Open Collective
Open Collective
SPEC Update 9/15/22: Digital Equity Collabs, Django Instruction, & the Journal of Engaged Research
Published on September 15, 2022 by Nan Eileen Mead

We are pleased to share the following update with our supporters and the Open Collective community. It has been an incredibly busy spring and summer, but we have recently completed or are in the final stages of several key projects:

The SPEC team has been working on several projects related to digital equity. In partnership with RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy (CAREP), SPEC developed micro-credentials designed to foster “soft skills” and intercultural competencies in the twenty-first-century workplace. Our newest cohort of Research Associates (RAs) is deeply engaged in this work. Our RA cohort includes three recent graduates from Hackbright Academy; this software engineering school caters to women and gender-diverse individuals looking to enter the tech industry. Some team members collaborated with RAND and grass-roots organization ABO Comix to curate a digital gallery, Expressions of Mass Incarceration, which exhibited artwork created by incarcerated LGBTQ+ individuals.

We partnered with Open Collective member organizations throughout the spring and summer. Our RAs supported Build Justly’s research project that seeks to identify how small business owners in Spanish-speaking communities leverage technology to reach potential and existing customers. They also have been working closely with Data Umbrella to develop their open-access events database. This summer, SPEC Co-Founder Joe Torreggiani partnered with Data Umbrella to develop a series of instructional videos on Django. These sessions are available on YouTube:

Finally, we are pleased to share the release of the latest installment of the Journal of Engaged Research. JoER is a publication that elevates the voices of emerging scholars, students, activists, and artists from historically marginalized communities. Unlike traditional publishing channels, the editors take an interactive and collaborative approach with contributors to work towards the goal of publication. Currently, JoER features student work from over a half dozen colleges and universities in the US. This issue covers, among other topics, the colonization of DEI efforts, activism to address food insecurity on college campuses, and ways to engage in deliberative discourse in a politically charged climate. We publish JoER on Medium. To date, SPEC has provided access to JoER free of charge to readers and contributors alike.

As SPEC celebrated our second anniversary in July, we hit a milestone of 25 financial contributors - and we’d like to see that number grow. As we head into the Fall, we will ramp up our sustainable funding efforts through grant writing, a more robust social media presence, and networking efforts. At the same time, we will spend some time on capacity-building and strategic planning for 2023.

We hope you found this update informative, and we sincerely thank you for your continued support. 

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Kelly Rose

Posted on January 14, 2023