Campus Compact Virtual Summit Session

How to Facilitate an Exploration of Epistemic Justice and Community Engagement Through the Power of Stories

The Session begins at 4:08 in this video on You Tube:

Here is the on-line chat from the sessions:

Elaine Ikeda​Yay California peeps! Star, Chris and John – among our best stars!!!

bunnyburrows​Really looking forward to this session! Thank you for lifting up this content, Campus Compact.

Robert Shumer​Hi Chris.

Lina Dostilio​I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks! Portals, containers, and stories… yes!

Char Gray-Sorensen​I agree, Lina. Good to know you’re here too

Holly Logan​Holly here from Temple University, on Lenape land now known as Philadelphia

Bea Palmer​Thankyou!

Victoria Vogelgesang​Tori Vogelgesang, Kentucky Campus Compact. Tuning in from Cincinnati, land of Hopewell and others

Robert Shumer​on Dakota land in Minnesota

Mishma Mukith​Hi I’m Mishma! Tuning in from Treaty 6 territory.

Heather Jo Mashburn​Hi, Heather Jo Mashburn from Appalachian State University. We are situated on the land of the Watuaga and Cherokee nations

Manda Wittebort​Hello Family, My name is Manda Wittebort and I live and work in the lands of arapaho, cheyenne and ute nations. Super blessed to be listening to these radical leaders

Char Gray-Sorensen​I want to acknowledge the land of the Lenape on which I live.

Kara Casey Adams​Kara Adams from Seattle, WA…Coastal Salish land and peoples

Joanna Bartow​Southern Maryland, Yaocomico lands

Sage Alia Clemenco​Sage Clemenco, watching from Finger Lakes area – ancestral home of the Haudenosaunee people.

Jana Schroeder​Hello from the ancestral hunting grounds of the Shawnee and Delaware people of east central Indiana

Tanden Brekke​Bethel University, St. Paul MN. Dakota land

bunnyburrows​Tuning in from the traditional lands of Coast Salish People including the Duwamish and Suquamism tribes

Pia Banzhaf​Watching from MSU, Michigan

Sapan Parekh​Sapan Parekh – Bellevue College outside Seattle. “Coast Salish Peoples that includes but is not limited to: Snoqualmie, Suquamish, Duwamish, Nisqually, Tulalip, and Muckleshoot Peoples.”

Kate Murphy​Kate Murphy from Tacoma, WA home of the Coast Salish and Puyallup people

Geralyn Williams​Geralyn Williams in New Jersey on the lands of the Lenni Lenape.

Becca Berkey​Boston, MA- Wamponoag and Massachusett land

Erin Barry​Hello from St. John Fisher College and Rochester, NY!

L.Marie Avila​Thank you for the land acknowledgement in your opening. (Anishinaabe). University of Kansas

Andrew Seligsohn

​Watching from Boston, very near the lands that are the subject of active struggle by our neighbors in the Mashpee Wampanoag community.

Amy Albert​Amy Albert – University of Rhode Island– I want to honor the Narragansett land

Vincent Delgado​Vincent Delgado, Huetar Land, Central Pacific Coast, Costa Rica (Michigan State University)

Selam Misgano​Hey everyone, am joining from south Seattle! Representing university of Washington

idinour​Itai Dinour currently on traditional lands of the Lenni Lenape

Jane Turk​Jane Turk, Saint Paul, MN, Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact, Dakota homeland

Kimberly Garner​My name is Kimmie Garner from Duke University. I acknowledge the land of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation here in Carrboro, NC.

Andrea Wise​Hi friends. Andrea Wise from UC Berkeley, which sits on Ohlone land.

Briana Middleton​Hello from SUNY Brockport!

Iowa Campus Compact​Hi, Emily Shields in Des Moines, Iowa, home of the Otoe and others

Manda Wittebort​@Andrea Wise hey there!

Carina Wilson​Grinnell, IA originally sauk, meskwaki, and sioux nation land.

Kelly Fortner​Kelly Fortner, I am currently settled on the unceded lands of the Wiyot Peoples, lands that the Wiyot people have lived on and with since time immemorial.

Tammy Bean​Tammy from Cedar Crest College, on Lenae Land, now known as Norristown, PA

Tammy Nyden​Tammy from Iowa City honoring ancestors and peoples of the Sauk and Meskawaki

Jelmore4me​Justina Elmore, University of Rochester. I acknowledge, respect and honor the lands taken from indigenous peoples, both on the land where I live and the lands of the university for which I work.

Lynn Hartle​Hi Tammy Bean​Tammy from Cedar Crest College, on Lenae Land, now known as Norristown, PA i am at :PSU Brandywine in Media pa

Jon Schmidt​Jon from Loyola Chicago on land of Potawatomie, Ojibwa and Odawa and other tribes

Manda Wittebort​@Elaine Ikeda nice to see you hear! This is Manda from IARSLCE. miss you and the crew

Lori Johansson​Hi everyone. I’m Lori Johansson from The College of New Jersey in Trenton, NJ and I want to acknowledge and respect the Lenape who are the original people to live on this land.

Melissa Quan​Melissa Quan from Fairfield University in Connecticut, land of the Pequonnock Indians

Tiwana Merritt​Hi everyone, I’m working at an international school here in Johannesburg, SA. I’m very interested in this topic as there is a lot going on here….

Joy Das​Joy Das, on Haudenosaunee lands, from Cornell University

Angie Cuevas​I honor the tribes of the Omaha, Ponca, Winnebego, Sioux here at The University of Nebraska Omaha.

Liane Akana​Aloha, I am living and working in Honolulu, the former Kingdom of Hawaii.

Peter Thompson​from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, on the stolen lands of the Chumash People, the Wishtoyo, Coastal and Barbareno Bands of the Chumash

Rodney Gould​From UC Santa Barbara the land of the Chumash

Lina Dostilio​Lina Dostilio, listening from land within the Osage Nation, now called Butler County, Western PA

Kara Clark DuQuette​Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana land of the Lenape (Delaware) people.

Barbara Coble​Emory University is on land of the Muscogee (Creek) people

Tammy Nyden​Many People of Color publishing on epistemic injustice – Kristie Dotson, Jose Medina, etc.

Manda Wittebort​thanks @Tammy Nyden I will look all them up

Daniel Tome​Hi Folks! From Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, NJ that sits on Lenni-Lenape land

Geralyn Williams​Thank you Tammy! They are on my list!

Maria Alejandro​Greetings from University of Texas at San Antonio, Center for Civic Engagement

Bea Palmer​John and Chris so good to see you! Excited to learn about this work Star! Thank you for bringing value to our own experiences and stories.

Bea Palmer​Nina Simone–how did I just make the connection about who she was, her work, and her music?! When I saw her documentary/movie, all finally come together. Her music was finally so real for me!

Amanda Buberger, CPS Partnerships​Second Chris’ shout out to Momma Jennifer @ Community Book Center!

Alisha Andrews

​(1/1) Thank you to KPMG for your generous support and sponsorship of the Compact20 Virtual Gathering!

Alisha Andrews

​(2/2) In addition to offering audit, tax, and advisory services, KPMG is working to find solutions to poverty, education, and climate change. Learn more at

Alisha Andrews

​(1/2) Don’t forget to post any questions you might have here!

Alisha Andrews

​(2/2) We will pass along all questions for the presenter, and they will answer as many as they can during Q&A at the end of the session.

Kelsey Maglio​How do we reconcile epistemic justice with SIFTing through information based on the authority and consensus of the sources? What if these authorities perpetuate the exclusion of certain voices?

Robert Shumer​Did my post get sent. Don’t see it.

bunnyburrows​This is such a gift to see the theory that informs your practices. I’m deeply moved by your personal stories attached to this work.

Robert Shumer​In my book Where’s The Wisdom in Service-Learning Dwight Giles writes in the introduction that the wisdom “is in the community.”

bunnyburrows​I’d love to hear more about facilitating these kinds of transformative, vulnerable & honest conversations. Are there best practices you would recommend, especially in early talks or introductions?

Alisha Andrews

​Hi @Robert Shumer we aren’t seeing your post either. Please repost it. We will pass along all questions for the presenters.

Geralyn Williams​Given the work you’ve done in shifting to facilitating this workshop and space virtually, what are some key learnings on accessing our stories in our current virtual climate?

Geralyn Williams​Has you found any connections to community care and healing through these conversations and actions?

Shayna Sheinfeld​Many students cme frm communities typically served by ComEngage but much of CE framework focuses on students coming frm vry different circumstances. How do we acknowledge, honor, educate all students?

Maria Cartagena​I’ve been a community partner to many of our neighboring colleges who has pushed back on who has “knowledge” and who “owns” it. This conversation has been so validating and healing.

Alisha Andrews

​Keep the questions coming! Please know that we are getting a lot of questions across platforms and our team is organizing the questions to get to as many as possible related to session topics.

Elaine Ikeda​Great Job @Alisha Andrews !!!!

Barbara Coble​How do you protect your own spirits when interacting with colleagues who do not acknowledge perpetuating epistemic injustices?

Julie Dunst​My dissertation focused on the articulation of community engagement. I found that there are different ways we frame our terms of community engagement.

Kyoko Ichikawa​Hello from Tokai University in Japan. I am very inspired to join this session today!

Kent Koth​Chris, John and Star — thanks for sharing your wisdom. You model how the personal and professional intersect and how we understand “knowledge.” Such an important conversation.

Shawntay Stocks​”That space isn’t all about hugs!” Right on!

L.Marie Avila​I’d be interested in the response of the panelists to Barbara Cobble’s question.

Shawntay Stocks​”What is the reputation of harm with the community?” Great question!!!

Char Gray-Sorensen​These are such important questions. Will we have a copy of the chat in addition to the slides?

Luis Rodriguez​Be aware, that the term of “America”, while it encompasses identities in the USA, it is also a colonial terminology that suppresses and/or the many American cultures and countries beyond the USA,

Matt Farley

​John Loggins framework for change is Love. Always has been!

Alma Uribe​Yessssssss!

Elaine Ikeda​What a great session! Always good to hear the thoughts of Star, John and Chris!!! Thank you!

Lori Johansson​This is so amazing and inspiring. Thank you so much!!

Jana Schroeder​This was a terrific session. I’m so glad this work is happening.

Andrea Wise​Great job, Star, John, and Chris!

Melissa Quan​Thank you!

Robert Shumer​Ramsey and sigmon, who coined the term service-learning said the hyphen was important because it represented a values orientation…respecting and honoring community.

Laurel Hirt​thank you!

Meg Evans​Excellent. Thanks all!

Steven E Grande​Thank you!

Maria Cartagena​Thank yo for this labor of love

Shawntay Stocks​Thank you for a very engaging and thought provoking session!

Azuri Gonzalez​Thank you for sharing !

Alisha Andrews

​@Char Gray-Sorensen Thank you for your question, the questions should be available with the recording. If not, please reach out to us directly to follow up on those.

Nell Anderson​This was a great session. I am here from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Hi Char!

Elaine Ikeda​Steven Grande!!!Hope you are well!

Sage Alia Clemenco​Will these sessions be available after the conference?

Tiveeda Stovall

​@Sage Alia Clemenco Yes. We anticipate having the recorded sessions available for viewing at the end of May.

Sage Alia Clemenco​Thanks!


How is EJ informing your practice?

It’s been a month since we came together in New Orleans for a preconference session on Epistemic Justice, where you demonstrated vulnerability and trust by sharing your stories. The session was infused with our common determination to address injustice in all aspects of our work; and we want to keep this momentum going. We are reconnecting with you in the wake of our facilitator debrief because we are curious about how participation in the EJ session has been informing your practice. In particular, we offer the following questions and invite you to respond on the blog:

  1. How did the preconference session and related readings and videos on Epistemic Justice shape your engagement in the rest of the IARSLCE conference?
  2. What are some new practices or actions you’ve taken since our gathering that reflect a commitment to epistemic justice?

From Story Circles to Action

Pre-conference participants ended the session in small groups, brainstorming ways we might act in alignment with epistemic justice.  The groups convened around three themes: 1) Community Engaged Scholarship and Epistemic Justice, 2) Finding the Courage to Act when Faced with Epistemic Injustice, and 3) Connecting Intersectionality and Epistemic Justice.  The compiled list of ideas generated by each group can be found in this document: EJ Precon Small Group Notes. We invite you to review the notes and consider which action ideas you might integrate into your community engagement practice.

Naming Structural Testimonial Injustice

I didn’t have a name for what I was observing when I wrote  the Injustice of Institutional Silence in 2015. The precipitating event for the essay was a tenure case involving a woman of color who was practicing emerging forms of scholarship – digital scholarship, community engaged scholarship, trans-disciplinary scholarship. Yet she faced a reward system and review process that did not value what she did as a scholar; did not value her scholarship or her scholarly identity. The faculty member knew that she was being discriminated against, but beyond pointing out questions of fairness and alternative interpretive frames, she, too, did not have a name for the injustice she was the subject of.

Hermeneutical injustice, as a form of discriminatory epistemic injustice, put the scholar at a disadvantage when it came to making sense of her scholarship (and the social experience that formed her scholarly identity), and is related to the rewards system. The specific problem of a reward system and review process that devalue and delegitimize the scholarship and scholars who do community engagement is, as I see it, a particular form of testimonial injustice (the other form of discriminatory epistemic injustice); what is identified as structural testimonial injustice. In this case, it prevented a denial of a fair review by the committee and produced inequalities in opportunity for exercising full epistemic agency by the scholar.

Drawing on the literature on epistemic injustice, as Anderson writes, there is the need to “reconfigure epistemic institutions so as to prevent epistemic injustice from arising. Structural injustices call for structural remedies.” One of those remedies is to revise the promotion and tenure guidelines to specifically value and reward community engaged scholarship (and other emerging forms of scholarship). This would be a first step in shaping the institution of epistemic justice.

Wisdom in the Community

Adapted excerpts from afterword for The Student Companion to Community-Engaged Learning: What You Need to Know for Transformative Learning and Real Social Change. July 2018. David M. Donahue, Star Plaxton-Moore. Tania Mitchell (Forward)

When I was meandering through life after high school, I did not think I had many experiences in my youth that I would have considered significant transformational moments. I most certainly was not equipped to believe that my perceived lack of experiences would eventually lead to a vocation in academia. In fact, when I was growing up in North Hollywood I accepted being invisible and felt most comfortable not being seen, partly because a core Filipino value is the concept of others before self and as a first-generation immigrant my goal was to blend in and not be seen. It was also because I did not have the ability to see the assets in myself and thus did not seem assets in my community. I accepted this because I knew no other way; and even though I now realize that I had a vibrant community teaching me values about myself and others, I did not fully embrace my “beloved community,” a concept that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. originated to describe his vision of peaceful coexistence and equitable interdependence among a diverse population and bell hooks extended as an aspirational model for modern social change.[  As a young person I did not understand the tools of reflection, asset thinking, and dispositional discernment. If I could go back in time and employ the tools articulated in the Student Companion to Community-Engaged Learning such as being a reflective practitioner I would have realized much sooner that my “beloved community” was all around me, a community comprising family, friendships, and a vibrant community of people of all colors and identities.

Fast forward many years later. I realized that I had to embrace what Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jose Vargas urged when he said you have to “run toward yourself.” As a journalist he often reported on injustices in the world while compartmentalizing the inner turmoil he was facing. Vargas’s inner conflict was rooted in the fact that he learned he was undocumented in high school while trying to obtain a driver’s license. He eventually disclosed his immigration status in a 2011 article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, and it was that moment that Vargas decided to “run toward himself,” and reminded me that personal experiences, no matter how big or small, deeply impact how we make meaning in our lives and, when created with intention and purpose, community-engaged experiences not only link theory with practice but powerfully exemplify the promise of higher education that give all of us a chance to run toward ourselves.  

Despite understanding that my experiences and knowledge matter my imposter syndrome persists and shows up like, “just a matter of time till they all find out my knowledge is pretty thin!”  However I am thankful for a question that my mentor and friend Jennifer Turner (Mama J) from the Community Book Center asks of all new comers to New Orleans “what do you get and what does the community get?”  When I think and act on Mama J’s question I think of what Ellen Langer describes as “mindful attending.” Langer suggests that this act of mindfulness strengthens self knowledge through affirming “context and perspective” and “is the essence of engagement.”  Thus I am reminded that my experiences indeed matter and in fact are critical in building relationships that value all wisdom.  

Community wisdom holders bridge the space between town and gown in what Sharon Daloz Parks describes as “the commons.” The commons is where community-engaged pedagogy and practice fit best because the commons acknowledges that the process of inquiry, knowledge creation, and the understanding of where wisdom resides is cocreated with the community. This necessarily means we must take up the challenge of creating transformative experiences for students and contributing to positive community change in collaboration with community coeducators.

When I reflect on my own self-discovery of “running toward myself” I have come to welcome the sacred practice of discernment as a core process of moving beyond the academy to weaving narratives from diverse community voices that passionately express how the “self” fully examined is the foundation for enduring and thick relationships. A friend once told me you can’t do the “we” work unless you do the “I” work first; and for me the process of discernment bridges the collective vision between self and community.  I am reminded that when I am truly intentional in understanding other ways of knowing and understanding I recognize that community and mutuality, as Father Greg Boyle suggests, widens the “circle of compassion” and “imagines no one standing outside that circle”and as the circle that we cocreate widens so does our “beloved community.”

-In gratitude, Chris Nayve

Becoming an anti-oppressive organization: Intention meets reality

John Loggins’ account of his plenary address at a recent conference highlights a critical challenge in the work of higher education community engagement: How do we ensure that our field is shaped in meaningful ways by diverse perspectives and epistemologies that have otherwise been silenced, tokenized, or commodified in academia?

To be honest, John provides a perspective that I’ve come to understand as common among colleagues of color in the community engagement field. I speak of those practitioners and scholars who do this work because it is a reflection of their deepest commitments to stand in solidarity with people who are dismissed, oppressed, and othered by the prevailing culture and institutions. They do this work not necessarily because it’s an effective pedagogy for college students or it aligns with their university’s mission or it provides a steady pay check. Rather, they do it because it is a calling, a devotion, a force that compels them to endeavor to change unjust systems. And these same colleagues recognize that doing this work requires them to constantly negotiate and renegotiate the interstitial space between academia and community, evoking feelings of isolation, dislocation, and exploitation.

I have learned about this reality because I am fortunate to have colleagues and friends who have shared these reflections with me, just as John did in his post. I have also directly witnessed how the dynamics of epistemic injustice limit the participation of colleagues of color in strategic processes that have the potential to reshape and reform academic institutions and community-engaged practices.

As I write this, my colleagues and I are nearing the end of a strategic planning process that has taken our public service center over a year. We started the process “early” (before our previous strategic plan was set to end) in response to a number of catalytic factors including the election of Trump and rise of virulent white male supremacist hate movements, tensions on campus related to racial incidents, and recent staffing transitions at our center that made our staff more diverse than ever before.  There was a collective sense among our staff and constituents of the center that this would be an opportunity to enhance our offerings to facilitate the kinds of diverse experiences of public service and civic engagement that educate and inspire students to be agents of change. We had also felt a calling to more deeply explore and commit to anti-oppressive and anti-racist work.  And yet, we struggled significantly against the barriers created by pervasive historic and contemporary epistemic injustice.

I invite you to read more about my Center’s strategic planning process and how we attempted to navigate the issues that arose in our effort to enact an inclusive and equitable process for becoming an anti-oppressive organization here.

The “Full Measure” of Epistemic Injustice



Over the next two weeks, the planning team will be offering personal stories of how we wrestle with epistemic injustice as it shows up in our lives, and how we work for justice in our field.  Knowing that we are trying to create a brave space for sharing, curiosity and examination, we invite you to join us by asking questions and/or naming how our stories resonate with you.

Thank you for letting us share our work with you.


John L, Star, Chris and John S.


The “Full Measure” of Epistemic Injustice

Having been a community engagement professional for over 16 years, I’ve witnessed and have come to truly value the powerful and transformative impact made through the process of relationship building and joining as community.  Often when sharing the extent of this transformative power, I will say things like, “I want to express the ‘full measure’ of what community engagement is capable of”.  I am coming to realize that this simple statement is a reflection of both my resistance to and internalization of epistemic injustice.  By “full measure” I am subtly acknowledging and naming that there are portions of the knowledge gained through community engagement that, I believe, are ignored and undervalued by the academy.  As a self-proclaimed “pracademic” committed to knowledge gained by experience, I have been deliberate and methodical about making space for and finding value in BOTH the emotional and the cognitive, the intuitive and the data based, the emergent and the traditional.  However, based on my lived experience as a student and as administrator in higher education, I have surmised that there are some clear manichean boundaries between the kinds of wisdom that are valued and not valued, acceptable and unacceptable.

Over the years this “injustice” has become a source of frustration and consternation.  Despite the fact that colleagues in my field would agree that the “full measure” of community engagement is difficult to express and sometime seemingly intangible; we would, nonetheless, be asked to quantify the learning as data that could be shared in a very traditional academic format.  Meaningful anecdotes, emotional stories, powerful reflections, the felt truth of oral histories are usually deemed as “touchy, feely” side dishes to supplement the core of the meal; peer reviewed, research based, data driven, publishable articles.  Articles and thoughts that I truly value and appreciate as an educator; articles and publications that I sincerely have no desire to create. I wholeheartedly want to share the value in my life’s work but in the ways that are authentic to me, not in the ways that are typically valued and recognized in higher education.

The struggle to “Know Justice” is in my head and is written on my body. 


Recently, these dynamics came to head for me when I was asked to deliver a plenary address at a Place-based Justice Network in Baltimore.  Initially, I was invited as part of a duo with my friend and colleague and mentor, Chris Nayve. Like a good leader should, Chris has been pushing me to “get my voice out there” with absolutely no stipulation of how I should do this. In my head however, because epistemic injustice lives there too, there was a clear “right” way of how I should get my voice out.  Having worked with Chris for 16 years, I was confident that together I could effectively “code switch” and contribute to a solid plenary that would appeal to the very academic audience. The focus of the gathering was applying an anti-oppression/anti-racist framework to University Place-based community engagement efforts, a topic that is very much alive for me and which I have a lot to contribute.  A few days before the plenary, Chris had to bow out due to personal matters, leaving me to go it alone. Despite my desire, passion and commitment to bringing an anti-oppression, anti-racist lens to our work in the community, I truly felt I wasn’t up to the task. I knew I had lots to say and share but wholeheartedly felt dread that how and what I would share it would not be “fully” received and dread that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be academic enough.  I was not afraid that it would be well received, it was. I spoke authentically and vulnerably from my heart, I shared the peril and the power of this work from my own lived experience and I did so in story and in poem.  My fear was and is that it would be received well as a “performance” and the substance, the call to action, the “full measure” of my knowledge would be an appreciated entertaining interlude in academic space.  Having offered the plenary, I still don’t know how exactly it was received (externally and internally).  I suppose that depends on where each of us are in navigating the dynamics of epistemic injustice at play in each of our lives.



Blog: Exploring Epistemic Injustice and Justice in Community Engagement



The topic of epistemic justice/injustice provides guidance that can be practically applied in daily community-engaged interactions and theoretically applied to address tensions and questions inherent in higher education community engagement like:

  • How should the voices of diverse knowers (including community members and partners) inform course curriculum and student learning?
  • How can we design community-engaged courses that benefit from the diversity of students’ identity-based epistemic traditions?
  • What skills and information do faculty and students need to prepare to ethically engage across epistemic differences in the context of community-engaged learning, teaching, and research?
  • To what extent are the voices of community-engaged faculty, many of whom are women and people of color, able to guide institutional agendas vis-à-vis campus-community engagement?
  • What institutional values and virtues are likely to foster epistemic justice with regard to campus-community relationships?
  • How can the field of community engagement implement pedagogical models and practices, and research tools and methods, that create conditions for achieving epistemic justice (e.g. inclusion of diverse ways of knowing, valuing diverse forms of expression)?


Leave a reply below.