Foster Discusses Practical Engaged Scholarship Within the Academy in ‘Seamless Pursuits’ Lecture

The School of Education and the Cultural Foundations of Education Department will present Kevin Michael Foster, professor from the University of Texas at Austin, and his lecture “Seamless Pursuits: Leadership and Community to Improve Student Lives and Academic Outcomes” on Monday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. in room 002 of the Whitman School of Management. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Foster will discuss how universities can create deeply collaborative efforts to achieve community-generated goals. He will examine the ways faculty can work together with students and community members to produce work acceptable to the academy and intelligible to the community at large. The lecture will also discuss the challenges faced by scholars nationwide when personal goals are combined with community projects and how these projects translate into academic society.

Drawing from his own experiences developing partnership programs that serve minority students in Texas, Foster will explore a set of understandings that make engaged work more viable for research faculty within the reward structures of the academy.

“I’m interested in the challenges faced by community-engaged scholars nationwide,” Foster says, “especially in terms of doing work that answers their callings and desires as scholars, while also rendering them ‘productive’ according to the governing neoliberal standards widely held within the academy.”

Foster is an anthropologist at the University of Texas, with his primary focus on African American studies.  He helped start the school’s African and African diaspora studies program. He’s the founding director of the Institute for Community, University and School Partnerships (ICUSP), which leads students and teachers through professional development and research in central Texas schools. He also co-founded the Community of Brothers in Revolutionary Alliance (COBRA), a leadership group for high school boys, and under his stewardship ICUSP also sponsors VOICES, a leadership group for high school girls.