Deb received her bachelor of arts in history from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her master of arts in educational leadership from the University of Connecticut. In addition to advising, Deb reaches out to alumni via the LinkedIn alumni group with discussions and job opportunities, and she is the career office liaison to the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy (PICA) and the LGBTQIA Center.
Developing Resilient Communities Locally and Globally
This Pathway brings together social justice and sustainability – approaches that have often been distinct. Social justice is necessary to sustain institutions, societies, and our planet over the long term. Likewise, social justice benefits from including the sustainability framework; by which long-lasting solutions to local and global challenges are developed through understanding the connections among social equity, environmental stewardship, and economic well-being and including these in decision-making and planning processes. Over three years in this Pathway, students craft new approaches to a more sustainable world for the benefit of all, as they become increasingly aware of how asymmetries of power and privilege operate on a daily basis. Students, staff and faculty become active agents in the transformation of our world through critical and collective citizenship.
Students define sustainability and social justice in relation to their majors and their own lives and career goals:
- Identify long-lasting solutions to local and global challenges, developed through understanding the connections among social equity, environmental stewardship, and economic well-being/justice.
- Recognize the world and its various communities as connected and interdependent.
- Explore the local and the global as existing simultaneously and constituting each other.
- Read power from the bottom up, globally and historically, so as to critique/understand sustainability as social justice (North and South / Developed and Developing / Urban and Rural / Westernized and Indigenous Peoples discourses).
- Analyze issues related to class, race, gender, ethnicity, ability, and sexuality as rooted in real material conditions and institutional factors that produce specific forms of inequality.
- Hold ourselves accountable for progress towards these goals.
While students will construct their own animating questions, some possible examples might be:
- How can governments and organizations around the world balance the societal, economic and environmental necessities of a community, without overly prioritizing one need over another and without prioritizing one sub-population’s needs over another?
- How can we guarantee and sustain equitable access to education for all students in the U.S. and other socially divided societies?
- How does the production and/or consumption of a plant or animal compromise the sustainability of the natural environmental and social rights of indigenous populations around the world??
Leo Garofalo teaches a first-year seminar: Castro, Che Guevara and Fifty Years of the Cuban Revolution, Introduction to Latin American and Caribbean History, Modern Latin American History: Nation and the Poverty of Progress, Rebellion and Revolutions in Latin America: Tupac Amaru to Subcomandante Marcos, History of Gender in Mexico and the Andes, Migration and Immigration in Latin America, and "Race" in Colonial Latin America.
Michael James situates his pedagogy within a theoretical paradigm that is materialist and democratic. He believes the study of schooling and education necessitates understanding the construction of power, not just within capitalist relations, but as an alternative to those arrangements. He teaches courses in the Foundations of Education, Critical Math and Science Education, and seminars in Critical Pedagogy as well as Education and The Revolutionary Project in Latin America.
Chad Jones is interested in a wide range of topics in plant ecology. His research has involved two major themes: plant succession and invasive species.
Julia Kushigian puts the liberal arts into action in her courses. She encourages a rigorous and interdisciplinary development of critical skills and individual expression in her students. From her authorship of a computer-based History of Hispanic Art course, to upper level sequences in Myth, Folklore and Legends, Foreign Language Methodology and Second Language Acquisition, and Postcolonial Coming-of-Age Narratives, she promotes an inquiry into the complexities of postmodern life.
S. James Lee's research interests are concentrated on computer graphics and visualization for interactive applications such as computer games, virtual reality environments, autonomous interactive characters, and museum installations.
Manuel Lizarralde, a professor with a dual appointment in environmental studies and botany, grapples with questions of people and the environment on a daily basis in his teaching and research. A native of Venezuela, Lizarralde has focused much of his work on the relation of indigenous Latin Americans to the environment, including the types of areas they inhabit and their use of plants. He studies ethnobotany (how people use plants) because the indigenous knowledge of local plants is very rich, and all of these cultures are rapidly changing and the information is being lost.
Jennifer Rudolph teaches Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition.
The Thematic Inquiry consists of a single course. Unit I introduces concepts and theories to help students understand critical race theory, social position, sustainability, and community engagement. Unit II asks students to apply this knowledge to museums and historical sites as possible places of community self-representation and empowerment. During this unit, students will also be attending their community placement and exploring other concrete manifestations of what we are studying in class. Unit III asks students to identify a question or research theme to focus their future studies, internships, and study away. The weekly schedule includes lectures, discussions on main questions and themes, library research, guest speakers, community visits, and videos. For any class at the College, students should plan to spend approximately three hours outside of class for every hour of class time (i.e., nine hours per week). For this course, this will include a minimum of two hours at your community placement per week in addition to readings, reviewing for discussions and presentations, researching, writing and revising, and meeting with a writing group, and preparing a group WordPress site.
Suggested Global-Local Engagement
- The Mexico Solidarity Network host programs in both Mexico and Cuba that focuses on grassroots social movements for justice.
- The School for International Training various approved programs that are social justice oriented, in Latin America, Africa, India, Australia, and Jordan.
- The Danish Institute for Study Abroad provides a range of programs that focus on sustainable development in Europe and human rights and conflict.
- Study Away and Teach Away programs organized around social justice and sustainability issues.
- The Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy, offers a Food and Sustainability Studies Program.
- ISI Florence, Italy offers a Sustainable Food and Environmental System Program.
- Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. Semester and summer internship positions could be developed.
- Museo Jtatik Samuel, dedicated to the work of Samuel Ruíz (García), Bishop of San Cristóbal (1959-1999) and an advocate for indigenous rights and self-determination. Students can intern in the summer or during a semester with a SATA or MSN program in Chiapas.
- Immigration Advocacy and Support Center. IASC needs interns with at least one-semester of prior experience for the following summer or semester positions: internship supervisor, project coordinator, communications, and legal intern.
- The New London Food Policy Council (NLCFPC) is working to transform the region’s food system for improved health and economic outcomes through policy advocacy and program innovation, alignment, and support. Six to eight students have served in internships with the NLCFPC each semester for the last four semesters.
- Immigration Advocacy and Support Center
- The New London Food Policy Council
- Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation documentation project
- TRIPs organized periodically on social justice and sustainability issues.
- CRE 393/394 Advanced Studies in Race and Ethnicity offered through the CCSRE.
- Certain faculty-directed summer research projects such as those through ConnSHARRP.
- Creation of a separate campus group to make sure community-based learning or projects benefit from the best thinking about how to go about community engagement.
For more information, please contact Chad Jones or any other member of the core faculty.