Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty. (2011). Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research. St. Charles, MO: Lindenwood University.
Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty. (2011). Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research. St. Charles, MO: Lindenwood University.
Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty. (2011). Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research. St. Charles, MO: Lindenwood University.
Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty. (2011). Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research. St. Charles, MO: Lindenwood University.
Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty. (2011). Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research. St. Charles, MO: Lindenwood University.
Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty. (2011). Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research. St. Charles, MO: Lindenwood University.
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty. (2011). Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research. St. Charles, MO: Lindenwood University.

99

Published on

Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty. (2011). Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research. St. Charles, …

Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty. (2011). Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research. St. Charles, MO: Lindenwood University.

Published in: Education, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
99
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, September 21-23, 2011 1 Models of Common Ground for Social Action, Community Development, and Scholarly Research Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Dan Folkman, Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Devarati S. Syam, Rey Ty Community-based programs are a valuable component of the service mission for higher education institutions. While this can provide a way for higher education to have a broad impact, there are issues of access, negotiation of expectations, and challenges for continued support and changing political priorities that can impact the success of these partnerships. This paper discusses some of the challenges and provides three examples where theoretical approaches for collaboration and learning meet practice in the real complex world. These include a refugee project where women are encouraged to keep their traditions in a new context, a college promotion program embedded in four schools serving Native American children, and a transition-to-work program to serve urban residents in a job training and placement program. Each of these programs meet the needs of specific groups through a collaborative and integrated approach where the learning moves equally between the providers and those being served. Introduction Community-based programs and collaborative efforts to connect researchers, faculty, students, and community members have become central to higher education in the last decade. Collaborative work helps bridge the town and gown divide and provides expertise for nonprofit groups who depend on volunteers or service projects to achieve their mission and goals. Through community work, the classroom learning is expanded and practiced in the real world. Students actually are able to see the consequences of theoretical action and are able to understand the complex systems that make up everyday living. Much adult education theory draws upon these linkages between theory and practice: Kolb’s (1984) Experiential Learning, Belenky et al. (1986), Women’s Ways of Knowing, Mezirow’s (1991) Transformative Learning, Argyris’ (1985) Action Science, and others. During the MR2P conference in 2010, a discussion began about ways to engage social action, community development, and scholarly research through adult education graduate programs and outreach. This presentation will continue that conversation and describe three models that are currently underway at different universities in the Midwest. Each of the models are presented in other papers at this conference describing the programs and some of the issues working with the projects. In this paper and presentation, we will discuss the process of collaboration, the negotiation of access and support, and the roles of the researchers. We appreciate the opportunities to work together and share our stories of collaboration. As was stated in last year’s presentation “We believe that the conference could be a safe space for graduates of adult education programs to return and reflect on their experience trying to implement this new learning back in the real workplaces” (Folkman & Glowacki-Dudka, 2010, p. 108).
  • 2. Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, September 21-23, 2011 2 Models of Community Based Learning Weaving for Refugee Women (Maria and Rey) Our first model of community-based learning involves the Weaving for Women Project that began in 2008 as a component of the Karen Farm Project in Indianapolis, Indiana. The framework that guides this research comes from Freire (2005) and Zinn (2003) who both emphasized the value of having a historical, social, and cultural view of society and education. In a meaningful educational environment, using non-formal and informal education, teaching and learning go both ways as program facilitators and participants co-learn from one another and co- construct knowledge. Traditional refugee services communicate one-way and lead top-down. They involve assimilation techniques for teaching refugees about U.S. mainstream culture, as well as skills for interviewing in order to get a job, such as in a factory. Instead of taking on an assimilation approach, this project uses an integration approach that deviates from the standard practices in providing services to refugees. By engaging in a dialogue with approximately twenty refugee women from Burma, the stakeholders of the Refugee Resource and Research Institute of Indianapolis, learned about the history, experiences, and cultures of refugees, from which programs, such as the weaving project, are collaboratively developed, which empower the refugees. Maria D. Beltran-Figueroa works with a refugee resource organization to support the refugees. She previously was a resettlement coordinator and has much experience in peace work and issues of human rights and displaced peoples. Rey Ty works with her as a mentor and colleague. Maria was able to gain trust of the Burmese families through her open and humble approach. She was able to initiate co-learning with the families during home visits and through monthly meetings at a community center. Instead of directing the families into factory work or other prescribed employment, the objective is to have both men and women get involved in traditional activities that are not only culturally appropriate, human rights-based but also gender sensitive as well. The projects also aim to give refugees the opportunity to continue their traditions to which their children would be able to relate, even while they are being raised in a culture completely different from their parents’. While, both women and men in some of the refugee groups work in farms, but generally women stay at home to care for their children. Therefore, the women refugees were asked what they would like to do, if they cannot work in the farm. They replied that they want to continue to weave. They described the kind of looms to which they are accustomed, the kind of thread that they need, and the type of clothing and other accessories such as sarongs, traditional bags, and head-pieces that they will produce. They were then asked what they intended to do with the woven items. According to the women who spoke some English, the woven clothing items will be sold to their community, while the accessories may be sold in specialty stores. The women organized themselves and identified those who were indeed willing to fully commit to the project. Seven back strap looms were ordered from Thailand and were distributed. The women refugees themselves made the decision regarding who would have access to the looms first and the schedule of their use. Support for purchasing the looms and the first supply of thread were obtained with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Karen Farm Project. Challenges encountered include shipment and sourcing of materials that the weavers prefer. For example, the thread is only available from Thailand. The other challenge is finding a
  • 3. Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, September 21-23, 2011 3 market outside the refugee community. It is has not been easy making the weavers understand that they could sell their products to the local community and even beyond if they are willing to diversify their choice of colors and designs. The weavers stick to their traditional colors and design because they have not begun to understand and study the preference of their host culture. Delicate Dance of Partnership Evaluation (Devarti) The second model program highlights partnerships in K-12 schools to create and increase college access for low-income and first-generation students. The state university system is interested creating and sustaining collaboration and partnerships for educational reform through programming at the school level. They encourage different agencies to work together in the school buildings in order to impact the lives of children and families. Three of the four schools in Northern Wisconsin are tribal schools serving approximately 500 Native American students. However, even though partnerships are almost the norm in educational reform, they are not easy to create or sustain. Devarati Syam has been working as an evaluator with this college access program for the last five years. As an evaluator, she met with the group of six partners on a bi-monthly basis where they discussed the various issues arising in the process of implementing the program. As the facilitator of these group meetings, her task was to keep the conversation close to the program data and to describe the patterns that emerged from closely reviewing the trends. Devarati soon realized that the stories always centered on aspects of how program coordinators constantly ran into different barriers working within the school. She noticed that the program implementers paid surprisingly little attention to understand and foster relationships with the school. Given this situation, her intervention was two-fold. She tried to show the partners the connection between the success of the program services and outcomes to the school environment. Although the partners would agree rhetorically that the success of their program was dependent on their relationship with school personnel, it was a delicate dance to convince them that this relationship had to improve. The second step was to actually go out and gather data from the school personnel about their expectations from the college access program, whether it was meeting their needs, and what could be done differently to foster a more healthy partnership. It took almost a year to persuade the partners that such a study would help improve the partnership process and enhance the program implementation. Some partners were concerned that Devarti was evaluating their job performance as she spoke with school personnel. Fortunately, she was able to frame the study as a way to enhance practice. She also let them engage in the design of the study. They were able to negotiate and to jointly develop a study design and interview questionnaire. Their initial hesitation melted when they were actually convinced that there was no agenda to doing this study other than using the information for improving their own practice. The largest task was one of gaining the trust of the partners that was built over time. Transitional Jobs Program (Dan) The TJP is a job-training program being developed and implemented through a collaborative partnership that includes two nonprofit community agencies and a small network of local businesses. The need for this program stems from a surprising dilemma: high and persistent unemployment among central city residents and frustration among local employers who find it extremely difficult to find a dependable workforce with minimal employability skills (White,
  • 4. Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, September 21-23, 2011 4 2008). Within this context, the non-profit agencies and several local businesses have developed a job training and placement program that addresses this dual dilemma. Future employees are recruited from within the surrounding neighborhood while the employers commit to helping develop the curriculum, provide training, and hire from within the pool of trainees. While this program was being developed, the business partners came to the planning table with no expectation of grants or other financial incentives. This was a win-win situation. The employers were looking to gain access to job ready employees who would be dependable workers while the residents would find access to desperately needed employment. As this program was being developed, the State of Wisconsin issued a request for proposals to design and implement a transitional jobs program that would move unemployed central city residents into job openings among local businesses. The State’s program included a minimum wage subsidy for employers if they hired from within this program. The catch was that the employees must maintain full time employment for up to 6 months while their wages are subsidized and also for another 3 months with unsubsidized wages. The planning group quickly submitted a proposal and received a two-year demonstration grant. This funding forced the planning process to move quickly into action. A recruitment and training program was distilled from the on-going planning efforts and the first cohort of 12 trainees was started in October 2010. The modified training consisted to two weeks of intensive screening, orientation, training, and interviewing for positions among the business partners. The partnering businesses maintained discretion in selecting candidates. Candidates not being hired by the employers were offered jobs in several non-profit agencies. In short, the TJ program was able to get off to a quick start. At the end of two weeks trainees participants were being offered employment in either local business or non-profit agencies. By June 2011 six cohort groups totaling 36 trainees have completed this training. Seventy-eight percent (28 participants) have found employment. Among these, 22 participants remain in subsidized position and 6 have been promoted to unsubsidized status by their employer. Conversely, only 6 trainees have been terminated and two have exhausted their six months of subsidized wages and have not been hired by their employer. While this program was getting underway, Wisconsin witnessed a sudden shift in State politics with a Republicans winning the governorship and control of both houses in the state legislature. Almost immediately, the state transitional jobs program was slated to be cut halfway through its two-year funding cycle. Over the past three months, continued funding was being promised, but at what level. Rather than simply end the program, the TJP staff began planning a transition from a state subsidized, non-profit program to a for-profit LLC employment agency. This political situation and decision to move toward becoming an LLC has triggered a series of critical questions for the TJP staff including: a. How to maintain commitment to the underlying value of “serving” the community to operating a for-profit business that requires balancing risk, income, and cash flow. b. How to wind down a publicly funded program while starting a small business enterprise simultaneously. c. Will the business partners continue to hire from the LLC pool of trainees when there is no subsidy for wages and program operation? d. Will the trainees participate in recruitment, screening, and training sessions without receiving minimum a wage stipend as was the case with the grant program? As of this writing (August 5, 2011) the State just informed the TJP that not only will their funding remain untouched but that their grant is being extended for another year. On one level
  • 5. Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, September 21-23, 2011 5 this is really good news. The TJP staff now has more time to make their transition to a for-profit employment agency. On the other level, this highly political environment has wrecked havoc on the TJP staff on both a professional and personal level. The political environment has not only made planning for the TJP program difficult but also it has wrecked havoc on the emotional well being of the staff in terms of coping with the threat to their own financial survival. Can they count of continued State funding or will there be new cuts over the horizon? At the moment the best course of action is to take full advantage of the additional state funding while continuing to lay the foundation for an eventual transition to a for-profit, employment agency. Conclusions and Analysis Each of these examples describes the collaborative approach to working with specific audiences within unique contexts. They each draw on the Freirian notions of dialogue and equity in learning. The women who are weaving are able to continue their traditions and have some sense of stability in their lives, although they have been uprooted from their home nations. They are able to determine their future and commit to their values, while being able to make a new home in the US. The partners who are implementing the college preparation programs in Northern Wisconsin developed trust as they realized that the evaluator and the partners were all working toward the same goals of improving practice to have better outcomes for the programs. Evaluation is often seen as a summative and high-stakes process, but when it is reframed to be formative and supportive of learning goals, those involved are more likely to respond in a positive and open way. The Transitional Jobs Program in Milwaukee is an innovative public and private partnership that has much local support, but as the political winds shift within the state, strategic planning for program survival suffers. Through a collaborative partnership and demonstrated performance outcomes, the JTP program staff will take advantage of an additional year of State funding while at the same time keeping open the option of becoming a for-profit employment agency. While higher education institutions were not at the center of all these programs, they did lend support, credibility, expertise, and visioning to them. Also the theories that are held at the core of adult education, underpin these groups and help frame the approach for democracy and human rights. References Argyris, C. (1985). Action science: Concepts, methods, and skills for research and intervention. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., & Tarule, J. M. (1997). Women's ways of knowing: The development of self, voice and mind. Tenth anniversary edition. New York: Basic Books. Folkman, D. & Glowacki-Dudka, M. (September, 2010). From Research to Practice to Researching Practice. Paper presented at the Midwest Research to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community, and Extension Education (MR2P). East Lansing, Michigan: 106-112. https://www.msu.edu/~mwr2p/proceedings_5.pdf . Freire, P. (2005) Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.
  • 6. Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, September 21-23, 2011 6 Kolb, D. A. (1984), Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass. Saltmarsh, J. (2008). Why Dewey Matters. The Good Society, 17(2): 63. Zinn, H. (2003). A people’s history of the United States: 1492 –present. New York: Harper Perennial. ________________________________________________________________________ Maria Beltran-Figueroa, Refugee Resource and Research Institute. 2012 Beach Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46240-2764, (317) 332-2658, figueroa2012@comcast.net Dan Folkman, Associate Professor, Urban Community Development, School of Continuing Education, UW-Milwaukee, 161 West Wisconsin Avenue Suite 6000, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203, 414-227-3285, folkman@uwm.edu Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Adult, Higher, and Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana 47306, Mdudka@bsu.edu Devarati S. Syam, School of Continuing Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Ste 6000, Milwaukee, WI-53203, Phone: 414-227-3232/414-430-3069, Fax: 414-227-3168, devasyam@uwm.edu Rey Ty, International Training Office, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, 815-753- 1098, rty@niu.edu Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, September 21-23, 2011.

×