Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

Angela Gonzales

Angela GonzalesA 2014 Engaged Faculty Fellow, Angela Gonzales is an associate professor in the Department of Development Sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Read her faculty profile for more information.

The Story

With our support, Angela partnered with a community-based organization on the Hopi Reservation to develop four service-learning projects as part of DSOC 4700, a new senior capstone course for students majoring in Development Sociology. In addition to wanting to provide students an opportunity to synthesize—and bring to bear—the theoretical knowledge, research skills, and intellectual interests they have acquired as students in major, Angela wanted students to consider issues of social justice, not as academic abstractions but as ongoing struggles that daily touch the lives of community partners and the lives of every citizen. Unlike most traditional service-learning courses where students work on projects in the local community, Angela used WebEx, Cornell’s free web conferencing program, to enable students to engage in real-time, virtual “face-to-face” collaboration with partner organizations on the Hopi Reservation.

The projects were developed in collaboration with three partner organizations, the Natwani Coalition, an affiliation of Hopi organizations and individuals dedicated to preserving Hopi farming traditions, strengthening the local Hopi food system and developing innovative sustainable strategies to promote wellness, the Hopi Special Diabetes Program, a local diabetes prevention program funded by the Indian Health Services Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention Programs, and the Hopi Education Endowment fund, a non-profit organization supporting the educational goals and aspirations of tribal members. Working in teams of 3-5, students developed survey instruments and methodologies to assess Hopi opinions about educational priorities, created nutritional policies for Hopi schools, and developed outreach materials to help educate the Hopi community about GMO seeds.

“The conditions that students might find in underdeveloped countries can be found on many Indian reservations in the United States. . . I wanted to find a way to support community organizations in looking into problems or issues that limited resources and manpower prevent from addressing.”

The Strategy

  • Established partnerships with community-based organizations on the Hopi Reservation.
  • Worked with community partners to design community service learning projects as part of DSOC 4700, a new senior capstone course in the Department of Development Sociology
  • Worked with the Academic Technology Center (ATC) to integrate WebEx, Cornell’s free web-conferencing program, into the course to overcome geographical distance by enabling students to engage with community partners in live, face-to-face interaction.
  • Invited representatives from partner organization to Ithaca to meet with students.

In The News

Course connects students with Hopi community (March 31, 2014, Cornell Chronicle)

Angela Bikes 4 Hopi – fundraising bike ride blog in support of the Hopi Cancer Support service.


Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

A yearlong cohort program in which faculty dive deep into the theory and practice of engaged learning; meet monthly to discuss readings, share projects and workshop challenges; and help transform what it means to teach at Cornell

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