Loyola University Chicago

Center for Experiential Learning

2019 - 2021 Faculty Fellows

Dr. Sasha Adkins

Biography: 

Sasha Adkins is a lecturer in environmental health in the Institute of Environmental Sustainability. Sasha found their way to environmental health through a circuitous path that involved apprenticing with homebirth midwives, developing a health program for migrant farm workers, and working on HIV-prevention with a small AIDS service organization. Along the way, they became fascinated with plastics. Their doctoral research began by demonstrating that certain types of plastics (particularly styrene-butadiene block copolymer) concentrate methyl mercury from seawater but then took an interdisciplinary turn. In their book From Disposable Culture to Disposable People: The Unintended Consequences of Plastics, and in numerous other pieces, Sasha explores the idea that treating the physical world as disposable habituates us to seeing ourselves and each other as nothing more than means to an end. A fellow with GreenFaith, Sasha continues to explore the spiritual dimensions of the global environmental crisis. 

Project Overview: 

I am building relationships at Lawndale Little Village High School, where students and faculty have raised concerns about the indoor and outdoor air quality. In cooperation with LUC students Maddi Perdue, Natasha Gonzalez, and Vanessa Moro (who is herself an alum of the school) and  Dr Ping Jing, we are exploring how to put air quality assessment tools in the hands of the high school students, and how to mentor them through an experiment with plants known to remove volatile chemicals from the air, all in hopes of luring them into STEM professions. 

 

 

Dr. Michael Burns

Biography:

Michael Burns is a molecular biologist researching the role of microbiome interactions with cancer as well as with common pharmaceuticals, dietary, and environmental compounds. His work has been published in PLoS Genetics, Genome Medicine, Nature, and Nature Genetics. He is also a National Academies Education Mentor in the Life Sciences and runs workshops on Scientific Teaching nationally and internationally. He is also a mentor for several undergraduate research organizations. He has received numerous research fellowships from a variety of national organizations. Dr. Burns co-runs an informal student and community seminar series on topics at the intersection of Science and Fatih. His work as a Community Engaged Scholar stems from his STEM outreach into faith communities.

Project Overview: 

Working alongside Dr. Joe Vukov in the Philosophy Department, Dr. Burns' community-engaged research focuses on increasing scientific literacy and positive affect in religious communities. From a motivational standpoint, there are salient differences between practicing scientists and the rest of the public in the USA. A small minority of the top scientists are religious, while the majority of the public belong to faith communities. For several relevant topics, there are both real and perceived conflicts between science and some faiths. Our work is intended to bridge these divides by helping people find creative ways to integrate modern scientific findings into their belief systems. There are several different facets to the work: intellectual humility, interfaith dialogues, pedagogical best-practices, and epistemological training. We have developed a nationwide network of faith leaders, theologians, and scientists who are excited about these efforts. Our model for discussing the importance of evolution, climate change, the nature of consciousness and free will, and others with faith groups has been very well received. Some of the questions we are interested in addressing include: What are the specific scientific topics that are the most challenging for different faith communities? How are efforts to increase positive scientific affect and literacy influenced by working with homogenous groups of a single faith when compared to intentionally mixed interfaith groups? What strategies and interventions provide the most positive outcomes within these groups? Answering these questions, we anticipate, will provide a framework for fostering an appreciation of the philosophical and empirical underpinnings of science among faith communities in a non-threatening manner.

 

Dr. Keith Green

Biography:

Keith R. Green, PhD, MSW is a native Chicagoan with strong community roots and an extensive history as an organizer, educator, researcher, and advocate. Dr. Green is currently an assistant professor in the School of Social Work, where his research agenda is focused primarily on understanding the role of community-based organizations (CBOs) in the antiretroviral-based HIV prevention era. Dr. Green earned his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. His dissertation research, completed as an NRSA Health Services Research Program Predoctoral Trainee, explored how varying Affordable Care Act implementation strategies across the country impact CBO efforts to engage the nation’s most vulnerable populations to consider Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV. In addition to his professional and academic achievements, Dr. Green is also an award-winning spoken word artist and was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2012.

Project Overview:

Green's Community Engaged Scholarly project is focused on: (1) understanding the scope of methamphetamine use/abuse among Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (BGMSM) in Chicago; (2) understand motivations for use among BGMSM and barriers to effective treatment; and (3) identify/construct resources for service providers and public health officials involved with this population. Acquiring a better understanding of the causes of methamphetamine use among this population and developing community-informed resources can potentially deter new users, guide current users to treatment resources, and ultimately contribute to thwarting additional HIV infections and deaths in the city.

 

Dr. Seungho Moon

Biography:

Seungho Moon is an associate professor in Curriculum Studies at Loyola University Chicago (LUC). In 2011, he received his Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies from Teachers College, Columbia  University. His research and passion center on releasing the social imagination for promoting equity and justice in education by interrogating interdisciplinary knowledge in Curriculum Studies, community-university-school partnership, and transnational theories. He published more than 30 peer reviewed journal articles, book reviews, and books. Representative books are The Curriculum Foundations Reader (Co-authored with Ryan and Tocci, 2020) and Three approaches to qualitative research through the ARtS: Narratives of teaching for social justice and community (2019). He is the recipient of an early career award from the Critical Issues in Curriculum and Cultural Studies (CICCS) Special interest Group at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 2017.

Project Overview:

SUCCEED Lab (Schools, Universities, & Communities Collaborating for Equitable Educational Development) is led by Dr. Seungho Moon, an associate professor in the School of Education. He and his team are conducting research in some of our partner schools to demonstrate the efficacy of the University-Assisted Community Schools Initiative and the work of our team. Through qualitative and quantitative research studies, Dr. Moon's team will examine the effectiveness of bringing the community into schools and providing supports for students and families. The research is being conducted over the course of the 2019-2020 school year.

 

Dr. George Villanueva

Biography:

George Villanueva, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Advocacy and Social Change in the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago. He is broadly interested in the global performative context of multiethnic community transformations. To this end, he studies the role that communication, media, activism, and expressive culture play in place-based advocacy and social change goals of marginalized groups in cities. In addition to his academic background, George has over 15 years practitioner experience in electoral politics, urban planning & development, community organizing, and community program evaluation. Visit www.georgevillanueva.com for more information.

Project Overview:

“Critical communication” and “communication activism” pedagogies in universities are important because they teach students to become aware of how communication processes can produce social difference and be harnessed to advocate for social justice.  To keep these pedagogical aims relevant to younger generations, the pedagogies can benefit from an injection of culturally responsive approaches that engage college students today.  To this end, this my project reflects on the fusion of “critical hip hop pedagogy” into my own communication teaching praxis through a course I developed, “Hip Hop Culture, Communication, and Social Change.”  The course seeks to open up critical pedagogical spaces that examine social difference in society at large and culturally expressive modes of community building and activism in Chicago.

 

Dr. Joe Vukov

Biography:

Joe Vukov is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department. He completed his PhD at Fordham University (2016), a Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Bioethics (2015), an MA in Humanities at the University of Chicago (2008), and a BA in Philosophy at Bethel University (2007). In 2019, Dr. Vukov received the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is a member of the Mellon Philosophy as a Way of Life Network, and is a 2019-2021 Faculty Fellow in Loyola's Center for Experiential Learning. With Dr. Michael Burns (Loyola-Biology), Dr. Vukov runs Loyola’s Science and Religion Discussion Group. Dr. Vukov's research explores questions at the intersection of ethics, neuroscience, and the philosophy of mind. His recent and forthcoming work appears in venues including: Synthese, American Journal of Bioethics, American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience, Journal of the American Philosophical Association, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.​

 

Project Overview:

Intellectual humility (IH) is associated with greater general knowledge, knowledge acquisition, reflective thinking, intellectual engagement, and curiosity (Krumrei et al. 2019). Put simply: IH supports learning. IH also intersects with religious belief. For example, Hopkin et al. (2014) find that IH can moderate reactions to written opinions about religious beliefs. So IH not only supports learning--it also supports healthy attitudes that, in a time of political and religious polarization, are increasingly important. But how can one foster IH among members of diverse communities as they explore religiously-relevant topics? Moreover, once we have identified techniques for fostering IH, how can one build capacity to implement them to support

 

 

Not yet featured: Dr. Helena Dagadu, Department of Sociology Assistant Professor