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Sharing Expertise in Community-Based Learning & Research Addressing Immigration

Project Updates

For updates on this project, visit Engage Immigration, a website being built by the project leaders that includes information about the participating faculty and the project activities completed so far.


At a time when immigration debates involve extremist rhetoric and action, we believe CBL&R practices allow us to best recognize the humanity of all individuals, families, neighbors and co-workers affected by immigration. We will address the ethical and pragmatic challenges of CBL&R on immigration in order to discern best practices for liberal arts colleges, encourage more public scholarship that improves the reception of immigrants and refugees, and realize mutual benefits for newcomers, long-term residents and our campuses.

We have a particular interest in rural immigration, because 11 of the 14 ACM colleges are located outside major metropolitan areas. For over two decades, migration of foreign-born individuals to rural areas has increased, contributing to economic growth, demographic revitalization, and some political tensions. Yet research on rural immigration remains scarce. ACM faculty, staff and students are well positioned to study rural immigration through community-based learning and research due to our histories of positive engagement with our hometowns.

Note: The material below is adapted from the original project proposal.


Our project involves four stages:

  1. We begin with a workshop for the core faculty team in Northfield to start sharing our experiences and to set detailed agendas for stage two.
  2. This same group will hold four video discussions about challenges involved in running immigrant-focused CBL&R experiences based on-campus, off-campus domestically, and off-campus internationally.
  3. We will host a conference open to all ACM faculty to share lessons gained in the first two stages.
  4. We will conclude with a final video discussion among the core team to finalize project proceedings and plans for future cooperation.


Updated Jul 06, 2017

Project Goals

We have two specific goals:

  1. Discern best practices in CBL&R specific to this topic and our institutions
  2. Build a network of ACM faculty involved in engaged immigration studies

We are also well positioned to apply CBL&R practices to immigration studies off-campus, domestically and internationally, in light of our colleges’ commitments to off-campus studies. Enriching our ability to offer CBL&R immigration studies helps realize ACM’s imperative to promote educational effectiveness, particularly as faculty, staff and student diversity increases alongside diversification of our colleges’ hometowns.


Updated Jul 06, 2017


July 2017

  • Project website created with St. Olaf and Carleton staff support.

Late August 2017 

  • One-day workshop in Northfield, MN for the core faculty team and support staff to set agendas and assign leaders for video discussions.
  • Project team introduces the goals, achievements and challenges in their CBL&R immigration study experiences.

September 2017

  • Student worker hired to assist with video scheduling, website maintenance, conference planning and proceedings production.
  • Four video discussions will be planned among the core group, focusing on lessons learned and challenges remaining in our CBL&R experiences based on-campus, and off-campus internationally.

First week October 2017

  • First video discussion (staff will join as appropriate) 
  • Brief report circulated via blog post within one week of video discussion, including summaries and notes on ideas about additional questions that may prompt collaboration on papers and grants.

First week November 2017

  • Second video discussion 
  • Report written and circulated (format described above).
  • Guest speaker for conference identified and invited .

January 2018

  • Conference announced via email to ACM deans.

Mid-February 2018

  • Third video discussion 
  • Report written and circulated (format described above). 
  • March 2018 Conference registration closes.

First week April 2018

  • Fourth video discussion 
  • Report written and circulated (format described above).

Late June 2018

Larger Conference in Northfield, MN allows the project team to grow into a broader ACM-wide network. Sessions include:

  • Structured networking during formal sessions and meals
  • Guest speaker on public scholarship and immigration
  • Planning sessions for future collaboration on scholarship of teaching and learning articles, empirical research, and major grant applications
  • Planning session for the Rural Immigration Network

Project Proceedings compiled and edited (by core team members)

August 2018

  • Final video discussion sharing reactions and finalize conference proceedings.

We will end our year-long project having built an ACM network that cooperates on CBL&R projects addressing immigration from on- or off-campus sites while creating tools for ethical, effective CBL&R.

Outcomes and Significance

We intend to create lasting relationships across the ACM grounded in teaching, research and writing by doing the following:

  1. Craft a robust network by producing five products from our activities, centralized in a project website.
  2. Produce a website and blog to facilitate communication about related CBL&R activities during and after the grant project. Staff at St. Olaf and Carleton (Paul, Sharpe) will assist.
  3. Prepare an overview “proceedings” document that includes reports from our first workshop, the video discussions, the in-person conference and the final video-conference.
  4. Invite project participants to co-author one or more articles on effective cross-campus CBL&R for conferences and/or journals specializing in these pedagogies and methodologies. Good outlets for such articles and presentations include the Upper Midwest Civic Engagement Summit, Imagining America, the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement and the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, as well as disciplinary journals.
  5. Invite participants in the conference to join in the existing Rural Immigration Network (RIN), which shares information about local incorporation models across rural communities, either as board members or by teaching courses that yield RIN essays, videos or podcasts.

Finally, we anticipate that some subset of colleagues in this network will apply for additional grants to further shared research projects from foundations such as Russell Sage, Annie E. Casey, and the American Council of Learned Societies. 

Lead Partner(s)
Katherine Tegtmeyer Pak
Associate Professor, St. Olaf College
Political Science, Asian Studies
Adrienne Falcon
Director, Lecturer, Carleton College
Civic Engagement, Sociology
Emily A. Bowman
Assistant Professor, Coe College
Collaborating partner(s)
Catherine Denial
Bright Professor, Knox College
Xavier Escandell
Associate Professor, Grinnell College
Robin Johnson
Lecturer, Monmouth College
Political Science
Eric Popkin
Associate Professor, Chair, Colorado College
Jason Paul
Librarian, St. Olaf College
Research/Instruction, Emerging Technologies
Celeste Sharpe
Academic Technologist, Carleton College
Instructional Technology
ACM Program Funding
Funding Cycle
Project Duration
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