CRP Receives Engaged Cornell Advancement Grant

George Frantz
George Frantz has led land use and urban design workshops throughout the area, and will work in the Hudson Valley as part of the grant. William Staffeld / AAP
Tanzania workshop
Stephan Schmidt, at left, during a workshop held in Tanzania during the summer of 2015. Schmidt will lead a second workshop in Tanzania as part of the Engaged Curriculum grant. Jeremy Swanson, Honeyguide Foundation
September 28, 2015

A group of six CRP faculty received one of the inaugural Engaged Curriculum Grants from Engaged Cornell. Awarded to 18 projects across campus, the Engaged Curriculum Grants total $930,299, and support work that places community-engaged learning at the heart of the Cornell student experience. The CRP team received a $60,000 Advancement Grant, a grant awarded to faculty working to advance "existing community-engaged courses that articulate a clear goal for further development of their program."

The CRP team includes faculty members Jeffrey Chusid, John Forester, George Frantz, Neema Kudva, Jennifer Minner, and Stephan Schmidt; Victoria Beard was also instrumental in drafting the grant application. The project brings together faculty to share experiences and best practices, improve educational outcomes, and publish results with a goal of "improving the department's practice of engaged pedagogy and research." The core team of faculty members will share their work both within the department, and with the larger campus community as well.

The workshops included in the grant range in location from Africa to Ithaca. Kudva is leading the Nilgiris Field Learning Center partnership in India, Schmidt will bring students to Tanzania in a Spatial Analysis in Development Workshop, Chusid will engage students in a Building Materials Conservation class in locations in the Northeast U.S., Frantz's work will be in the Hudson River Valley in support of the Hudson River estuary program, and Minner's land use workshop will involve M.R.P. students in phase two of the City of Ithaca's comprehensive planning process. Forester will lead a series of workshops to help faculty publish findings from the research, and also oversee regular discussions on the refinement of community engaged learning assessment methods.

"CRP has a long history of engaged learning, stretching back to the 1980s," says Susan Christopherson, professor and department chair. "We are one of only a few departments at Cornell to offer students multiple opportunities to combine theory and practice through community engagement. This grant will help us better coordinate the efforts of our workshop courses, and create greater access to our shared knowledge of what these experiences offer students."

Formed in 2014, Engaged Cornell aims to support the work of faculty who directly integrate community engagement in the curriculum. Through its grants, Engaged Cornell supports the creation of new community-engaged courses, research, and internship opportunities, as well as the further development and curricular integration of current community-engaged teaching and research initiatives.

By Rebecca Bowes