Faculty, Education Program
Residency Site: Plainfield VT
The professional paths bringing Jacqueline Fischer to the Goddard faculty are eclectic and meandering, pragmatic and (r)evolutionary. Years of experience in community and social entrepreneurship provide her with the foundation for engaging with students in the evolving and ever deepening field of Community Education. As a community organizer in rural America, non-profit director, creative thought leader and in-the-trenches practitioner, weaver and small business owner and shepherd, Fischer has worked with community arts, youth development, food systems, community health and wellness: all are critical to developing community resiliency and sustainability.
Fischer and longtime faculty member Dr. David Allen Frisby III developed the Community Education concentration in the early 2000’s. Students are welcomed to the Education program from a wide array of fields including restorative justice, farm-based education, permaculture and social ecology, out of school time programs, family and parent engagement, mindfulness in education, environmental organizing.
Fischer was born in the US, raised in Mexico, Argentina, Honduras and Thailand. This not being ‘from’ a place has motivated her work in creating communities of belonging.
MA, in Education, Concentration in Community Education, Goddard College
BA, in Education, Goddard College
Areas of Expertise
- Community Education
- Community Development / Community Resiliency
- Community Arts
- Transition Movement
- Youth Leadership and Empowerment / Positive Youth Development
- Food Resiliency / Farm to School
- Out of School Time Programs
- Service and Place Based Learning
- Family and Parent Engagement
- Public Health Policy / Environmental Strategies in Public Health
- Social Entrepreneurship / Small Business Management
I have deep respect for the meaningful and often non-traditional educational paths that bring learners to Goddard. My role as faculty advisor entails working with students to co-create a supportive learning environment in which the learner’s path provides the foundation that informs an engaged and intentional exploration going forward. This most powerful journey requires each learner to reflect on individual experience as a catalyst for transformation for the future self that wants to emerge.
Like many students who enter the Community Education concentration, I have many years of experience in working in places where community and education intersect. As a community practitioner, I am most interested in how community is built through relationships. That means engaging unlikely partners, finding places of commonality in siloed communities, encouraging reflective practices to transform power relationships, seeking to make space for voices that are often disrespected and unheard.
My learning edge is in listening both within and with others to facilitate the hard conversations that those of us in Western cultures need to create a multiplicity of brave, honest and complex spaces of love.
I am most excited by the work emerging in communities to redefine themselves as vibrant, joyous places of possibility, in the process of reinventing culture, economies as a reflection of transformative process. This process reflects – dare I say it? – a spiritual reawakening. It may not be enough to reverse the devastation that humans have wreaked on the planet. And, in the words of the late Grace Lee Boggs, it is the (r)evolutionary work of this moment in which we each must engage.
Community Educators stand in the crossroads of education and community. We build individual and collective capacity to deal with complex social issues of justice and equality and hold the critical tenets of participatory process and democratic change. As collaborators, we understand the power of partnership in developing sustainable communities. These practices are deeply rooted in community education praxis and process. Within this process lies the potential for collective and individual reflection and articulation of what matters most to individuals and to communities. Community Education engages the wisdom inherent in community to build capacity to address systems of injustice and to create intersecting webs of collaboration. Students in the Community Education concentration are steeped in the learning laboratory of community to hone their own skills, knowledge and abilities even as they work to build thriving communities. The process engages students in a profound exploration of their relationship to themselves, their communities and the world, even as it unveils the wisdom contained within each individual and community.
Throughout my years of association with Goddard whether as a student or faculty member, the progressive pedagogy of integrating theory, praxis and reflection have been woven into the work in which I engage in the field. I consider it a great privilege to witness the transformative process that Goddard students undergo as a result of their deep learning from engaged and critical pedagogy.