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Trinity College launches center to spur civic engagement

BY Joe Cooper

9/6/2018
PHOTO | CHER
PHOTO | CHER
CHER members will hold focus-group sessions on Sept. 12 and Sept. 13.
In an effort to strengthen civic partnerships in Hartford, Trinity College is consolidating its five community engagement programs into a single group that will tackle various issues and problems faced by city residents.

Trinity's Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) features a wide range of Hartford programs focused on fostering academic connections, building community partnerships, investigating local problems, bridging the digital divide and forging bonds between public schools and colleges.

The group's program members include Community Learning, Community Service and Civic Engagement, Liberal Arts Action Lab, Trinfo.Cafe and Urban Educational Initiatives.

CHER is overseen by Tim Cresswell, Trinity's chief academic officer, and dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs. Jack Dougherty, professor of educational studies, serves as the program's first director in a two-year assignment.

In its inaugural year, CHER will offer 20 "community learning" courses, where faculty and students collaborate with residents, Dougherty said. Meantime, Trinity and Capital Community College students will work together on projects related to local food policies, workforce opportunities for young adults and homeownership.

"When students learn from an array of experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, they become more aware of the needs in the community, they discover their ability to help solve real-world problems, and they develop the capacity to learn how to learn from their experiences," Cresswell said.

Organizers are accepting nominations for a CHER Hartford-Resident Advisory Board to provide guidance for the program. Applications are due Sept. 15, and those accepted will be invited to up to three meetings a year.

Community members are urged to join CHER at focus-group sessions on Sept. 12 from 3 to 4 p.m., and Sept. 13 from 9 to 10 a.m. at 70 Vernon St.

For more information visit here.