university.

“IE provides a precious window into how people work within their respective institutions,” she says, adding that part of the grant award will train faculty and staff in IE research.

BTtoP is supported by the S. Engelhard Center with funding from The Charles Engelhard Foundation, The Endeavor Foundation, The Spencer Foundation and other foundations and individuals.

Adds Cavino: “We look forward to exploring productive dialogues, while working on collaborative strategies to create a more just academy.”

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