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CYFC Monthly

CYFC Monthly – May 2014

Building Up to "What Went Wrong?"

As Director of the Children, Youth & Family Consortium, I have the opportunity to participate in a myriad of interesting dialogues, committees, planning sessions, and the like. It is rare, however, that the topic of conversation is one that is as close to my heart as the subject of a July 11-12 conference to be held in the Seven Corners area of Minneapolis. Building authentic, reciprocal, trusting community-university partnerships has been my passion for almost two decades. I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the planning of this unique conference exploring the typically unexplored side of these partnerships — our mistakes and failures and the lessons we can learn when we examine them with humility. Below, co-organizer and graduate student Brian Lozenski explains the impetus for, and design of, this conference. Please join us for What Went Wrong: Reflecting and Learning from Community-Engaged Research.

Cathy Jordan

Building increased reciprocity between post-secondary institutions and the broader communities in which they exist seems like a positive thing. Ideally, colleges and universities would be seen as an integral part of these communities. However, that is not always the case. The university/community dichotomy is not a relationship that has just been recently imagined. There is a long history that situates post-secondary institutions apart from surrounding communities as the place where knowledge is created and stored, only to be distributed to the community in a singular direction. This situation is slowly changing as community members and organizations continue to claim their right to do research. Simultaneously, many university researchers have been recognizing that the vast amounts of knowledge contained in communities is not there for the purpose of extraction, but rather for the betterment of those communities. This recognition, that knowledge and expertise exists broadly, has resulted in powerful community-campus partnerships around the country that have made the research produced more usable for all involved.

This is the narrative of community-engaged research that a cross-section of practitioners and researchers from various community organizations in the Twin Cities and the University of Minnesota were asked to consider as we came together to develop a two-day conference to reflect about community-campus research partnerships. The impetus for the gathering came from a William T. Grant Foundation grant to support the work of two community-engaged researchers in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. In recruiting the conference planning committee, we wanted to represent the truly interdisciplinary nature of community-campus research partnerships. Thus, we identified researchers with expertise in domestic violence, early childhood education, healthcare disparities, and immigrant education, among others. Over the course of three months we met to attempt to tease out the nuances of how we wanted to approach the vast spectrum of community-engaged research. Several key criteria emerged through our discussions of these participatory partnerships: (1) research should work to account for and disrupt historical imbalances of power; (2) research should address community-defined issues through a collaborative design process; (3) multiple “ways of knowing” should be considered in the research process, and; (4) the research process should take into account individual and collective benefits in an open and honest way.

As we began to conceptualize how to transfer these abstract commitments to a critical form of community-engaged work into a two-day event, the notion of humility became central. The stories and experiences we shared were often about our mis-steps and things we wish we would have done better. We knew that we needed a way to allow conference participants to deal with the messiness of this work in a space that was not judgmental or pretended to have all of the answers. It was finally suggested that having a conference that foregrounds the mistakes and “failures” within this work would allow for vulnerability and humility to emerge among the participants. Thus, the idea for the “What Went Wrong?” conference was born. As we began to discuss the possibilities of approaching community-engaged research from this perspective, we saw the power in how a simple shift in the way we looked at something could open up generative ways to think about our work. Additionally, we were excited to create an intellectual space that did not inherently position the presenters as “experts,” but rather reflective humans who made mistakes, and are willing to show how they worked through them or ask for help from others trying to deal with similar dilemmas.

Brian Lozenski
University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development

Consortium News

Save the Date for the Next Lessons from the Field!
Date: October 30, 2014
Time: 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Location: University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center and via live web stream

Linda Gensheimer, PhD and Cynthia Packard, LISCW will present "Secondary Traumatic Stress: Building Resilience for Professionals." We invite professionals who work with traumatized children, youth and families to join us for presentations and small group conversations discussing adaptability and health maintenance. Participants will learn to integrate practices that help diminish the negative impact of secondary traumatic stress. More information and registration coming soon!

Children's Mental Health eReview: Tell us what you think for a chance to win registration to Lessons from the Field!
We are offering an opportunity to our readers: read an eReview issue, fill out a brief follow-up survey, and be entered to win free registration to CYFC's Fall 2014 Lessons from the Field seminar. "Secondary Traumatic Stress: Building Resilience for Professionals" is scheduled for October 30, 2014. To be entered for the free registration prize, surveys need to be thoroughly completed by May 16, 2014. We encourage you to read multiple eReviews that pertain to your work, research or personal interest, and fill out the corresponding surveys. Thank you so much for your input!

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act
In 2014, we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service, a state-by-state national network of educators who extend university-based research and knowledge to the people. Last year University of Minnesota Extension programs mobilized at least 1,245,384 hours of volunteerism. That's like getting an additional 599 full-time staff caring for Minnesota's youth and families, natural resources, gardens, and more! Hear more on Twitter and Facebook.

University & Community Announcements

Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (ORPE) Grant Announcement
OPRE in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services has announced two research funding opportunities: Early Care and Education Research Scholars: Head Start Graduate Student Research Grants and Early Care and Education Research Scholars: Child Care Research Scholars. [links no longer active] These grants aim to support dissertation research addressing issues of significance related to Head Start, Early Head Start and Child Care Development Fund that will inform policy decisions and solutions, particularly for underserved/understudied populations.

Out of the Shadows: Straight Talk with Children about a Family Member's Substance Use
MomEnough Podcast
Listen to Dr. Kristen Burnett and MomEnough hosts discuss how to talk with children about a family member with a problem with substance use. They will discuss different types of substance problems, common effects on children living with adults who abuse alcohol or other drugs, how to talk with children of different ages and where to find additional resources.

Cradle to Career: Education for a 21st Century World Forum
Dates: August 6-7, 2014
Location: Ted Mann, University of Minnesota

This forum will provide an opportunity for educators, public policy makers, elected officials, parents and private citizens to come together with representatives from the Finnish and Minnesotan education systems, to discuss solutions to current issues in education and to prepare for the future. Finland's education systems differs from the U.S. in many ways including: children start school at age 7, spend less time in the classroom and are assigned significantly less homework then their American peers but outpace Americans in all areas of education. Join the conversation and register today.

Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) Summer 2014 Online Sessions
Earn clock hours or academic credits by successfully completing a CEED course. Courses are six to nine weeks, are instructor-led and online beginning June 2nd. Classes include Parent-Infant Pathways: An Educator's Guide to Providing Information and Support to New Parents, Introduction to Infant Mental Health and Bridging Education and Mental Health. Learn more and register today!

First issue of The Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities (JELO) is now available
Read Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities (JELO) [no longer active], a new peer-reviewed online, open-access journal that aims to promote scholarship and consciousness, through research- and practice-based articles, of the ways in which students' engagement in after school and expanded learning activities contributes to their learning and development.

Health Disparities Forum
Minnesota Medical Association
Date: June 17, 2014
Time: 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Wilder Center, 451 Lexington Parkway North, St. Paul, MN 55104

Cost: Student $10, MMA member $25, non-member $40
Join the Minnesota Medical Association for this forum featuring Commissioner Edward Ehlinger who will discuss the Advancing Health Equity report and a panel of physicians who will share their insights on working with minority populations. Learn about Minnesota Department of Health's efforts to address Minnesota's health disparities and health inequities, hear physicians share their best practices for working with minority populations and discuss what role physicians can play in addressing health disparities.

Job Opportunities

Health Program Manager — Family and Early Childhood, City of Minneapolis [link no longer active]

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