Campus Compact Names Dr. Jonathan Chism an Engaged Scholar
By Sheryl E. Taylor
National nonprofit Campus Compact aligns with the University of Houston-Downtown’s dedication to civic and community engagement in higher education.
So much so that the organization selected UHD’s Dr. Jonathan Chism for inclusion in its newest cohort of 2022-2023 Engaged Scholars initiative. Chism joins 14 faculty and practitioner-scholars. UHD's Impact Learning Office nominated Chism and sponsored his attendance to the Campus Compact conference for Engaged Scholars according to ILO Executive Director Dr. Poonam Gulati.
When asked what he wants to accomplish as a member of this cohort, “I am enthusiastic about exploring how engaged scholars can enhance and improve university-community partnerships so that they are more transformative in nature,” he said. “In this vein, I plan to reflect on my facilitation of service-learning courses with the Urban Enrichment Institute, an afterschool program that serves Hispanic and Black youth. I also am striving to complete a journal article that outlines the history of UHD’s engagement with the UEI and that assesses the strengths and growing edges of the university-community partnership.”
As the largest and oldest higher education association, Campus Compact states that it “takes a comprehensive approach to supporting member institutions—helping them build the knowledge, skills, and capacity needed to enable a just, equitable, and sustainable future. Its members make up a force of thousands of presidents, faculty, researchers, students, and civic and community engagement experts at colleges and universities.”
According to Campus Compact, these Engage Scholars will take part in a yearlong collaborative learning and leadership program that will strengthen their individual and collective scholarship, research, and impact. The program is in partnership with the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility at Swarthmore College, with the goals for:
- Increasing knowledge of community-engaged scholarship
- Deepening commitment and ability to advance equity and full participation
- Advancing scholarly objectives
- Strengthening professional networks
- Generating individual and collaborative work
“I hope to share new ideas that I learn from reading community-engaged scholarship and attending workshops with fellow engaged scholars at UHD who teach service-learning courses,” Chism said.
He added, “I want to inspire more colleagues and students to move beyond seeing community engagement as mere charitable outreach to communities and to respect the reciprocal nature of university-community partnerships, recognizing that local communities have much to teach members of the university. Community engagement is about giving to local communities and being open to learn from them as well by seeing its utility and potential for advancing equity and social justice.”
Chism is an Assistant Professor of History and a UHD Fellow for the Center for Critical Race Studies. His current research examines the intersections between race, religion, and disability studies. His research explores diverse ways African American religious groups and figures have pursued social justice and transformation. He has presented academic papers at the American Academy of Religion, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and the Society for Pentecostal Studies.
He is the co-editor for “Critical Race Studies Across Disciplines: Resisting Racism through Scholactivism,” (Lexington Books 2021), author of “Saints in the Struggle: Church of God in Christ Activists in the Memphis Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968” (Lexington Books 2019) and “30-Day Journey with Martin Luther King Jr.,“(Fortress Press 2019). The ordained minister has established organizations that advocate for prisoners and persons with disabilities.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.