We are thrilled to announce that Elowyn Corby, class of 2013, has been awarded the 2013 Undergraduate Student Thesis Award by the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) for her honors thesis titled “Training for Change: Moving from Theory to Practice in Adult Education for Empowerment.”
The PJSA is a professional association for scholars, K-12 teachers, and grassroots activists in the field of peace, conflict, conflict resolution, and justice studies, and it is the North-American affiliate of the International Peace Research Association.
Here is the abstract from her thesis:
This research examines the possibility of using adult activism training to facilitate the development of participatory skills. It considers the impacts and pedagogy of Training for Change, a social action training collective in Philadelphia. As well as surveying the major democratic theory on participation and the educational theory dealing with education for empowerment, the research includes a qualitative and quantitative analysis of Training for Change’s work. Based on a survey of past-participants, Training for Change tends to increase participatory skills among trainees, as well as identification with social change maker identities like ‘leader’ and ‘organizer’ and the frequency and intensity with which trainees participate in social change work. These effects were disproportionately pronounced among participants of color. This finding counteracts the effects of more traditional skill-development institutions such as the workplace or non-political organizations, which disproportionately increase participatory skills among the most privileged members of society. At the same time, people of color were slightly less likely to report that they felt the training was designed to be helpful for people like them, indicating that TFC has a complex relationship with questions of cultural relevance in the training space.
The award will be presented to Elowyn at the Awards Banquet during the association’s annual meeting October17-19, 2013. The meeting will be held in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and it will be hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University Department of Global Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, and the University of Waterloo Peace and Conflict Studies Program. Elowyn will have the opportunity to present her research at the conference.
We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to Elowyn. That her work was recognized as exemplary by a committee of peace scholars and educators is a testament to her hard and careful work.
Prof. Lee Smithey and Prof. Diane Anderson, who co-advised Elowyn’s thesis and submitted it to the competition, report that they are excited that Elowyn has been honored in this way and that the award is fitting, not just with regard to the final thesis but for the way Elowyn executed the research for more than a year.