Director of the Institute for Civic Engagement & Democracy at Miami Dade College North Campus
Rebecca Pelham is the Director of the Institute for Civic Engagement & Democracy at Miami Dade College North Campus. She leads programs encouraging students to get engaged with local and global issues and solutions at the largest, most diverse college in the nation. Program areas include academic service-learning, Alternative Breaks, voter registration and education, advocacy trainings, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals student engagement series, and conducting dialogues for understanding. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the Miami Climate Alliance, and works to connect students to the urgent need to address climate change, especially in vulnerable cities such as Miami. She served for two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Miami while attaining a Master’s in Education and Social Change.
Project to highlight:
MDC’s CoLab – Community
The CoLab at MDC North Campus uses cooperative learning principles to actively develop community assets in an environment of learning, community, innovation, and engagement under the auspices of the Institute for Civic Engagement & Democracy, the IDEA Center and the Earth Ethics Institute. The CoLab will serve as an incubator for student changemaking as well as an intellectual center of discourse and action focused on promoting community well-being. The CoLab will open Fall 2017.
Students on campus will benefit from a community space in which they feel welcome, empowered, and challenged to effect social change, while being inspired by the students and community around them. This will serve as an additional ‘sticky space’ on campus, with a specific focus on social changemaking. Faculty will also be welcome to schedule events and use the space for their projects and events focused on changemaking.
The CoLab will function as a microcosm of the community we wish to live in - active, engaged, diverse, and innovative and in which students have the agency to express and explore their opinions and positions through authentic, experiential and collaborative learning. As such, it will be guided by values, processes and goals to ensure that activities and behavior within the CoLab stay aligned with its purpose. This purpose is intentionally aligned with the college’s strategic goal “to enhance student awareness, engagement, learning and empowerment as it relates to overcoming challenging societal issues and problems at the local, national, and global level”.