Connecting our Practice to the Constellations and Core of Community Engagement

May 17, 2022 | 2:00 - 3:30 PM on Zoom

Star Plaxton-Moore

Star Plaxton-Moore

Star Plaxton-Moore
Director of Community-Engaged Learning
Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good
University of San Francisco

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As community-engaged educators, researchers, and practitioners, our attention is often focused on our own little worlds: our classrooms, research projects, and programs. After all, doing any kind of community-engaged work with integrity requires significant labor, time, and intentionality. By the time we've cultivated partnerships, integrated reflection activities, and curated the community-oriented curriculum, we are maxed out. And yet, if the work of community engagement is a mechanism for fulfilling higher education's public purpose, what are we missing when we don't link our individual little worlds to chart the solar systems, galaxies, and constellations of how our collective engagement creates change? What possibilities could the community engagement field realize if we chose to learn about and connect with the engagement work happening all around us, at our own institutions, regionally, and across higher education? And looking beyond the galaxy of community engagement, what adjacent constellations of scholarship and activism might strengthen and amplify the impact of our practices? Together we will explore a broader universe of higher education community engagement origins, dilemmas, critical approaches, institutional trends, and community-rooted initiatives. We will reflect on how these constellations connect with our molten cores where our values, motivations, and principles reside, and how we can draw energy from these connections to forge new trajectories for our community-engaged practice.

Dr. Star Plaxton-Moore is a community-engaged educator, researcher, and institutional leader whose work is rooted in critical theory, intersectional feminism, and social justice principles. In her 16 years as director of community-engaged learning at the University of San Francisco, she has designed and implemented public service and activism internship programs, developed and sustained a Public Service and Community Engagement Minor, and taught courses on leadership for social change. Star played a key leadership role in creating and integrating USF’s community-engaged learning course requirement, guiding the institution’s achievement of the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement, and shaping the community engagement component of USF’s recent strategic plan. She also serves the community engagement field through her position as a board member for IARSLCE, her scholarly publications, and as a consultant and invited speaker at K-12 and higher education institutions across the country. Star’s scholarship focuses on faculty development for engaged teaching and research, student preparation for community engagement, intersections of feminism and engagement, community partners as co-educators, and critical analysis of institutional culture and practices of engagement. She has co-authored two books, The Student Companion to Community-Engaged Learning and The Craft of Community-Engaged Teaching and Learning, in addition to multiple book chapters and articles. Star holds an Ed.D. in organizational leadership from the University of San Francisco and a M.Ed. from George Washington University. Star lives in San Francisco with her spouse, Andrew, and finds her greatest joy in being a mother of two children.