Beyond the Discourse Series

Each year, Duke Service-Learning sponsors an academic program that furthers the work of service-learning.  The 2022-2023 theme is Beyond the Discourse:  Words Become Action.

In the academy, words are currency. We read, write, listen, convince, argue, persuade, and/or prove. For those seeking to foster community-engaged teaching and learning, however, words can create echo chambers, slow us down, and facilitate inaction. Service-learning and community-engaged practices are also based in words and scholarship, but in this model of the engaged university, it doesn’t end there. 

The theme organizing Duke Service-Learning this year invites us to consider how service-learning and community-engaged practices and practitioners are charged with engaging, challenging, and moving beyond words. We can, and do, talk at length about the challenges and injustices of our 21st century world, from white supremacy and racial injustice to the housing crisis, underfunded schools, climate inaction, and wealth disparities. How can we move from so much talk to action and in the process meeting community members’ drive for change? Our challenges include sharing institutional resources in respectful, generative ways and developing students ready to leave our institution with models for social change and a sense of efficacy for engagement and action. 

We are spared from having to recreate the wheel to imagine models of social change as Campus Compact’s Social Change Wheel offers a way to move beyond dissecting words to give us points of entry for transforming words into action and engagement. Join us as we move Beyond the Discourse: Words become Action.

Recent Events

Why Are We Here?  Transcripts and Lifescripts

Dean Gary G. Bennett

Duke Service-Learning recently hosted a student-centered conversation with Gary G. Bennett, dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, Global Health, Medicine, and Nursing. A group of about 60 undergraduates gathered in an East Duke Building parlor to speak with the dean and two dozen faculty and staff members about their purposes and experiences here at Duke. The conversation centered on the topic "Why Are We Here? Transcripts and Lifescripts."

A Conversation with the Authors of the 2022 AAC&U Report

AAC&U Panel

On February 28, 2023, Duke Service-Learning sponsored a virtual discussion with Jessica Chittum, Kathryn Enke, and Ashley Finley, research scholars from the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The session focused the 2022 report, The Effects of Community-Based and Civic Engagement in Higher Education:  What we Know and Questions That Remain, and was followed by a discussion on research findings, replicable models for assessment, and action opportunities for institutions. In the opening address, Dr. Finley reinforced the AAC&U committment to “advancing the democratic purposes of higher education by promoting equity, innovation, and excellence in liberal education.”   

Organizing for Action

Community Organizer Panel

On November 11, 2022, three local community organizers joined the Duke Service-Learning team to share their work and experiences as community organizers within the Durham community.  The panel session was moderated by Dr. Joan Clifford, Program Director of Duke Service-Learning.  Panelists included Kathy Thelemaque of Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods), Maria Luisa Solis Guzman of Luma Consulting, and Tabitha Blackwell of Book Harvest Durham. 

Community Action Project with Iglesia Emanuel

Community Action Project - Iglesia Emanuel

In October 2022, Duke Service-Learning sponsored a Community Action Project as part of the 2022-2023 series, Beyond the Discourse:  Words Become Action.  Students from Dr. Joan Clifford’s Spanish 306 (Health, Culture, and the Latino Community) service-learning course bagged rice and beans for community partner Iglesia Emanuel, an organization offering a food pantry and tutoring center targeting the Spanish-speaking community.  They were joined by others from the service-learning network, as well as Margaret and Miguel Rubiera, the leadership team at Iglesia Emanuel.  Rice and beans were donated to the project through Duke Service-Learning and the Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs.

Faculty Kick-Off

Faculty Kick-Off

Moving Beyond Discourse:  Finding Points of Entry for Transforming Words into Action
Ideally, service-learning and community-engaged courses integrate our personal intellectual interests and academic courses with meaningful community engagement. How do we avoid getting caught up in ideas of social change and fall short of meeting community members' actions for social change?  

 Join us for an exploration of diverse points of entry for meaningful partnerships using Campus Compact's Social Change Wheel. This framework offers strategies for engaging university resources in respectful, generative ways as we work to transform words into action.

Duke Service-Learning Open House

Open House

Join us for an end of semester celebration in the new Duke Service-Learning suite in 01A West Duke (ground level).  Enjoy light refreshments, collaborate with colleagues, and reflect on the semester.

Duke Service-Learning Faculty Showcase

Faculty Showcase

Interested in the pedagogy and design of service-learning and community engaged courses? Duke STEM faculty will share models of engaged curriculum and offer insights into building generative community partnerships. Duke Service-Learning benefits from the expertise of colleagues in 39 academic units on campus - learn how they put words into action to work in solidarity with local communities!  Including showcases from Genna Miller, Lecturing Fellow of Economics; Minna Ng, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience; and Char Clarke, Associate Professor of the Practice of Sustainability in the Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy.