Academic journal article Human Ecology

The Art of ENGAGEMENT: Kelles, Miller, and Tobin Receive Grants for Community Work

Academic journal article Human Ecology

The Art of ENGAGEMENT: Kelles, Miller, and Tobin Receive Grants for Community Work

Article excerpt

Three Human Ecology faculty members are diving into community-engaged learning and research with their peers as part of this year's Engaged Faculty Fellows program. Joining ten others from across the university for the year-long faculty development program are Anna Kelles, lecturer in the Division of Nutritional Sciences; Laurie Miller, associate director for Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA), Public Engagement and capstone instructor; and John Tobin, CIPA professor of practice in corporate sustainability.

At a series of seminars, group members will discuss the theory and practice of community-based academic work, developing related courses, research proposals, or projects. Each faculty member received a $2,000 grant.

Anna Kelles anticipates the group's input on an introductory nutrition course she is planning. Drawing on her diverse experience spanning academic research, teaching, nonprofit management, government, and community activism, Kelles chose to focus on hunger and food insecurity, which in 2014 affected some 14 percent of Americans, or 17.4 million people.

Students from across the university will study the consequences of hunger on individuals and families within the biological, environmental, economic, social, and political components of the U.S. food system. Kelles then hopes to match students with a variety of local organizations to investigate how to address community hunger with a collective impact approach, engaging key stakeholders in crafting and implementing potential solutions.

"Part of this experience will be to explore whether creating this course with a community engagement component is even feasible and realistic," says Kelles.

Similarly, John Tobin, who joined Cornell last spring and brings more than two decades of experience in law and corporate sustainability, will venture into new territories of teaching. His fellowship complements an Engaged Cornell Planning Grant he was awarded with colleagues at the Dyson School in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Cornell College of Business, where he holds a joint appointment.

"I plan to focus on the question of how to introduce an element of community engagement and practical experience into finance classes, which are by nature theoretical, classroom-bound undertakings," says Tobin. …

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