Equity Centered Community Engaged Teaching

The Equity Center – UVA seeks to

  • Tangibly redress racial and economic inequity in university communities through authentic community collaboration, fair treatment of community experts, and intentionally leave data and benefits of our research with the community. 
  • Model and teach students a unified theory of community-based scholarship for social change. 
  • Disseminate theoretical knowledge and practical experience to reduce inequity in Charlottesville, and globally.

The Equity Center is committed to equity centered community-engaged teaching and learning through the promotion of courses that seek to structure community partnerships and train students for engagement in ways that advance the following:

  1. Co-production: practicing power-sharing, self-reflection, and genuine collaboration
  2. Responsibility: beginning with an ethic of “first, do no harm" and ending with accountability to community partners in order to contribute to the equal and basic rights of all members of society
  3. Equity: producing knowledge that advances social justice through the fair and equitable treatment of community experts.
  4. Authentic Partnership: respecting, centering and honoring local knowledge and priorities, and approaching our own expertise with humility
  5. Mutuality: promoting reciprocal learning and mutually beneficial outcomes

Some examples of equity-centered community engaged teaching can be found by examining the Civic and Community Enagement (CCE) courses led, by Equity Center faculty, spearheaded by Bonnie Gordon with support from Ellen Blackmon and Rose Cole.  Starting in 2016 and still going strong, these courses focus on engaging in the community in ways that are both impactful and meaningful.  CCE courses strive to maintain low enrollment numbers in an effort to facilitate relationship-building with community partners.  Additionally, with few exceptions, the courses span two semesters, carrying the same cohort of students (and their community work) from the fall to spring. 

Courses past and present include:

Hip-Hop as Technology - Jack Hamilton 

Making Art In/with Communities - Katie Schetlick and Pete Bussigel 

The Science and Lived Experience of Autism -  by Vikram Jaswal 

Engaged Learning for Local/Global Development - David Edmunds 

All Politics is Local - Andrew Kahrl and Sarah Milov 

The Passover Haggadah and its Contemporary Reinterpretations - Vanessa Ochs

Introduction to Swahili - Anne Rotich 

Introduction to Musical Ethnography -  Nomi Dave

Sí se puede:Community Engagement in Spanish Speaking Charlottesville - Esther Poveda Moreno

Writing Rap: Hip Hop Histories and Engaged Community Storytelling - A.D. Carson 

Hands-On Public History - Lisa Goff 


Through CCE courses many student-driven community-based initiatives and learning opportunities have come to fruition.  One example of this was the "Life in the UniverCity” symposium, planned by students of Andrew Kahrl, with invited speaker Professor Davarian Baldwin of Trinity College.  Additionally, student collaboration and relationship-building within the Charlottesville community has increased, as exemplified by Anne Rotich’s language and culture exchanges with members of Charlottesville’s Swahili-speaking community, but that isn't all.  Vikram Jaswal’s students corresponded and convened with peers with Autism disucssing the contrasts between the science and lived experience of Autism, Esther Poveda’s students are continuting to translate and disseminate the testimonio of Maria Chavalan Sut, and much more! 

question-mark-2110767_1280.jpg | No Jitter

What about other courses?

Does you know of a course that structures community partnerships and trains students for engagement in ways that advance C.R.E.A.M. Co-production, responsibility, equity, authentic partnerships, and mutuality?  Do you want to work on infusing these tenents into the work that you do? Let us know by emailing theequitycenter@virginia.edu.