The Role of Higher Education in the Wellbeing of Society: a community engagement perspective, 9th December 2010

The Role of Higher Education in the Wellbeing of Society: a community engagement perspective

Maria Avila

Date: 9th December 2010
Time: 10am to 1.30pm
Host Institution: NUI Maynooth
Location: Glenroyal Hotel, Maynooth

The Presenter

Maria Avila is the Director of the Center for Community Based Learning at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. She is currently in Ireland as a Fulbright Senior Specialist, based in NUI Maynooth.

The Workshop

This workshop will address the role of higher education in society’s wellbeing, by sharing information on several approaches through which higher education institutions engage with the larger community. Specific examples of some of those approaches in the US and in Ireland will be presented, and participants will have ample opportunity to engage in conversation with the speaker and with one another about implications of the workshop content for themselves and for the institutions where they work.

Enrollment

Please email linda.king@aishe.org using The Role of Higher Education in the Wellbeing of Society in the subject field by the 4th of December. There is no fee to attend this workshop.

Brief Biography

Maria Avila is the Director of the Center for Community Based Learning at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, where she also teaches a class in Academic Community Engagement. Prior to Occidental College, Ms. Avila worked as Director of Community Planning and Economic Development at Los Angeles Trade Technical College and as an instructor of Community Organizing. Maria is originally from Northern Mexico, and has been a community organizer most of her life in Mexico and in the United States.

From 1992 through 2000, Ms. Avila was an organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation in Los Angeles and in Northern California. She earned a degree of Social Work at the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, a BA in Psychology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and a MA in Social Service Administration and Community Organizing at University of Chicago.

Her approach to civic engagement from a community organizing prospective has taken Ms. Avila to present at various conferences around the country, in Mexico, and in Ireland. Ms. Avila’s community organizing model to institutionalizing civic engagement at Occidental has been referred to in several books and articles, including:

  • Cross Border Centre for Community Development Seminar Report Engagement: Transforming Learning 3rd Level and Community (Seminar in Dundalk, Ireland, 2005).
  • Frames and Discourses: Exploring the Meaning of Engagement, co-authored with Frank Fear, (2005).
  • Harry Boyte’s Everyday Politics, (2004).
  • Democracy and Civic Engagement: A guide for higher education, edited by The New York Times and American Association of State Colleges and Universities, (2005).
  • University Education for Community Change: A Vital Strategy for Progress on Poverty, Race and Community building, by Andrew Mott, (2005).
  • Civic Engagement, Community Development and Implications for the Academy: From Los Angeles to Ireland, a chapter in Mapping Civic Engagement within Higher Education in Ireland (2009).
  • Her model of civic engagement was recently published by the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, Vol. 14, No. 2, in June 2010.

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