Tania Mitchell Comes to Campus
Tania Mitchell, assistant professor of higher education at the University of Minnesota, and researcher in the field of service-learning, came to campus in February to offer workshops to more than 75 faculty, staff, and students on critical service-learning. Mitchell engaged attendees in a conversation about critical service-learning pedagogy, which attempts to foster a critical consciousness, allowing students to combine action and reflection in classroom and community to examine the historical precedents of social problems—to explore “needs” not as individual or community deficiencies, but as “critical concerns, issues, and resources that can be addressed.”
She discussed how community engagement activities (e.g., political action, policy work, advocacy, prevention strategies) can go beyond volunteering and actually address root causes of social problems. Furthermore, she suggests, through a deeper mode of engagement, student learning can be transformed, and in their reflections they can articulate visions for a more just society and contemplate actions that propel society toward those visions.