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Integral role given to participatory education

This semester, Robert Shumer, Ph.D., lecturer in the department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development is teaching a seminar titled Youth Participatory Evaluation for the Youth Development Leadership program. In this class, he focuses on youth-led evaluation as a function of youth development, specifically participatory evaluation.

For Shumer, civic engagement is not an unfamiliar topic. Since 1969, when he began teaching, he has been blending theory and the practice of youth leadership. His teaching is based on the conviction that service should be a central feature of democratic institutions.

Starting as a high school teacher and continuing on as a vocational education instructor, Shumer developed curriculum aimed to connect students with their communities through service and career interest. Over the years, he came to recognize the need for training of youth leaders and the role youth participatory evaluation played in producing high quality service and educational programs.

When Shumer arrived at the University in 1992, he was one of the individuals involved in the establishment of the Youth Development Leadership program and the University's National Service-Learning Cooperative Clearinghouse which he directed from 1994-2001.

In recent years, Shumer has become more involved internationally. In Singapore, he delivered keynote addresses on youth development at two national conferences, conducted an evaluation of a teacher education program, and has since been working on the development of a partnership between the University of Minnesota and Singapore's National Institute of Education at Nanyang University.

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