Liberal Arts Action Lab Announces 4 Teams for Spring 2019

With over 20 proposals submitted by Hartford community partners, the Liberal Arts Action Lab has formed 4 research teams for Spring 2019. These project teams will focus on a diverse set of issues facing Hartford from developing culinary job training to expanding park and trail access. All students will meet together in the Action Research Methods course on Monday afternoons and also will participate in one of the four Hartford research project teams below:

Culinary Careers Project

Food service is one of the few options open to people with barriers to employment, especially in Hartford. Many people of color and women, however, are mired in entry-level positions without advancing due to lack of training and often-unconscious racism and sexism in the culinary sector. In this project, students will conduct research to improve training programs for entry-level food service workers to move into middle-income managerial jobs. They will review other national training models, participate in phone interviews with programs, identify any best practice reports available, and review and rank conferences for relevance.

Day and time: Tuesday afternoons, 1:30-4:10 pm

Community Partner: Cary Wheaton, Billings Forge Community Works

Faculty Fellow: India Weaver, Capital Community College

Student Success Project

West Indians comprise the largest foreign-born population in Connecticut at precisely the same time that budgets for “new arrivals” programs aimed at easing their transition into the K-12 education systems have been slashed. In this project, students will gather data from parents, students, and teachers in Hartford area schools to answer the question: how do local area schools integrate West Indian children and their parents into the education system when English language learning and programs aimed at cultural competency often miss the nuances of the needs of English-speaking migrants, their children who emigrate with them, as well as their first-generation children?

Day and time: Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:10 pm

Community Partner: West Indian Foundation (Desmond Collins, President; Violette Haldane, VP of Programming; and Dr. Fiona Vernal, board member), West Indian Foundation (founded 1978)

Faculty Fellow: Cleo Rolle, Capital Community College

Latinx Theater Project

Upwards of 45 percent of the population in Hartford identifies as Hispanic or Latinx. After surveying their audience, Hartford Stage identified a need for both Spanish-language theater and Spanish-language published materials which accompany their shows. Students in this project will collect qualitative and quantitative data from Hartford’s Latinx arts community to improve and expand Hartford Stage’s partnerships and programming.

Day and time: Wednesday afternoons, 1:15-3:55 pm

Community Partner: Rachel Alderman and Theresa MacNaughton, Hartford Stage

Faculty Fellow: Diana Aldrete, Trinity College

Riverside Recapture Project

Riverfront Recapture is seeking to expand access to the Connecticut River to include neighborhoods in the North End of Hartford. This expansion will allow for an increase in environmentally-friendly transportation in the city and access to other green space in the region, and the organization is planning on adding amenities to existing trail systems that will remove barriers to access. In this project, students will engage residents in the planning processes, provide an opportunity for their voices to be heard, and identify barriers, needs, and interests, in order to create a park and trail system that will be fully utilized and valued as a community asset.

Day and time: Thursday afternoons, 1:30-4:10 pm

Community Partner: Martha Conneely, Riverfront Recapture

Faculty Fellow: Stefanie Chambers, Trinity College

Contact Action Lab Director Megan Brown for questions or to learn how to apply for the next round of Action Lab projects.

[Photo by Nick Caito, Trinity College]