Faculty Development

Service-Learning & Social Justice: Cuba


The comprehensive faculty development program at Butler University is pleased to offer faculty a remarkable opportunity--in support of the University's strategic plan--to participate in several workshops on service-learning and social justice, culminating in an international travel seminar in order to broaden participants' understanding of global social issues.  The international component will take place in Cuba from June 1-10, 2012.

Participants will explore the theoretical and experiential connections between social justice, global and local diversity, and community engagement.  In addition, participants will have a hands-on opportunity to prepare a class with a service-learning component.  This small community of teacher-scholars will engage in thinking about personal commitments to service-learning and social justice, in both global and local communities.  In doing so, participants in the Service-Learning & Social Justice seminar will work together to strengthen service-learning, social justice, and community engagement in the curriculum of Butler University.

Goals for Service-Learning & Social Justice seminar include:

  1. To acquaint faculty with some of the literature and theory about social justice and service-learning, and the implicit social justice foundation in service-learning.
  2. To provide faculty with an opportunity to connect their commitment to global and local issues and to change their curriculum and pedagogy to reflect this commitment.
  3. To introduce faculty to local community organizations with which they might build partnerships for service-learning in the future.
  4. To provide faculty a retreat-like environment in which to engage with each other and highly experienced facilitators in discussions and explorations of social justice, education, and human rights.
  5. To engage in recursive reflections about the theory and the practice of civic engagement for ourselves and our students.
  6. To engage students in civic learning and the transformative learning that comes from civic engagement.

Outline of the Yearlong Program:

This faculty development program, available for up to 22 faculty, has six integrated components that all participants are expected to complete: 

  1. A January/February 2012 workshop, providing nuts-and-bolts information on service learning which will be vital in designing future courses.
  2. A reading and conversation series in spring 2012 to prepare for experiences in Cuba-history, geography, politics, economics, social issues-and departure.
  3. A 10-day seminar in Cuba in June, 2012.  Participants will engage in readings, reflections, and conversations about social justice, global citizenship, and education while visiting multiple sites in country focused on the themes of the workshop.  For a fuller description of this program, see below.
  4. In fall 2012, a half-day immersion focused on local social justice issues.
  5. Commitment to teach a class with a service-learning component (ICR) during the 2012-13 academic year and an on-going commitment to these new pedagogical approaches.
  6. Reports and evaluation on various aspects of the program.


Faculty are expected to participate in all six aspects of the program, as well as a contribute $300 toward the cost of the international travel component.  Faculty may elect to pay this cost out-of-pocket (due January 15, 2012), or, in order to ensure that cost is not prohibitory to faculty participation, this cost can be covered by submitting an application for a short course/workshop grant, offered by the Butler and Holcomb awards.  Please submit an application for the international Short Course/Workshop Attendance Grant (Butler or Holcomb) for at least $300.

Applications for these grants must be submitted by November 22, 2011 in order to ensure timely payment of the $300-please submit applications electronically to Rebecca DeGrazia.  Please complete applications according to criteria and directions listed in the BIRS website.


  • November 22, 2011: Applications due by 4 p.m.; applications also due for Butler and Holcomb funding, if relevant. Applications should be sent electronically to facultyaffairs@butler.edu.
  • December 7, 2011: Notification of participants (selection of participants recommended by faculty committee)
  • January/February 2012: Service learning workshop
  • March 2012: Participant discussion
  • April 2012: Participant discussion
  • May 2012: Pre-departure meeting
  • June 1-10, 2012: International faculty development seminar: Cuba
  • AY 2012-2013: Service-learning course offered
  • Fall 2012: Community social justice immersion   


Please talk with Laura Behling, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs

Click here to apply for the Service-Learning & Social Justice: Cuba program


Description of Summer 2012 International Travel Component: Cuba



Cuba offers a rich cross-cultural educational opportunity--Cuba's political and socio-economic realities are fascinating to explore, and the education and public health systems are interesting, as well. Arts and culture are central in Cuba; Afro-Cuban culture plays a key role in the country, as do the legacy of Spanish colonialism and the roots of the Taino and Ciboney cultures.  Cuba is the most populous island nation in the Caribbean with 11 million residents.  The majority of days during the international travel component will be spent in Havana, the capital, with a day or two in a more rural setting.

The focus of the Butler international travel component in Cuba will focus on education (including higher education), human rights, and social justice issues.  Potential visits may include a visit the Che Guevara Monument and Museum, a visit the rural community of Puerto Esperanza, known for their tobacco growing, a discussion at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations, a meeting with a member of the Cuban Federation of Women, and discussions with educators and higher education educators.  Other possibilities include a trip to the Literacy Museum, conversations with artists and performers, and visits at universities in Cuba.  The specific visits during the seminar will be fine-tuned, if possible, to account for participant interests in education, social justice, and human rights issues.


The international travel component is offered through the Center for Global Education at Augsburg College, a long-time leader in such programs.  Program staff come from one of the Center's permanent sites in Central America or Mexico; coordination occurs in conjunction with their partner in Cuba, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center.  The MLK Center's fundamental objective is to stand in solidarity with the Cuban people and its churches. The MLK Center is composed of many different faith communities whose commitment to the goals of the Cuban Revolution unites them in service.  The MLK Center is also home to the Paulo Freire Information and Documentation Center as part of its commitment to the principles of popular education.


Lodging is in modest hotels or guest houses, with shared rooms.  In country, we will do a fair amount of walking, and transportation is via school buses.  Meals will be modest.


This new faculty development opportunity is being sponsored by the
comprehensive faculty development program at Butler University,
with special assistance by the Center for Citizenship and Community.


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