Collaborative Project in Student Learning

The Examination of Enduring Questions through Humanitarian Education

Project Overview | Letter from the Director | Project Team | Faculty Learning Communities

Humanitarian education and JUHAN is entering a new and exciting phase at Fairfield University. Through new funding from the Teagle Foundation, Fairfield will be partnering with Georgetown University and the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Nicaragua to equip students to deal more effectively with some of the large clusters of “great questions” of meaning, value, and moral responsibility. This grant follows upon the 2008 award to Fairfield by the Teagle Foundation to develop an assessment framework in partnership with Georgetown and Fordham to measure the impact of JUHAN on student learning and personal development.

cfpl_jleatherman13A Letter from the Project Director
Dr. Janie Leatherman, Professor of Politics and International Studies and the Director of the Fulbright Program

"In August 2013, Fairfield University officially launched its new Teagle Foundation-funded grant with its partner institutions Georgetown and the University of Central America (UCA), Nicaragua, 'Collaborative Project in Student Learning:The Examination of Enduring Questions through Humanitarian Education.' Project teams from each campus will use humanitarian action and the Jesuit Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) as a conduit to integrate civic and moral responsibility into their undergraduate curriculum to equip students to deal effectively with some of the large clusters of “great questions” of meaning and value, and of moral responsibility.

While we live in a world bordered by politics, fences and surveillance designed to keep out those who 'don’t belong,' human displacement continues to be one of the leading dramas of the 21st century. For the fifth consecutive year, in 2011 the total number of forcibly displaced people continued in excess of 42 million. This figure includes 15.2 million refugees, 26.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), and 895,000 asylum seekers, while 4.8 million Palestinians remain registered with UNRWA. In addition, the UNHCR estimates there may be over 12 million stateless people worldwide.

But the iconic image of the refugee camp as the symbol of human suffering is being rapidly replaced by a more invisible emergency-the growing number of urban refugees whose status often goes undetected and needs unmet, with attendant risks of (gendered) violence, including rape, exploitation, kidnapping, and trafficking. Climate change is also likely to act as a threat multiplier, increasing the potential for environmental conflicts, and adding new complexities to the interface between migration, displacement and humanitarian crises.

Since spring 2013, I have come on board as project director, building on contributions I have made to the JUHAN project at Fairfield, including the JUHAN 'toolkit,' and new course offerings, such as Challenges of Global Politics, and Gender, War, Peace, along with a course inspired by fieldwork that I look forward to teaching for the first time this fall, Border Politics.

I bring to my duties as project director for our new Teagle grant my experience as a scholar, facilitator, and consultant on humanitarian concerns, including work for The Brookings Institution, Catholic Relief Services, Search for Common Ground, and the South Balkans Working Group of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York). My most recent book-length contribution is Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict (Polity Press, 2011). I am now working on another text for Polity Press onGlobal Peace Studies, as well as research on the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Arizona/Nogales, Sonora, Mexico for a study on safe spaces in humanitarian crises. As I am fluent in Spanish, collaboration with colleagues at UCA will also be a special pleasure and opportunity to learn new perspectives on humanitarian action from their experiences.

So, it is with a profound sense of mission and purpose that I assume duties to direct the current three-year Teagle Grant. I am excited to work with project teams at Fairfield, Georgetown and UCA to develop models of humanitarian curriculum that will inspire colleges and universities in the United States and other parts of the world."


Project Team

Fairfield University Project Team:

  • Janie Leatherman, Project Director
  • Richard Ryscavage, Director, Center for Faith and Public Life
  • Julie Mughal, Associate Director, Center for Faith and Public Life

Interdisciplinary Project Advisory Group:

  • Patricia Calderwood, Ph.D., Professor of Curriculum & Instruction, Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions; Director, Center for Academic Excellence
  • David McFadden, Ph.D., Professor of History, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Patricia Poli, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Accounting, Dolan School of Business:
  • Sally Gerard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing
  • Shannon Reckinger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering
  • Suzanna Klaf, Ph.D., Associate Director, Center for Academic Excellence

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Faculty Learning Communities (FLC)

Under the Teagle Foundation-funded grant, the Center for Faith and Public Life in collaboration with Fairfield University’s Center for Academic Excellence will be running Faculty Learning Communities each semester over the next three years starting in Fall 2013. The goal of the FLCs is to establish a community of scholars comprised of a core group of faculty and administrators which will equip students to engage in JUHAN and to explore great questions through a JUHAN lens. The FLCs will be comprised of up to seven faculty drawn from Fairfield’s five schools. These FLCs will work to design JUHAN-designated courses and to use these courses as platforms to explore "enduring questions" related to Jesuit values as well as to moral and civic development.

Each member of the FLC will:

  1. Develop a course into a new JUHAN-designated course, or re-designed course.

  2. Share ideas and explore innovative ways of providing students with a rich JUHAN experience through different teaching and learning experiences and activities.

  3. Promote the exploration of great/enduring questions through JUHAN. Examine Fairfield University’s Core in relation to the big questions that emerge.

  4. Provide mutual support in developing and teaching JUHAN-designated courses and the use of JUHAN as a platform to explore great/enduring questions.

Fall 2013 Faculty Learning Community:

Facilitator: Larry Miners, Ph.D, Professor of Economics, College of Arts & Sciences

FLC Members:

  • Cinthia Gannett, Associate Professor of English, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Jermain Griffin, Associate Director of International Studies, College of Arts & Sciences
  • David McFadden, Ph.D., Professor of History, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Margo Ramlal-Nankoe, Ph.D, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Patricia Poli, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Accounting, Dolan School of Business
  • Sally Gerard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing
  • Shannon Reckinger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering

If you are interested in joining a future FLC, please contact Julie Mughal.

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