This page contains news about my community engagement projects.

York Road Literacy and Employment Initiative

The York Road Literacy and Employment Initiative is an ongoing community-based research and engagement project that partners Loyola, Richnor Springs, GEDCO/CARES, and other York Road corridor stakeholders to bring about positive change in north Baltimore.

As part of this IRB-approved community-based research project, students from my spring 2014 WR325, Rhetoric of Professional Writing class worked with Richnor Springs residents to compose online literacy resources. Those resources focused on using MS Word and the Internet. Material also included writing effective cover letters and résumés and preparing for job interviews. My students also worked with Richnor Springs on another adopted lot and block clean up. Here are some pictures from that service-learning project.

As part of Loyola’s summer Kolvenbach research award program, my research assistant, Giuliana Caranante, and I revised the WR325 resources and conducted usability testing on them with participants from Baltimore’s GEDCO/CARES. Using this data, we revised the resources again and then ran three community literacy workshops in cooperation with GEDCO/CARES. We also collected data from the workshops to improve the project and the workshop material.

We are currently coding and analyzing our data, but initial results show that the resources and the workshops were very helpful. Most importantly, seven of our fourteen workshop attendees obtained employment. Eventually, the literacy resources will be housed on the GEDCO/CARES website for future workshops. Access the draft resources here.

Read more about my community work in Baltimore in the October 2011 issue of the Loyola College Newsletter and in chapter 6 of Partners in Literacy: A Writing Center Model for Civic Engagement.

Richnor Springs, Baltimore, Maryland

During the spring 2011 semester, a group of students from my WR220, Introduction to Rhetoric course worked with the Richnor Springs community to update information on the Richnor Springs Livebaltimore website and to develop a neighborhood association meeting flier. Since then, neighborhood association meeting attendance has skyrocketed from a hand full of concerned citizens to a room full of people at Loyola’s 5104 building on York Road. Access the Richnor Springs meeting flier here.

Students from my fall 2011 WR325, Rhetoric of Professional Writing class worked with Richnor Springs to develop their own website and to collect narrative histories to help tell the story of the neighborhood.

Students from my spring 2012 WR387, Technical Writing class conducted usability tests on the Richnor Springs website using traditional time on task, mouse click, and survey methods, as well as using the EyeGuide eye tracking system.

Students from my fall 2013 WR305, Writing for the Web class worked with Richnor Springs to revise the Dreamweaver site into a WordPress site that the community can now update themselves. We also helped Richnor Springs clean up a vacant lot that the community adopted from Baltimore City. Here are some pictures from that service-learning eventVisit the Richnor Springs website here.

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Baltimore, Maryland

In fall 2011, a group from my WR325, Rhetoric of Professional Writing course worked closely with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School to tutor their students in writing. In addition to this wonderful service, the students created a tutoring handbook as a deliverable to help future writing tutors at Cristo Rey. View the Cristo Rey Tutor Handbook in PDF.