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Building meaningful connections beyond university walls

Research in Action

Community Research Partnerships

We believe big, important ideas find life through conversation and collaboration.

With a spirit of discovery and transformation, the College of Arts and Sciences connects faculty and students with community partners to research, provide resources and take learning outside the classroom. These nimble partnerships are fueled by creativity, grounded in our values and informed by data. Together, we rise to the needs of our community to solve problems for the common good.

Research In Action: Featured Current Projects

A student writes notes as she walks by a mural.

Urban Art Mapping

An interdisciplinary, multiracial research team, UAM seeks to document, map, and analyze street art responding to moments of friction and crisis. We believe that street art represents important vernacular expression, voices in public space that are often silenced or marginalized.

In collaboration with community members around the world we are collecting and archiving street art that deals with systemic racism, the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental challenges, and gentrification. Our goal is to arrive at a nuanced understanding of the relationship between street art and place, considering how art shapes and is shaped by unique neighborhoods and the people who inhabit them.

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Women celebrate at the ready to run event.

Ready to Run

The College of Arts and Sciences is a national network partner of Ready to Run®, a non-partisan campaign training program committed to electing more women to elective office.

Research shows that women make government more transparent, inclusive and accessible. Women bring different priorities and experiences to public life, including perspectives that have been largely absent in public policymaking. Women change the way government works, and their voices are needed around the country.

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Walking Together: A Digital Hub on Migration

Walking Together: A Digital Hub on Migration

Walking Together seeks to increase the visibility of student research on immigration topics by amplifying academic and community collaborations on migration that align with St. Thomas’ convictions of dignity, respect, and diversity.

The Walking Together mission is to come together to better understand migration, to celebrate immigrant communities contributions and to advocate for anti-bias perspectives on migration, immigration, and displacement.
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Mendota Dakota: Stories of Land and Leadership

Mendota Dakota: Stories of Land and Leadership

In partnership with the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community (MMDTC), CAS researchers are conducting interviews with Dakota elders, leaders, members, and associates to collect stories of leadership amid historical and contemporary displacement, erasure, resistance, and survivance to support federal recognition of the tribe and to develop a leadership narrative of the MMDTC.

All stories, intellectual property, and proceeds go to the MMDTC in recognition of - and partial correction to - the typically extractive nature of research with Indigenous communities
Read the Stories
Students collecting water samples

Analysis of Soil and Water Contamination at Wakáŋ Tipi

In partnership with the Lower Phalen Creek Project, a native-led environmental nonprofit on St. Paul's East Side with the mission of protecting and restoring sites that are sacred to the Dakota people, we are documenting soil and water contamination at the Wakáŋ Tipi ("Dwelling place of the sacred" in the Dakota language) cave below the St. Paul bluffs.

This work will serve as a baseline for understanding the effects of future restoration, educational and outreach initiatives.

Walls Speak Video

Research in Action

Walls Speak

So many walk by street art and see vandalism or criminal activity. But the University of St. Thomas’ Urban Art Mapping Team from the College of Arts & Sciences sees a gallery.

Academics and students are researching and preserving the art through online databases that as of fall 2021 focused on two primary areas: the George Floyd And Anti-Racist Street Art Archive, and the COVID-19 Street Art Archive. The walls are speaking, and St. Thomas is listening.

Research In Action: Recently Completed Projects

Students reading flyers on a bulletin board.

Investigating the Impact of Innovative Pedagogies on Sustainability Literacy

There is an urgent need for communities to rethink their approach to sustainability. Faculty and students collaborated with community partners to create novel forms of engagement, teaching people about the importance of sustainability. Students and faculty then examined how these engagement strategies impact sustainability literacy in the classroom and community.
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A group of children take pictures of artifacts in the Asmat Museum.

Bringing Asmat to the Classroom and Beyond

In collaboration with St. Peter Claver Catholic School and other St.Paul-area schools, St. Thomas faculty and students developed and provided innovative educational resources to teachers with various objects from the American Museum of Asmat Art. By directly engaging students with these objects, they were able to examine important topics such as the ecological challenges facing the Asmat and how they express their cultural identity through these pieces of art.
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Health experts helping a woman walk.

An Evidence-Based Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. The Department of Health and Exercise Science teamed up with the YWCA to develop a cost-effective and evidence-based fall prevention program for its members and the community. This project supports the YWCA by providing education and increased community awareness in St. Paul about fall prevention.

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Students install artwork at MSP airport.

Voyages through Asmat Art at MSP Airport

Supported by the University of St. Thomas College of Arts and Sciences, the Airport Foundation MSP and the ARTS@MSP program, the Voyages through Asmat Art shared 52 selections from the American Museum of Asmat Art at the University of St. Thomas with travelers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

How to Get Involved

External partnerships gives students the opportunity to jump into the real world and learn by doing, making the learning experience more engaging. Our projects explore a variety of issues, such as the impact of sustainable literacy and connections between urban art and community identity.

If you have an idea for partnership or want to get involved, contact us at: khwammer@stthomas.edu