Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

Debra Castillo

Debra CastilloA 2014 Engaged Faculty Fellow, Debra Castillo is the Emerson Hinchliff Professor of Hispanic Studies and a Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature in the College of Arts and Sciences. Read her faculty profile or website for more information.

The Story

The goal of this project was to share Latin American and U.S. Latino/a culture with community members of all ages through educational artistic activities. Debra is building on past successful collaborations reaching back to the mid 1990s, as she adds new programs to meet community member needs and student interests. These programs include collaboration with CULTURA! on our popular cuentacuentos (storyteller), antojitos (food), and buen vivir (living well) series; along with new programming initiatives like the year-long filmmaking workshop, “Bridging Stories” involving communities in Ithaca and Chile, which Debra is doing in collaboration with La Poderosa Media Project. She also has organized events for poetry month in April, and (along with the Tellez family restaurant and other community partners) the annual 5 de mayo (Battle of Puebla) celebration. Debra has also participated in the important needs assessment project, El pueblo, commissioned by the Latino Civic Association, and spearheaded by Carolina Osorio Gil.

“When I grow up I want to be a Latino.”—from a young participant in one of the programs.

The Strategy

  • The main vehicle for this collaboration from the student perspective is the course, Cultures and Communities – LSP 2300/4300, now being offered every semester beginning in spring 2014.
  • Conceived as a service-learning course, the centerpiece here is targeted, engaged research and arts work with Latino/a culture-related organizations in Tompkins County like Cultura!, No más lágrimas, and La Poderose.
  • The core idea is that students will learn while participating in meaningful activities that will enhance arts and culture partnerships in our local community.

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

Apply Now