Major

Psychology, Sociology

Faculty Mentor(s)

Sandra Godwin & Valerie Aranda

Keywords

Participatory Action Research, Community-Based Learning, Radical Colleagues

Abstract

Student voice in higher education has the potential to transform teaching methods and curriculum development (Seale, 2009). Student voice work involves faculty and student collaboration in the evaluation of a course, implementing student perspectives, which are often overlooked. Considered “radical colleagues” (Fielding, 2004), sociology students worked in collaboration with professors Valerie Aranda and Sandra Godwin to address some of the challenges of interdisciplinary community-based learning. Qualitative data was collected through open-ended interviews with a purposive sample of students who participated in the Art and Social Justice course at Georgia College. In 2014, one sociology student interviewed 8 students, and two sociology students interviewed 7 participants from the 2016 version. Questions inquired about the students’ thoughts and opinions on partnering with the local community, the structure and co-taught nature of the course, and various participatory undertakings that took place in- and outside of class. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed to find themes and patterns. Data from interviews of students’ experience in the 2016 version of Art and Social Justice show significant improvement in attitudes regarding a community-based course. There were more opportunities for interaction with community members through interviews, farm visits, and feedback meetings. Another addition to the course was the process of data collection through group interviewing and fieldwork. This allowed for a more participatory approach because students had more opportunities to interact directly with community members. This poster provides a summary of the themes found in each of the multi-level collaborations that took place within two semesters of the Art and Social Justice course and how participatory principles (Freire, 1970) within- and outside of the classroom can improve the learning experience for instructors, students, and the community.

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Radical Colleagues: A Case Study of Art and Social Justice Using a Participatory Approach

Student voice in higher education has the potential to transform teaching methods and curriculum development (Seale, 2009). Student voice work involves faculty and student collaboration in the evaluation of a course, implementing student perspectives, which are often overlooked. Considered “radical colleagues” (Fielding, 2004), sociology students worked in collaboration with professors Valerie Aranda and Sandra Godwin to address some of the challenges of interdisciplinary community-based learning. Qualitative data was collected through open-ended interviews with a purposive sample of students who participated in the Art and Social Justice course at Georgia College. In 2014, one sociology student interviewed 8 students, and two sociology students interviewed 7 participants from the 2016 version. Questions inquired about the students’ thoughts and opinions on partnering with the local community, the structure and co-taught nature of the course, and various participatory undertakings that took place in- and outside of class. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed to find themes and patterns. Data from interviews of students’ experience in the 2016 version of Art and Social Justice show significant improvement in attitudes regarding a community-based course. There were more opportunities for interaction with community members through interviews, farm visits, and feedback meetings. Another addition to the course was the process of data collection through group interviewing and fieldwork. This allowed for a more participatory approach because students had more opportunities to interact directly with community members. This poster provides a summary of the themes found in each of the multi-level collaborations that took place within two semesters of the Art and Social Justice course and how participatory principles (Freire, 1970) within- and outside of the classroom can improve the learning experience for instructors, students, and the community.