Pitzer College Joins PLACE, an academic-community network for civic engagement and public-humanities work

Claremont, Calif. (June 26, 2019)–Pitzer College, along with ten colleges and universities across the country, form Partnerships for Listening and Action by Communities and Educators (PLACE), a project of Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP). PLACE is supported by a two-year, $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), which serves as the host and partner to BTtoP. Pitzer’s participation will be led through its Community Engagement Center. 

The PLACE collaboratory brings together a network of academic-community partnerships to do civic-engagement and public-humanities work. Using cultural practices like oral history or photo-voice these partnerships will develop shared public agendas that ground the setting and solving of community issues in community voice. They may involve such significant themes as community development, wealth disparities and environmental justice, but the agendas and action plans will be set through listening and dialogue. All the partnerships will include undergraduate students as key participants, culture makers and often cultural brokers.

The collaboratory of eleven colleges and universities will also work as a committee of the whole, communicating and convening regularly to set shared goals and values, confront common challenges and learn together. The goal of the larger collaboratory will be to distill best practices for partnerships grounded in community voice, to model the role of the humanities in sustaining them and to use networked collaboration to disseminate them across higher education.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to pursue the PLACE initiative,” said David Scobey, the director of BTtoP and principal investigator for The Mellon Foundation’s grant. “Its focus on the value of community engagement to higher education, and the potential contribution of higher education to community betterment, is at the heart of our mission. So is the innovative focus on the humanities as a way of fostering authentic engagement and democratic agenda-setting. And we believe strongly in the power of networked collaboration to make change in higher education. We are grateful to The Mellon Foundation and our colleagues at AAC&U for supporting this proposal and to our partnering institutions for joining us.”

Pitzer is one of four participating PLACE Collaboratory institutions in the Los Angeles area, which include College of the Canyons, the University of LaVerne and the University of Southern California. Nationally, other participating institutions include Rutgers University-Newark; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; five institutions in the Greensboro, North Carolina, region (Elon University, Greensboro College, Guilford College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro).

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

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