Pace Center for Civic Engagement

"Having the D&I rubric presented in a framework that we can adapt to our core priority of service has been an incredibly valuable resource."

- Elsie Sheidler, Senior Associate, Director of the Pace Center, Chair of the D&I Working Group

Pace Center for Civic Engagement 

Overview

The purpose of the Pace Center for Civic Engagement is to make service and civic engagement a central part of the Princeton student experience so that students can respond to the needs of the world in responsible ways. To realize this purpose, our mission is to prepare students to do service well by making meaningful connections through learning, experience, and reflection. A result of the implementation of our 2016-2019 Strategic Plan was the creation of models for student learning outcomes and partnership principles. Building on these models, along with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s framework for diversity and inclusion, we have made a commitment in our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan to increase students’ responsible engagement with communities. We will realize this commitment through diverse groups of students and partners engaging together and learning from one another. With the D&I Student Learning Outcomes rubric as a framework and resource guide, we are more intentionally integrating D&I into students’ learning through service. With diversity and inclusion at the core of Pace Center’s work and the collective work of Campus Life, the D&I learning outcomes in students’ learning through service allows us to respond to the Campus Life 2020-2025 Strategic Plan goals of strengthening belonging across student identities and developing students for a life of meaning and service.

Getting started: Diversity and inclusion working group

At the Pace Center, one way of organizing staff around our work is the model of internal working groups. Working groups are designed to identify and carry through the work necessary to achieve our strategic plan goals and/or to deepen and build on work that we have prioritized. All staff participate in one or more of these working groups. At the Pace Center, we have had a D&I working group in place for two years with the first one launching in September 2019. The charge of our first group, made up of five Pace Center staff, was,  “to review the Diversity and Inclusion student learning outcomes rubric to identify and then propose where/how to implement competencies.” The working group met bi-weekly for six months, with early meetings devoted to digesting and discussing the resources supporting the D&I Framework (survey banks, etc.). Once familiar with the resources, we invited the Associate Dean in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion to a meeting to help us think through how to select an opportunity to implement this framework. Her advice to focus on identifying a discrete one-time opportunity and to think of this first implementation as a pilot was extremely helpful and gave us the encouragement we needed to move forward.

Moving forward: Pilot implementation and process

With the fall spent forming our new working group and familiarizing ourselves with the D&I framework resources, we found the perfect pilot in the form of a January 2020 student immersion trip to Puerto Rico.  The purpose of this one-week trip was for a group of seven students, accompanied by a faculty member and a staff member, to learn how local Puerto Rico protesters used art as a tool of activism to cultivate community, joy and collective dignity, as well as to initiate change.  The staff advisers coordinating this trip developed a set of learning outcomes specifically for this  trip. In an exercise using the D&I Framework, we mapped the Puerto Rico Trip Learning Goals on the D&I Student Learning Outcomes Framework. We then took each of the learning goals and mapped them against the D&I Learning Outcomes Survey Questions. You can see the outcome of this mapping exercise here. A pre-trip and post-trip survey, aligning, adapting and incorporating relevant D&I survey questions, was conducted with the seven student trip participants. 

 

Realizing results: Outcomes and learnings

An analysis of the pre-trip and post-trip survey results revealed that the students participating in the Puerto Rico arts and activism trip increased their awareness, knowledge and skills across the developmental spectrum of learning as identified by the D&I Learning Outcomes Rubric.  The success of the students’ learning from the Puerto Rico Arts and Activism Trip allowed us to achieve our working group’s charge and more importantly, lay the groundwork for further integration of the D&I Framework. 

 

Recognizing that service is grounded in social justice which embraces diversity, inclusion and equity, we wanted all staff to learn and adopt an approach to intentionally and meaningfully integrate the D&I learning outcomes with their program, project, or activity’s learning outcomes.  We invited all Pace Center staff to a work session, with the purpose of sharing the working group’s approach and learnings from the Puerto Rico trip pilot and to help get staff started in using the D&I Framework with their respective learning outcomes. One of the most powerful exercises from this staff work session was the mapping of learning outcomes by program area against the D&I Learning Framework. The visual outcome of this collective mapping revealed where there were strengths and opportunities around students’ learning around diversity and inclusion through service. We were also invited by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to present our work with the D&I learning framework to the wider Campus Life staff in a Campus Life Lunch and Learn in May 2020. You can listen to and view our presentation in this zoom recording

 

Where we are going next: Diversity and inclusion in doing service well

The second iteration of our D&I working group builds from the success of the first working group’s work. The charge for this second working group is to, “deliver design, implementation and report and pilot in cohorts or internships; learn from last year's pilot.” We followed a similar approach to last year’s pilot and will be implementing D&I learning outcomes in two programs that have students engaging in summer immersion experiences through the Bogle Fellowships and the Princeton RISE projects. Both programs will be conducting surveys pre, during and post the students’ experiences. Additionally, two working groups this year - the D&I Working Group and the Student Learning Outcomes Working Group - are collaborating to fulfill their respective charges. Both groups’ work includes the D&I student learning outcomes framework. The Student Learning Outcomes Working Group is updating the language of our Center-wide learning outcomes to articulate the Pace Center’s continued support of students learning from service while focusing on our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as fundamental to doing service well.