Anti-Racism Community of Practice

Racism is deeply embedded in the fabric of this country and of our higher education institutions. Through this Community of Practice, we seek to create an inclusive, co-learning space to explore the ways white supremacy and racism manifest in ourselves and in our practice of community engagement and the avenues, resources, and spaces we have to undo racism in our work and spheres of influence. We seek to create a confidential, safe, and supportive space that will facilitate co-learning and healing practices. We see this CoP as a first step towards ongoing work towards dismantling racism and white supremacy and embodying the values of full participation and equity.

Like other Campus Compact Communities of Practice, this CoP will be built by the participants, as a space for exploring and learning together. We invite participants to join us in encouraging sacred space for having critical conversations about the influence of race and racism on our identity.  We will have at least three overlapping areas of focus:

  1. How our own experiences with racism and anti-racism have taught us ways of thinking and feeling about race;
  2. How  the field of higher education community engagement has been a space that has both perpetuated and struggled against racism; and
  3. How we can support on-going practice that is anti-colonial and based in liberation.

As facilitators who know both the power of solidarity and allyship, our goal is to create a space that is authentic to everyone’s experiences with the understanding that racism impacts our lives differently depending on which group we fall into. The CoP will be divided into two caucus groups, one for BIPOC identifying folks and one for White identifying folks.  We will meet much of the time in separate caucus groups, periodically coming back together to discuss strategies moving forward.  There will be a total of 20-30 slots for this CoP, with 10-15 per caucus group.

July 7
July 14
July 21
July 28
August 4
August 11
All sessions will take place from 12-2 PM Eastern

2/17 – Orientation
2/24 – Session 1
3/10 – Session 2
3/24 – Session 3
4/7 – Session 4
4/21 – Session 5
5/5 – Session 6
All sessions will take place from 12-1:30 EST


Sharyn Lowenstein has taught in higher education for 40 years. At Lasell University she directed the Center for Community-Based Learning for 18 years, led the college’s Carnegie Community Engagement certification application process, and wrote many successful VISTA applications. The Center has worked with a wide variety of local, regional, and national partners, and has engaged in two-three alternative break experiences annually. During her 2017 Sabbatical, Sharyn studied democracy in higher education, with a specific focus on Deliberative Dialogue. Currently, Sharyn teaches one-two social justice courses a semester, and serves as case coordinator of Communities for Restorative Justice, a Massachusetts state organization working with 27+ cities and towns to bring victims and responsible parties together in dialogue. During the fall 2020 semester, she co-facilitated a CoP on Community Engaged Learning and Teaching, and this spring she is co-facilitating a CoP on Partnerships.

As a white person, Sharyn believes she has a responsibility to continue learning and acting on that learning to help make the US a much more equal union. She understands that this is a lifelong commitment.

Dr. Aaliyah Baker is an Associate Professor in the College of Graduate Studies at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, WI. She began her career in education as a classroom teacher with the Milwaukee Public School system. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Multicultural Education from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Dr. Baker works with individuals and institutions by connecting theory, research, and equity practice in multiple local, state, national, and international settings. Her research infuses knowledge of cultural exchange and experiences in South Africa, Cuba, and Morocco. She teaches courses that operationalize frameworks and competencies of critical consciousness, critical thinking skills, and issues of social justice. In 2019-20, Dr. Baker was selected as a Midwest Engaged Scholar of Campus Compact. She publishes scholarship that advances constructive dialogue, responsive practice, and an exploration of race, identity, and culture.

Aaliyah’s professional and personal identities intersect and contribute to one another. Aaliyah is committed to exploring culture and identity, alongside and among others, in order to influence systems thinking with regard for building and sustaining a more just society.

I have worked with civic engagement and service-learning in higher education for 40 years—as a college teacher, then as director of service-learning/civic engagement offices at a small private college and a state university, then since 2015 as Director of Civic Learning and Engagement for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, where I work with the 29 public colleges and universities in the state to make civic learning an “expected outcome” for their undergraduates. I have a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan.

I have taught courses on leadership, public policy, organizing, and mentoring, and have written on education for democracy. For the past 20 years my work has centered on the relationships between privilege, power, knowledge, democracy and social justice, and on shaping civic and community engagement so it moves toward justice. As a White man, I am responsible to use my privilege to work against racism and the other intersecting forms of oppression in our society. Figuring out how to do that is a journey for the rest of my life.

Dr. Marisol Morales has served as the Vice President for Network Leadership for Campus Compact, based out of Chicago, Illinois, since 2018. In this role Morales provides guidance, inspiration, and practical support to network staff across the country, helping state and regional directors achieve local goals while advancing shared network priorities. She leads Campus Compact’s efforts to increase inclusion, equity, and diversity internally and in higher education community engagement. She trains and presents regularly on issues related to higher education community engagement and equity. Morales is also the co-host of the bi-weekly Campus Compact podcast, Compact Nation as well as host of the Campus Compact National Webinar Series. Prior to joining Campus Compact, Morales was the founding Director of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement at the University of La Verne from 2013-2018 and the Associate Director of the Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning and Community Service Studies at DePaul University from 2005-2013. Marisol holds a BA in Latin American/Latino Studies and a MS/MS in International Public Service Management both from DePaul University. She earned her Ed.D in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne in 2020. Her dissertation focused on the community engagement experiences of Latinx students at a Hispanic Serving Institution.

As a person who identifies as afro-Puerto Rican, Marisol seeks to bring her intersecting identities into her work toward equity and social justice. Commitment to anti-colonial and liberatory practice is the way she frames her community engagement research and practice.