TheSPARCEnvironmental Justice Lab views training and mentoring as part of the research process.
Collectively we have more knowledge than we do as individuals. We foster the development
of shared knowledge and team problem solving, through regular meetings, where each
member reports on successes, challenges, and problems. We share suggestions and experiences
to assist each other and to increase investment in each other’s work. This nurturing
space fosters creativity and fosters working together, helping bridge relations between
the university and the community. It also ensures that the research projects remain
focused on community benefit.
Students are trained in a variety of methods, depending upon the needs of specific
projects. They are immersed in learning about community-engaged research and meet
with community members to develop specific research projects and to define goals.
Previously trained graduate students help coordinate the different components of a
research project, working with community members, students, and scholars. In this
peer mentoring is employed, as graduate students assist one another and undergraduate
students. This structure helps establish continuity to maintain training and mentoring,
as well as progress on the various projects. Students who want to continue working
on these projects--whether as advanced undergraduate or graduate students--help train
and mentor the next group of students participating in community-engaged learning.