Community Engagement

In addition to being an assistant professor at the Center of Learning Innovation, I am University of Minnesota Rochester’s (UMR) Civic Engagement Scholar. In this dual role, I tap into my academic training and expertise in community-based participatory and action research to assist UMR students, faculty, staff, and senior leadership to foster sustainable, mutually beneficial partnerships and initiatives.  

CLI 2522 — Community Collaborative

Since UMR is “committ[ed] to empower students to be engaged citizens and collaborate with the local community to solve healthcare challenges” (UMR’s Public Engagement Action Plan, 2015), my role as an educator is to coordinate and teach CLI 2522–Community Collaborative (CoLab).  CoLab is an upper-level Community Engaged Learning (CEL) course at UMR that connects students, faculty, and community partners to develop projects that improve health outcomes (individual, social, community) in the Rochester community. Learn more about CLI 2522 from former UMR students.

CLi 2522 Students with Li Seng from Green Nudge

CoLab invites students to cross borders and engage on an educational journey shaped by critical community engagement. As an ethos and practice, critical community engagement is not just the logic and practice of working towards an ideal of community change. Instead, to engage critically means to work alongside individuals and groups to understand, map out, and target unjust conditions that have disallowed communities from sustaining healthy and just futures.

CLI 2522 students with YMCA‘s LiveStrong participants

CoLab introduces students to sets of knowledge, vocabularies, and methods and connects them to community-led opportunities that will help them develop practices as health science professionals that are consciously connected to the lifeworlds of the communities they serve. A pedagogical goal in CoLab, conscious connection helps students gain an awareness of how social issues manifest as health problems and introduces them to ways they can be accountable and intentional in their ongoing commitment to challenge structural, disciplinary, symbolic, and affective forms of oppression and dispossession.