The Community Council (formerly known as ARC) intends to inspire and normalize conversations that deconstruct how to engage in organizational transformation efforts as our community and our society traverse controversy across difference. Educational settings play a key role in civic engagement and in teaching the skills of civil discourse.

The Community Council invites all in the College of Education community to think and act together boldly and creatively to implement practices that are intentionally humanizing and inclusive. Faculty, staff, students, postdoctoral fellows/scholars, and alumni have multiple ways to participate and engage with the Council. Participation is not mandatory. We invite you to enter in at any or all points.

You are a member of The Community Council.

All College of Education faculty, staff, students, postdoctoral fellows/scholars, and alumni are invited to participate in the Community Council conversations. You may participate in any or all parts of the Community Council.

Creating spaces for dialogues enlivens our educational community. The practice embraces the ideals of engaging across difference as a value of education. It is within the context of education these types of spaces can strengthen the stamina of faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars/fellows, students, and alumni to engage across controversy which will uniquely equip and strengthen them with the skills to be leaders in education across the state, country, and world.

See the description of the components of The Community Council structure below.

The Community Council practices create opportunities for members of the College of Education to build skills, to engage in collective community reflection, and to disagree civilly and with passion, and at times, even with fury. These community practices help prepare members of the college to support a wide range of the American public. Members of the college can build on these practices to help them to navigate the educational system as good citizens more successfully in state, local, national, and international communities.

All College of Education faculty, staff, students, alumni, and local community partners are invited to participate in The Community Council conversations through email invitations. The Community Council structures community conversations that can lead to collective, individual, and organizational action. It involves opportunities for intentional conversations about how to improve the functions of the college.

The Community Council creates opportunities for small group, large group, and college-wide intentional dialogues about how to act to productively traverse controversy across difference in various aspects of our work in the College of Education.

This process-oriented approach balances creating structures that invite ongoing community practices of self-examination, critical thinking, and deconstruction of policies and practices. It allows space for examination of structures, attitudes, and behaviors. It involves creating strategy to address the ways in which complex social issues that impact the organization. It also includes ways to thoughtfully and intentionally devise strategy that is both proactive and not just reactive. The Council processes are not just focused on what we ‘do’ but also balances reflection and action on ‘how’ we are maintaining or transforming the systems that may exclude.

By shifting our focus to be more attentive and fully engaged in process – in being with the work of implementing intentionally humanizing and inclusive practices– we intend to move away from the completion of a demonstrated outcome, an item on a checklist, to a more coherent and intentional disruption of the systems and patterns of action that undeniably exclude and dehumanize. In this process-oriented approach, we begin an ongoing dialogue that creates a culture that examines complex social problems within the organization and moves us toward organizational change and continuous improvement.

The Community Council structure has evolved to reflect the feedback received from previous participants. Participants have an opportunity to engage in Open Forums, Being Circles, and Affinity Group meetings. The Collegiate Leadership also participates in a regularly facilitated meeting within this initiative. In other words, The Community Council conversations center around specific topics inspired by college members.

These broader conversations intend to provide opportunities to practice ways of engaging in civil discourse that is intentionally humanizing and inclusive as well as potentially controversial and passionate. It is through conversations college-wide (organic, organized, and spontaneous) and at the functional level that humanizing and inclusive practices are implemented, and the organization transformed.

Open Forums are monthly college-wide meetings. These are opportunities to be in community, reflect, and act together on policies and practices that are intentionally humanizing and inclusive.

Being Circles provide a confidential space for individuals within the organization for support to reflect on their role as well as their active participation in the college’s change effort. College of Education members are invited to join each other in Being Circles. Being Circles are small group cohorts that create space and opportunities for reflection and exploration of personal attitudes and behaviors that inhibit individual and collective transformational change in our professional lives. After a positive experience in small cohort groups, participants find increased stamina to stay in difficult dialogues regarding complex social issues that impact organizational change efforts.

Affinity Groups are formalized gathering spaces for people who share a common identity. The groups may serve different purposes for different groups. We hope these groups can be a supportive space for groups to discuss issues and experiences.

The Community Council is working toward being part of the collegiate organizational structure--similar to the Faculty Council, Staff Council.  The Council Working Group will develop the implementation plan for the Community Council to be more fully incorporated into the organizational structure of the college. This next iteration of this initiative which will begin its initial phase in AY 2024-2025 and will be fully implemented by AY 2025-2026. The Council will highlight purposeful and nuanced work related to the educational value of engaging across difference (including but not limited to identities). The Council Working Group when fully implemented will include a representative from each unit. Members of this group communicate strategies being implemented in their units, share resources, and discuss success and barriers to organizational change in the College of Education. The Council Working Group representatives will lead relevant conversations with their constituents, seeking input, and devising strategy that will increase the capacity of the college to practice as a humanizing and inclusive organization.

The Collegiate Leadership meetings invite all administrative leaders in the college to a discussion that reflects and makes decisions regarding the roles, functions, and practices of leaders in the college.

 If you decide to participate, we look forward to your commitment to work and learn alongside us. All members of the College of Education community - faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduates, postdoctoral fellows/scholars, and alumni - are welcome to register for any of these sessions by emailing arc-education@uiowa.edu at any time.

How can I get involved in the Community Council?

Each member of the college is invited to The Community Council. The Community Council provides multiple points of entry and invites and values varying perspectives.

The Council encourages each individual to locate their own sense of being in the work of traversing across difference by exploring one’s identity, experiences, interactions, biases, and responsibilities within the context of the college and community. This approach enacts a ‘way of being’ with complex social issues through sustained engagement and not just performative actions.

What if I feel new to this work or am uncertain how I can get involved?

Whether you are new or consider yourself seasoned or expert in the work of transformational organizational change, we will be learning together.

We welcome you to learn with us.

Publications and Resources

Watt, S. K., Mahatmya, D., Mohebali, M. & Martin-Stanley II, C. (Eds.) (2022). The Theory of Being: Practices for Transforming Self and Communities across Difference. Stylus Publishing.