CSI Hires Two Faculty Fellows for Civic Engagement and Diversity

The Center for Student Involvement recently hired two faculty fellows for civic engagement and diversity and equity.

The office had two ongoing job searches this fall to fill the two new positions. Associate Professor of Sociology, Dr. Kristin Kenneavy, was hired as faculty fellow for civic engagement and Associate Professor of International Studies and Anthropology, Dr. Erick Castellanos, was hired as faculty fellow for diversity and equity.

Kenneavy will work directly with the Civic and Community Engagement Center on campus, and Castellanos will work with the Women's Center. Both faculty fellows will have office hours in their respective offices.

The job description for the faculty fellow for civic engagement states that the fellowship will create an ongoing collaboration with the Assistant Director of Civic Engagement, Karen Booth, to advance community-based and service learning, in addition to community-based research.

The description of the position for faculty fellow of diversity and equity states that the fellowship will allow for a partnership between students and faculty to explore questions, concerns, ideas or suggestions regarding the issues of diversity and equity on campus.

Kenneavy, who graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication from the University of Oklahoma and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has worked on projects in the past like the Teen Media Project, an interdisciplinary initiative between journalism, public health and sociology that investigated the relationship between sexual media and adolescent sexual behavior.

Kenneavy explained that she wants to increase communication between faculty and students about what service learning is and how it can enhance the Ramapo education.

"Service learning is a high-impact teaching practice that has been demonstrated to enhance student learning," Kenneavy said. "I am very much looking forward to working with faculty and instructors to increase the amount of service learning associated with current course offerings."

She also hopes to develop the Alternative Break program, which runs through the Civic and Community Engagement Center, and either link it to particular courses or to the learning goals within a major or minor.

Brandon Martin, coordinator for civic engagement and student leadership programs, is excited for the new possibilities that working with faculty fellow Kenneavy will offer the CCEC and the rest of the campus.

"We're looking to develop service learning and bring more students into that," Martin said. "It's going to advance community engagement by developing students' skills in civic engagement."

Martin also stated that he hopes the new fellowship will revive the American Democracy Project on campus, as well as foster more faculty presence in service learning.

"I'd like to see information made available to support for community-engaged scholars who are working toward tenure or promotion, perhaps in the form of a website or informational sessions," Kenneavy stated.

Castellanos, who was born and raised in Mexico, later moving to California, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Pomona College, completed his M.A. at Johns Hopkins University and later completed his Ph.D. at Brown. He has worked for organizations including the Head Start Program for Migrant Workers and for other colleges including Tufts University and Walla Walla University.

Castellanos said that his biggest hope in his new position is to work with students to improve the overall campus atmosphere and work with students and staff to understand issues of diversity and equity.

"I want to define my position because it's a new one and it needs shaping," Castellanos said. "My goal is to create an inventory of concerns."

Castellanos thinks that the campus could benefit from an office dedicated solely to diversity and equity issues, but he believes even more could be done from an office position.

Junior Tamira Alston thinks that faculty fellowships are a good idea and wants to see more of them exist in other offices on campus.

"I feel it serves a similar purpose to a graduate assistant. It's good to see that they're spending one-on-one time with students," Alston said.

Alston, who works in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, thinks it would be helpful if a faculty fellowship position was created in that office.

"If a faculty member worked in our office, they could shed new light on Greek life to their students," Alston said. "It would help educate faculty on what Greek life is all about."