NCC Congratulates...

Noura Erakat accepts award with her nephew.
Noura Erakat accepts award with her nephew.

Congratulations to Noura Erakat

New Century College congratulates Assistant Professor Noura Erakat, one of six recipients of the Washington Peace Center’s 2014 Activist Awards. Erakat was honored for her work as co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya, the electronic magazine on the Middle East, and her leadership in the DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival.

More than 250 people joined in the evening celebration, called the Grassroots Gala, held at St. Stephen’s Church in Washington DC. The Washington Peace Center described the event as a time “to celebrate DC’s activists hard work and successes in creating a more just and peaceful world.”

Erakat said, “I was honored to be in the same company as the other award recipients…[Receiving this award] was a great message to me, that I don’t have to choose between my work as an academic and my work as an activist.”

This semester, Erakat teaches NCLC 203, Inquiry for Action: Facilitating Change. In this Cornerstones class, students examine the relationship between academic research, individual acts and society’s social and political structures. Erakat also teaches courses in the NCC legal studies concentration. Erakat joined NCC as an assistant professor in fall 2014 and brought with her a wealth of real-world experience and academic expertise to support NCC’s legal studies and social justice and human rights concentrations.

Al Fuertes Receives Spirit of King Award

Congratulations to New Century College Associate Professor Al Fuertes, recipient of the 2015 Spirit of King Award in the faculty category. Fuertes received this award for his exemplary contributions and dedication to the development of a more culturally competent and inclusive campus community.

The Spirit of King Awards are presented by Mason’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME) as part of the campus-wide celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The 2015 Spirit of King awards were presented at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Evening of Reflection event on January 27, 2015.

The faculty award is presented to a teaching faculty member who has made an exceptional contribution to the development of an inclusive learning environment through his or her teaching, research, or work that involves advocacy for equality and social justice.

Fuertes’ work exemplifies these areas both through his teaching and also his work as a field practitioner specializing in community-based trauma healing. In addition to teaching such subjects as Human Trafficking and Conflict Resolution, he has led students on courses to study resiliency and peace building in Cambodia and the Philippines.

Paul Gorski Receives Summer Research Funding Award

New Century College Associate Professor Paul Gorski has been awarded research funding through George Mason’s competitive Summer Research Funding program. The program, administered by Mason’s Office of Research and Economic Development, awards funding to accepted faculty proposals seeking to engage in scholarly activity during the summer months.

Professor Gorski’s research will examine activist burnout among racial justice activists in the United States. The purpose of the summer project is to “examine the ways in which the cultures within one specifically intense movement in the U.S. – the racial justice movement – may perpetuate activist burnout.” The project will have an immediate objective to bolster a body of knowledge that can be used to help racial justice movements and organizations retain activists who are committed to doing their work. The larger objective of the project will be to strengthen racial justice movements more generally by addressing the conditions that hasten activist burnout.

Along with colleague, NCC Assistant Professor Cher Chen, Gorski has begun to build on the small body of research existing in the field. As part of this project, Gorski will interview 45-50 U.S.-based racial justice activists who, based on a scale created by Chen and Gorski, have experienced activist burnout. Gorski also hopes to survey 1,500 U.S.-based racial justice activists with a purpose to “uncover the extent to which racial justice activists have experienced the kinds of conditions that lead to burnout within their movements and organizations.”

The project will be the largest-scale study of activist burnout ever done and the first mixed-methods study of racial justice activist burnout.