CERRU engages in several forms of research. First and foremost, we evaluate our student programs to ensure that our practices remain relevant and useful. In addition to annual short responses and surveys, we have worked twice with outside persons to launch larger scale evaluative studies. The more recent study conducted over the 2015-2016 involves case studies of current students and alumni of the program. Excerpts and additional results can be found below. Secondly, John Vogelsang and Sophia McGee did a study called “Resilience and Education: Creating “Cultures of Peace.” Educators can encourage understanding of differing worldviews, openness to discovery, and the emotional resilience to change beliefs and assumptions that hinder constructive relationships with those who are “other.” Initial research by Peter T. Coleman and J. Krister Lowe (2007) found that for stakeholders in intractable conflicts, formal education can be a “resilience” or a “polarization” factor. They found that individuals engaged in such conflicts often experienced education that further polarized them within their identity group. However, there were instances where transformative classroom experiences, such as games and exercises, contributed to creating new in-groups and a “culture of peace.”
Elaborating on Coleman and Lowe’s work, this paper investigates the efficacy of classroom simulations in encouraging adaptive processes of identity negotiation and growth of mutual understanding among students who are immersed in the study of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. A pre- and post-questionnaire was administered to students taking a course in which they played Israeli, Palestinian, Arab and American negotiators involved in a “secret peace summit.” The students were obliged to play characters with narratives that were foreign or in conflict with their own. The questionnaire will be repeated in the coming spring semester, and results will be incorporated. Our preliminary results indicate that the students increased their understanding of different, complex, and contradictory perspectives as well as how different truths are constructed. They were also inclined to differentiate and humanize members of other identity groups.
Lastly, CERRU has begun engaging with Participatory Action Research (PAR) as an epistemology for seeking solutions to local issues. As of now, Yael Rosenstock is facilitating two active PAR projects. The first on student-teacher communication and student social support at Robert F. Kennedy High School and the second on filling the gap of sex-related programming at Queens College.
Each year, CERRU brings together innovators in various fields to participate in a campus and community wide Innovation Exchange. Please join us for our fifth annual Innovation Exchange on Wednesday, November 2nd at 4:45pm in the Patio Room on the Queens College Campus.
Lunchtime 2.0 is an initiative aimed at redefining the way we think of college cafeterias. Campuses across the US are becoming more diverse; however, not enough is being done to provide a mechanism for diverse students to engage and listen to each other.
CERRU encourages students to become cross-cultural leaders, faculty & staff to partner with us in your class, and communities to engage in our programming. Join Us for Our Upcoming Events!