Building Community Partnerships to Co-Design and Prototype Equitable and Inclusive Educational Programs on Human-Centered Design

1/23/2023 6:14:00 AM

Urbana Park District logoAcademic mentors: Saad Shehab

Community partner: Urbana Park District

Project description: 
This project supports and sustains co-curricular connections between the Siebel Center for Design (SCD) and local park districts. The project enables effective collaborations between members of both parties around developing and prototyping equitable and inclusive educational programs. These programs will include activities that can be used to design and implement Human-Centered Design (HCD) focused K-12 lessons, summer programs, after-school programs, and teachers and administrators' professional development programs at SCD and the local park districts. The project will strengthen the relationship between SCD's Academic Programs and Research team and curriculum and instructional developers of the local park districts. It will enrich the curricular material and tools of both parties. It can also advance knowledge of teaching and learning HCD in different K-12 venues and with different teachers and students' populations.

This research project is set to explore and implement ways to integrate HCD in existing educational programs that are led by community-based organizations such as park districts. This can happen through building a sustainable model that brings together SCD's Academic Programs and Research team members and members from the park districts. Through this partnership, both parties will a) exchange and share content and resources used to develop and implement educational programs, b) design and prototype programs and activities that address issues of social justice and systemic racism through creating equitable learning experiences that guarantees inclusion and engagement of students from underrepresented groups and minorities and c) understand the dynamics and mechanisms of reciprocal, equitable, and productive partnership between members of an academic institution and members of the community in order to inform similar efforts and projects that rely on building strong partnerships between the university and community members. The outcomes of this work will support both teams in making progress toward developing an inventory of K-12 curricular material and instructional tools.

Role of the Community-Academic Scholar:
The Community-Academic Scholar will assist with the curriculum development and implementation of the different activities that will constitute the educational programs that will be co-developed with the park districts.