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Site Visit Will Give Faculty an Inside View of Chicago Program's Connections and Resources

Published: December 12, 2014

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"We want faculty to see how we teach and the kind of experience we offer to students," said Robyne Hart, Director of the ACM Chicago Program. That chance will come in the spring when the program sponsors a faculty site visit to Chicago.

"The site visit will take the theme of Chicago and Innovation as a way to show how the program gets students involved in cutting edge things that are happening in the city, from participatory art to community organizing and activism to start-up companies," she said.

Guichard Gallery

Andre Guichard, owner of Guichard Gallery in the Bronzeville neighborhood, hosting Chicago Program students on a field trip.

A group of faculty from ACM colleges will be selected to visit the Chicago Program on April 8-10, 2015. While they're in the city, they will interact with students, program staff, and some of the local partners — businesses, artists, organizations — that support the program's experiential components by hosting internships and seminar field trips.

"Across the program, we emphasize the interplay of theory and practice," said Hart. "Whenever possible, we bring in the point of view of practitioners, the people who are actively working throughout the city every day in the arts, entrepreneurship and business, and social justice."

Faculty will get an inside view of the program's pedagogy during the site visit by tagging along with the students in their seminar classes, an activity that proved to be popular with the program's Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) when it met in Chicago earlier this semester.

Observing a seminar showed "the richness of the Chicago Program," said Corina McKendry from Colorado College, and Alexandra White from Luther College noted that "[t]he experience was incredibly useful to me, both as an instructor and as an ACM faculty advisor." (See below for more comments from McKendry and White about the Chicago Program seminars.)

Field trip in Little Village

Chicago Program students in the Little Village neighborhood on a field trip led by Kim Wasserman (left) of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization.

The faculty selected for the site visit will also share their expertise in a class session, mini-workshop, or other contribution to the program's curriculum. "Once we know who will be visiting, we'll work with them individually to make their engagement with the students meaningful within the context of the program, as well as relevant to the faculty member's interests," Hart said.

ACM will cover the participants' expenses for travel, accommodations, and meals during the site visit. See the Call for Applications for details about applying to participate. The application deadline has been extended to January 26, 2015.

The visit to Chicago is part of ACM's ongoing Faculty Site Visits Program, which is designed to give faculty at ACM colleges opportunities to learn firsthand about consortial off-campus study sites and programs, to build connections between the site and their individual teaching and research, and to meet faculty from other ACM campuses with similar interests.


Students at the DuSable Museum

Seeing the Chicago Program seminars in action

When the Chicago Program's Faculty Advisory Committee met in Chicago this past September, participants got a taste of what the site visit will offer by joining students and faculty for the program's three seminar classes in the arts, entrepreneurship, and social justice.

The seminar on Art and Experience in the City, led by Susannah Papish, visited the DuSable Museum of African American History, one of the few institutions in the U.S. dedicated to the study and conservation of African American history, culture and art. The group engaged in a rich discussion about the museum's founder, Dr. Margaret Burroughs, and its importance to the city of Chicago.

Following is what two faculty had to say about their experiences observing the program's other two seminars.

Corina McKendry

 

Corina McKendry

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Colorado College

Corina McKendry  traveled to the city's South Side with Dorothy Burge's seminar on Human Rights and Creative Social Change in the Chicago Context for a discussion on restorative justice with Robert Spicer.

It was inspiring to hear firsthand from a national leader in restorative justice.

Spicer talked about his experiences in Chicago schools, where he was involved in using restorative justice to engage with disciplinary issues. "It is a very different approach to responding to kids doing things they shouldn't, and for thinking about the entire context in which people are behaving," McKendry said. "It helped students work out all sorts of problems [and was] transformative for the students, their families, and the entire school."

"It was very inspiring to get to hear from [Spicer] firsthand, as one of the national leaders in restorative justice, and also to hear Dorothy talk about her work with restorative justice in the community," she said. "I think it's a really amazing opportunity for students to understand the great social justice work that's going on in Chicago."

Seeing the seminar, said McKendry, was a chance "to understand in a much clearer way the richness of the Chicago Program, what students are exposed to, and the opportunity they have to think about social justice in a really rich way."

Alexandra White

 

Alexandra White

Assistant Professor of Management, Luther College

Alexandra White visited Factor 75 with Robyne Hart's Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Chicago seminar. The company, which notes on its website that "75% of your fitness comes from what you eat," makes weekly deliveries of fresh meals to its clients.

"I found the site visit to Factor 75 invaluable to really understand the experiential nature of the Chicago Program," White said. "Relaxing in a comfortable living room setting at the company's loft offices, students engaged directly with the key leadership team in an open and honest dialogue."

They gave the students an insider's view of how the start-up business had developed.

"The Factor 75 team gave the students an insider's view of how the start-up had developed — specific successes, failures, and details about the kind of culture and product that is the core of the organization. The conversation covered everything from the evolution of the product's distribution model, packaging and labels to its innovative hiring process to the culture of employee ownership Factor 75 nurtures in its employees."

"The experience was incredibly useful to me, both as an instructor and as an ACM faculty advisor," White noted. "I am able to use the story of Factor 75 as a case study in my courses, and share the story of the site visit with students interested in the ACM program to showcase the true hands-on nature of the ACM entrepreneurship program."


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