Linking Theory to Praxis through Diversity Research and Service Learning: A Practical Model for Small Undergraduate Communication Programs

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Practicing diversity in a Historically Black University is not a simple affirmation. It is an action, that is, something that one does with students, and something that the students do with each other and the surrounding communities. It is a way of life. It is a work ethic. This paper documents a historically and culturally situated academic program development aimed at addressing social justice issues through undergraduate research and service learning. In particular, this paper examines the evolution of an undergraduate research and service learning agenda in the Speech Communication and Mass Communication programs at Xavier University of Louisiana, by profiling the institution’s history and identity as an HBCU, and examining the faculty and institutional response to the growing need for undergraduate research and service learning as learning tools. It also proposes a practical model for implementing undergraduate research and service learning into a departmental culture that teaches communication to change the human condition and promotes the University's mission to create a more just and humane society.


Keywords: Small Undergraduate Communication Programs, Practical Model, Program Development, Undergraduate Research, Service Learning
Stream: Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Linking Theory to Praxis through Diversity Research and Service Learning


Dr. Dominique Gendrin

Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Communications, Xavier University of Louisiana
New Orleans, LA, USA

Dominique Gendrin is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communications at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans (USA). Her research interests include Intrapersonal and Social Cognition, Instructional Communication, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication, and Family and Marital Communication. Her most recent work on African American communication and identities in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) has appeared in the New Jersey Journal of Communication, the Journal of Instructional Psychology, and Communication Research Reports. She has presented numerous conference papers at the National Communication Association (NCA), and The Southern Speech Communication Association (SSCA). She has also presented papers at The National Association of African American Studies, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACCS), and The HBCU Summit on Retention. In addition to teaching courses in Communication Studies, Dr. Gendrin also engages students in independent undergraduate research, as well as through research community initiatives. She was recently appointed Associate Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research at Xavier University. Born and raised in Paris, France, Dr. Gendrin has done her graduate work in the United States where she has made her home for the last 30 years.

Ref: D08P0266