Center for Compassionate & Sustainable Communities
Using research and practice to advance human flourishing
* Development and teaching courses was made possible by a National Science Foundation grant (Award # 1751696) CAREER: Integrated Modeling of Hazard Mitigation Stakeholder Networks for Compassionate, Sustainable Risk Reduction.
Ward Lyles & Stacey Swearingen
Emotions motivate public servants—we want to see community members flourish rather than suffer. But our education, training, and professional norms lead us to control or avoid emotions in the course of work. We call this dynamic the emotional paradox of public engagement. Our research illustrates perils resulting from the paradox as well as paths forward to re-imagine public engagement as caring.
In Spring 2020, CCSC funded several "mini grants" to fund faculty and graduate students projects that were related to the CCSC vision and mission. This effort was in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the next few months, we will be highlighting these mini grants on this page.
"Conceptualizing Compassion" is a qualitative study exploring social workers' experiences with compassion. Social work practice is becoming more frequently guided by measurable and definable outcomes and the use of evidence-based practices. Nevertheless, for many practitioners the human, relational, and emotive aspects of social work practice are what make their work meaningful. Further, scholarship addressing practitioner-client relationships continues to identify the significance of constructs such as empathy, connection, and compassion in improving client outcomes. This study's findings highlighted the significance of social workers connecting human to human in their work. Additionally, participants identified compassion for self and others as a source of strength and resilience.
PhD students in the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Morgan Farnworth and Kelly Overstreet discuss their project assessing the institutional differences and disciplinary values of integrated public affairs and urban planning programs at US universities. Tracking the trend of urban planning programs increasingly being housed within schools of public administration and policy, the researchers ask, what are the implications for both fields of study, especially regarding education around equity, social and racial justice, and diversity? Their findings may be useful at multiple scales within higher education: encouraging educators in both fields to consider the role of values, informing graduate curriculum decisions in integrated programs, and building a values-based framework for public service education – for both administrators and planners.
The practice of divination has been and continues to be used by cultures throughout the world to help people navigate difficult futures. The Prairie Divination Deck turns to the plants and animals of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem in the as a source for knowledge and inspiration as to how to live in the world (and to re-align thinking towards kinship and sustainability). How might thinking with plants and animals allow us a different lens through which to see our present world and histories--and help to imagine futures?