Director – University Community Collaborative
Education and Social Justice, Civic Engagement, Youth Leadership Development, Activist Research
My major area of interest, broadly defined, is urban politics. Born and raised in Brooklyn (which is still the 4th largest city!), I had an early education about urban areas that was shaped by some very practical activities – turning empty lots into playgrounds, keeping the hand ball court for hours, dodging traffic, and learning the subway lines. Over the years, this practical education morphed into a concern with issues of housing and community development, neighborhood politics and community organizations, political leadership and urban public policy, and, most recently, preserving education as a public good. While researching and writing on these topics, my fixation with the practical persisted.
In 1997, I started the University Community Collaborative (formerly, the UCCP) in an effort to leverage some of the research and pedagogical expertise of the university for larger community ends. With a focus on youth leadership development, social justice, and community building, the Collaborative conducts direct programming, capacity building at the organizational and individual levels, and applied research activities in collaboration with community based and other nonprofit organizations. Working with some very talented, creative, and committed community leaders and young people prompted me to think more deeply and systematically about the university’s role in the community, about civic engagement as a tool for political empowerment, and about pedagogical approaches to preparing young people to live in a democratic society. My approach is interdisciplinary, relying on works from the various social sciences, and it is heavily informed by the “view from the street.” I encourage you to check out our website www.UCCollab.org to see what is possible when these perspectives come together. Be forewarned, our work is positively contagious!
- “Shifting Stereotypes and Storylines: The Political Potential of Youth Media.” (2016) Contemporary Youth Activism: Advancing Social Justice in the United States, (Praeger) eds. Jerusha Conner and Sonia Rosen. (with Natalia Smimov).
- “POPPYN: Presenting Our Perspective on Philly Youth News.” (2015) In The Civic Media Reader . Eds. Eric Gordon and Paul Milhailidis. Cambridge: MIT Press. With Natalia Smirnov and Nuala Cabral.
- “Violence through the eyes of youth: A photovoice exploration.” (2013) Journal of Community Psychology. V 41, #1:84-101. with Jill Chonody, Jill Amitrani-Welsh, and Travis Martin.
- “Pathways to College and to Social Justice Leadership: The University Community Collaborative of Philadelphia.” (Fall 2012). Diversity and Democracy. (a publication of the American Association of Colleges and Universities)V15, #3:20-21
- “Educating For Democracy: Reflections from a Work in Progress.” (August 2012) Journal of Political Science Education. Volume 8, #3:231-250.
- “Action Civics: A Declaration for Rejuvenating our Democratic Traditions.” Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. (February 2012). pp10-11
- “Community Collaborations: Promoting Community Organizing.” In Gittell and Newman (eds) Activist Scholar: Selected Works of Marilyn Gittell (2011) with Charles Price and Marilyn Gittell.
- “Regime Theory.” 2007 Encyclopedia of Urban Studies. Sage Publications
- “Leveraging Social Capital: The University as Educator and Broker” (2006) in Richardson Dilworth, ed. The Place That Loves You Back: Community and Social Capital in Philadelphia. Temple University Press.
- Race, Education and the Criminal Justice System
- Making of American Society
- Popular Culture and the City
- Urban Politics and Problems
- Urban Public Policy
- Educating for Democracy
- Community Based Research