Scholars and social movement activists have long realized the importance of education in social change, seen in the long-standing work of the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee, the Citizenship Schools during the Civil Rights movement, popular education efforts in Latin America, and the labor colleges that influenced leaders in the U.S. labor movement.
The Consortium for Social Movements and Education Research and Practice unites social movement scholarship in the social sciences, as well as other disciplines, with that in the educational sciences. The Consortium is a networking space and a community-building initiative, contributing to research collaborations for scholars, activists, and community members researching how social movements educate people, how people learn and grow through involvement in social movements, and how social movements can and do shape public policy.
The Consortium focuses on the pedagogical aspects of national and international social movements, that is, how informal and non-formal learning within social movements is central to their emergence and long-term sustainability. Many faculty members also research the role of social movements in transforming the formal education system.
The Consortium includes faculty members, students, and staff from the College of Agricultural Sciences, the Bellisario College of Communications, the College of Education, the College of Health and Human Development, the College of Liberal Arts, and Penn State Center Philadelphia, as well as independent scholars and community members.
To increase our understanding of social movements as important educational actors.
To sustain direct relationships with communities, in Pennsylvania, nationally, and globally.
The overarching goal of the Consortium is to prompt and advance research on education and social justice through the practice of social movements. We draw on and highlight the work of scholars and activists around the world, so the cumulative knowledge that the Consortium generates about social movements and education can have a wide impact.