The Harvard College-Mindich Program in Community-Engaged Research (PCER) pilot launched in summer 2017 by the Mindich Program for Engaged Scholarship in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. PCER introduces students to the field of engaged scholarship, which seeks to advance the public purpose of higher education through scholarship that has impact within and beyond the academy through the discovery, integration, application, and communication of knowledge. Employing an asset-based approach, and focused on reciprocal relationships with community collaborators, engaged scholarship recognizes the perspectives, knowledge, and expertise present in communities and the academy are of equal value.
The Field-based Harvard College-Mindich Program in Community-Engaged Research (PCER-Field) is typically a 10-week immersive experience focused on community-engaged inquiry projects. The program will provide a small team of Harvard undergraduate researchers the opportunity to learn about collaboration and reciprocity in a research context, working on a pre-designed project alongside Harvard faculty in collaboration with community partners as part of a multidisciplinary research team. PCER fellows will develop skills necessary to carry out research that is academically rigorous as well as responsive to community interests and priority action areas.
2019 PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The summer 2019 PCER-Field experience will be with Walter Johnson, Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies, in close collaboration with various community partners in St. Louis, MO. Students will take part in an 8-week community-engaged, multidisciplinary research project in St. Louis. Up to two Harvard undergraduate students will work with Dr. Johnson in partnership with local non-profits and community groups in the St. Louis metropolitan region. In this immersive experience, students will work directly with grassroots community groups (primarily the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council and Equity Legal Services) on research to support ongoing litigation involving housing discrimination and environmental racism. Students will learn about and research issues including historical land use and zoning practices, environmental justice, historical commemoration, and archival research. Students selected for this project will work directly with local community members, community organizers, civil rights activists and attorneys, environmental groups, legislators, social workers, and environmental scientists.
The Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council (EHOC) is a private non-profit agency dedicated to ending illegal housing discrimination in the Metropolitan St. Louis area. EHOC operates in five counties in Missouri and three counties in southwest Illinois. EHOC fights illegal housing discrimination and its many negative effects through education, outreach, complaint intake and advocacy, testing and private enforcement, and litigation. Equity Legal Services, Inc. provides free legal services to low-income individuals and families, including communities of color and all marginalized populations who often do not see themselves or their cultures reflected in the services they access when navigating the court system.