The academy is often described as an ivory tower, isolated from the community surrounding it. Presenting the theory, vision, and implementation of a socially engaged program for the Department of Human and Organizational Development (HOD) in Peabody’s College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, Academics in Action! describes a more integrated model wherein students and faculty work with communities, learn from them, and bring to bear findings from theory and research to generate solutions to community problems.
Offering examples of community-engaged theory, scholarship, teaching, and action, Academics in Action! describes the nuanced structures that foster and support their development within a research university. Theory and action span multiple ecological levels from individuals and small groups to organizations and social structures. The communities of engagement range from local neighborhoods and schools to arenas of national policy and international development.
Reflecting the unique perspectives of research faculty, practitioners, and graduate students, Academics in Action! documents a specific philosophy of education that fosters and supports engagement; the potentially transformative nature of academic work for students, faculty, and the broader society; and some of the implications and challenges of action-oriented efforts in light of dynamics such as income inequality, racism, and global capitalism. This edited volume chronicles teaching, research, and community action that influences both inside and outside the classroom as well as presents dimensions of a participatory model that set such efforts into action.