Conversations on Public-facing Student Scholarship

29 November 2018

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018, Carleton students, faculty and staff joined in a community discussion at a Learning and Teaching Center Lunch on “Public-facing Student Scholarship in Your Classroom.” Our very own Annette Nierobisz, Professor of Sociology and Broom Fellow for Public Scholarship, and Emily Oliver, Associate Director for Academic Civic Engagement (ACE), along with music professor Nikki Melville led the panel discussion.

Each panelist was tasked with highlighting academic civic engagement and public scholarship in their work. Nierobisz discussed her experiences teaching ACE classes, giving helpful advice for others thinking about adding civically-minded projects to their courses. Oliver presented an overview of her role working with professors and community members to develop projects that simultaneously deepen student learning and respond to publicly-identified needs. Engaging the audience with fun anecdotes, Melville closed the discussion focusing on her own framing of the arts as public scholarship within private music lessons and courses.

This short panel inspired a long discussion as the attendees were first divided into table discussions and then later brought back to a large group discussion. Within my own table, which included professors, librarians and staff from Carleton and St.Olaf, it was easy to see how public engaged scholarship requires an entire community of practitioners to ensure its success. In what was shared, the time-consuming nature of this kind of research became clear. However, perhaps more salient was the mutually agreed upon reward of public scholarship, not only to students who sign up for these courses, but all integrants of these programs. As a student, I was grateful to attend this program.

I frequently take ACE courses and engage in public scholarship but rarely reflect on the hard work of others that my work relies upon. It was inspiring to see a room full of practitioners making time to critically interact with the topic; conversations featured voices from departments across the college and inspired holistic, interdisciplinary methods of critical cooperation.

As the luncheon ended and discussion freely flowed, it was clear that this was just one step in making the Northfield community of public scholars stronger and better than ever as faculty, staff and students continue their dedication to civic engagement.

LTC Lunches are always open to professors and staff and very frequently include students as well. More information on ACE and Public Scholarship can be found on their respective tabs on the CCCE Website and with any CCCE staff member or ACE course professor. Personal favorite publicly engaged professors have been Anita Chikkatur, Fred Hagstrom and Mary Savina…to highlight a few.