Sociology Symposium With Nottingham Trent University: looking at public engagement with educational achievements

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Penny Cooper, 27th July 2017

We engaged together, all in the same room, Practitioners, Students MSc and PhD, Lecturers and Department Heads, Representatives of Community Groups and Guest Speakers.  The day was set up to engage in questions about public sociology.  Nottingham Trent University, and the Sociology Department, Sharon Hutchins and her team, have been piloting projects which come from the Community, for students to learn and actively engage with different local community organisations.

The pilot of this service learning began 4 years ago at Nottingham Trent University, about 200 students and fifty community partners, with a social justice focus to benefit mutually both student and community organisation, and can see how well practice and theory connections come together. They get to grips with real issues and sometimes highlight aspects they had not thought of before.

Here at Mojatu, we have engaged with the universities in Nottingham, at all levels of achievement, PhD, MSc, undergraduates and graduates.  If it had not been for the work of such students engaging with our project choices, we would not have achieved so much in the Community, local, national and international engagement.  They have a big vote of thanks from Mojatu. Mojatu have worked with the universities in Nottingham to improve the service to students and by students when working in the Community, and have successfully committed to projects in: Africa, Kenya and working towards an end to female genital mutilation; GAIN Diaspora has grown and formed with the help of students; the Mojatu magazine is being organised by a graduate, students have engaged with Mojatu regular volunteers to help at the Eco Farm in Screveton; students have worked on the Committee of the Hyson Green Cultural Festival to formulate ideas about community cohesion, bringing different communities together, with an understanding of the reasons we do it; and there is much more we can be grateful for.  They are learning about community issues, events and celebrations.  Their employability will improve with their hands on experience, and it does not end there, many students enjoy their experience so much, their passion is ignited and they wish to continue volunteering after their course module is finished.

This is a great forward approach for universities, and is a modern take on education.  We are pleased to be a part of it at Mojatu.

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