UNC Greensboro has been selected to participate in the Partnerships for Listening and Action by Communities and Educators (PLACE) Collaboratory, a highly selective community-based humanities and civic engagement initiative.
UNCG is one of 5 Greensboro institutions and just 11 institutions nationwide to participate in the initiative, which is part of the larger Bringing Theory to Practice project. The initiative is funded by an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), which serves as the host and partner to Bringing Theory to Practice.
UNCG was selected because of its national reputation for leadership in and commitment to engaging faculty, staff, and students with diverse communities through reciprocal and mutually beneficial partnerships.
“We are in a special and unique position,” said UNCG Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Dr. Terri Shelton. “We have the opportunity to harness the collective knowledge and resources of six local colleges and universities to alter the landscape of community engagement to improve the quality of life for the citizens of our region, today and for generations to come. We are grateful for the generous funding from the Mellon Foundation to enable us to undertake this important work.”
One key project that will form part of the initiative is the Reclaiming Democracy course, developed by UNCG Communication Studies Professor Dr. Spoma Jovanovic and her community and academic partners over a decade ago. The course brings together students, faculty, and alumni from UNCG, Guilford College, Elon University, Greensboro College, and N.C. A&T, to study how democracy works in our community. The collaboration is a true model of reciprocal and mutually beneficial partnerships and for that reason, is one of the two early projects the task force in convening around.
The goal of each local project will be to develop action plans grounded in community voice and enabled by academic-community partnership. The goal of the larger collaboratory will be to distill best practices for such partnerships, to model the role of the humanities in sustaining them, and to use networked collaboration to disseminate them across higher education. All projects and partnerships will include undergraduate students as key participants in the process.
Dr. Emily Janke, director of the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement and associate professor in the Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies, represents UNCG on the steering task force for the Greensboro partnership. Spoma Jovanovic (CST) and her community and academic partners who co-created the Reclaiming Democracy course over 10 years ago, which was a part of the attraction to UNCG and Greensboro specifically. This collaboration is a true model of reciprocal and mutually beneficial partnerships and for that reason, is one of the two early projects the task force in convening around.
For more information about community engagement at UNCG, visit communityengagement.uncg.edu.
To learn more about the national initiative, visit aacu.org.
Story by Eden Bloss, University Communications