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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Community-Initiated Student-Engaged Research: Expanding Undergraduate Teaching and Learning through Public Sociology

  • Author(s): Greenberg, Miriam
  • London, Rebecca A
  • McKay, Steven C
  • et al.

Drawing on a multiyear local research project on the affordable housing crisis, this article outlines a pedagogical approach we call Community-Initiated Student-Engaged Research, or CISER. The CISER model brings together three key groups of actors—undergraduate students, university researchers, and community organizations—drawing on and extending the powers of cooperative “dyads” between them. This model aims to improve pedagogical and sociological practice by constituting undergraduate students as both knowledge producers and an active public while at the same time creating meaningful partnerships between university researchers and community-based organizations. Based on assessments of the program from the vantage points of all three groups, our findings indicate that CISER is a powerful pedagogical tool and mode of community-engaged scholarship and that it offers both challenges and rewards to the involved students, faculty, and community organizations.

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