Our staff spotlight this week is Amanda Healy. Amanda is the University-Community Partnerships Manager at the Ginsberg Center.
What is your professional background in?
After I finished undergrad I was very interested and involved in college access and non-profit work. While I was getting my PhD at U-M in English and Women Studies I got very involved in public scholarship and community engagement. I knew I was not going to pursue a career on the tenure track so a lot of my work was focused on community engaged public scholarship while in school.
What is your job function at the Ginsberg Center?
My title is the University-Community Partnerships Manager which is a long way of saying I am the matchmaker for the center. Sometimes at Ginsberg we talk about student facing work, faculty facing work, and community facing work as three interconnected gears. I am in the middle bringing those pieces together, and helping to connect people to work on shared priorities and steward those relationships. I also work to notice patterns, trends, and areas of interest in need to build out support structures for those communities.
What is one of your favorite projects you have worked on at the Ginsberg Center?
This past year was a really exciting partnership with the English Department Writing Program. We helped to support the launch and expansion of their Community Engaged First Year Writing course. I really felt a personal connection to this partnership as someone who was in the English program and taught a first year writing course for a number of years. It was exciting to see how powerful it would be for students to be learning and utilizing real world writing skills. Our academic partnerships team developed a training for the English department and strongly supported them on how to run community engaged classes. I got to match sections of the course with local organizations such as: Concentrate Media, What's Left Ypsi, and At Bat in Detroit. This partnership really showed how to put writing skills into practice in different areas while also engaging with first year students. For many of the students it was their first semester of school, and coming in during the pandemic and having this engaged and connected project was very special.
What are your social change interests in your personal life?
A lot of my organizing energy over the past couple years has been focused on working with white folks engaged in anti-racist work. I help to activate those communities and find ways to build and support white folks who are doing anti-ractist work in ethical and responsible ways. As part of that I facilitate monthly constructive white conversations. It is a space for white folks engaged in anti-racist work to support their own continued learning while they engage in that work so they can be accountable to addressing and tackling their own internalized white supremacy. I also run a weekly anti-racist newsletter with events that we have expanded to include action items that people can do.
What has helped you during the pandemic (object, cooking, food, TV, etc.)
My dog Bravo has been so fun to have during the pandemic, playing with him and taking him on walks. I also have been loving my new radiate portable campfire and spending time outside.