ABCD Underpinning Campus Experiential Learning Initiative

Alan Bloomgarden
Alan Bloomgarden
@alan-bloomgarden
one month ago
1 posts

Hello colleagues! For over a decade, I built and taught a student social action leadership program curriculum constructed around ABCD principles at Mount Holyoke College called the "Community Fellows" program. With some like minded colleagues across the Five College Consortium, I collaborated with other campuses and community organizations to instill ABCD principles into our preparation and reflection work with students and faculty in community-engaged learning, service, and research partnerships in the region, especially in cities of Springfield and Holyoke. I taught a gazillion classes and workshops on asset-mapping and worked pretty consistently to introduce ABCD principles - especially those connected to sustainability, ethics and reciprocity in campus-community partnership - to students, faculty, and colleagues in the field through this work.

Now, I have taken a new position as Elms College's first Director of Experiential Learning, where I am to lead campus-community collaboration to extend opportunities for experiential learning to Elms students. I am excited by the compelling demographics of Elms (open admission, many commuters and many interested in pre-professional education mean a more local, connected, working and working class community of learners) and by a curriculum for which partnerships with local nonprofits, public agencies, community organizing initiatives, etc. will have great promise. 

However, I'm finding I'm starting from a place where few if any colleagues have been exposed to or considered the conceptual frameworks offered by ABCD, and my challenge will be to undertake a massive program of educational outreach to build conceptions of reciprocity, critical lenses upon dependencies and colonial histories, sustainability, etc., as I also work to build out the very programs and possibilities for experiential learning (what I'd like to advance as community-engaged learning to build in attention to the partnership development necessities). I'm excited and up for it, but there it is - my ABCD challenges!

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