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How We Started

In 2016, Scott Myers-Lipton met Bobby Hackett at an event to celebrate the life of their mutual friend, John Sarvey, and from this point on, they have been working closely together on social action.

In the Bonner Program that Hackett oversaw, students were doing community service, service-learning, and community-based and policy research as part of an intensive, four-year service-based scholarship program targeting low-income students. But Hackett realized that there was a piece missing in the Bonner Program, as well as the service-learning and civic engagement movement in general, both of which always talked about policy change but they did not have a model or the expertise to introduce a method for engaging students in social action. Upon meeting Myers-Lipton and hearing about his work, Hackett invited him to collaborate on filling that missing piece in undergraduates’ civic knowledge.

Over the past six years, Hackett and Myers-Lipton have been working together to spread this model for teaching social action at institutions of higher education across the country. To this end, they have led multiple in-person and virtual webinar series and grown their network of faculty and staff to more than 343 members.

This past June, they organized their most effective training yet with 26 faculty and staff participants that led to 20 courses using social action this academic year (see tab for Classes 2022-23). The three-day virtual institute was held in late June, with two 90-minute Zoom sessions each day for discussions about the teachers’ goals, course model, teaching approach, and sharing examples and exercises. Preparations for a Winter 2023 Institute on Teaching Social Action are well underway with faculty and staff applications from a wide range of institutions and academic departments.

This a not a moment, but a movement!

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