A 2015-16 Engaged Faculty Fellow, Darlene Evans is a Senior Lecturer in the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences. Read her faculty profile for more information.
About the Project
With the Engaged Learning and Research Faculty Fellows grant, Evans is seeking to enhance the offerings of the Knight Institute to create more First-year Writing Seminars that collaborate with local schools. Her current collaboration with Boynton Middle School has Cornell first-year students partnering with select middle-school students to develop writing skills and perform community research concerning environmental issues. In the Cornell-only sessions, first-year students are investigating the extent to which current school reforms are addressing issues of social inequality that lead to education inequities and what social justice in education would look like. Rather than viewing themselves as “volunteering to help” local students, Cornell students are encouraged to see their partnership as part of their democratic responsibility, within their new community, to help provide schools that are responsive to all students.
Why She Does It
Evans works from a belief that universities should democratize higher education through partnerships with the communities of which they are a part. “Local communities are too often overlooked when it comes to sharing the intellectual life of the university,” she notes. “Engaging university students in courses that collaborate with local schools enables us to share our literacies. Both groups of students have valuable knowledge to teach and learn.”
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