• Community Psychology at a Regional University: On Engaging Undergraduate Students in Applied Research

      McKibban, Amie R.; Steltenpohl, Crystal N.
      Engaging students in service learning projects grounded in community psychology values and practices when working in a rural, conservative area provides several challenges and opportunities for faculty members. The authors share processes and outcomes from three case examples taking place between 2010 and 2013: (1) running focus groups and survey development with a local YMCA branch that predominantly serves people of color in low income housing, (2) the development of a strategic plan for the implementation of an art crawl in the local downtown community, and (3) the development and execution of an asset map evaluating supportive resources and spaces available to the local LGBTQA community. The authors reflect on feedback from students and community partners. These case examples highlight the complexity of balancing students’ skillsets, work and other life obligations, and desire to use classroom knowledge in community settings. It also highlights the importance of preparing community partners for working on applied research. We provide recommendations based on each project’s challenges and successes for universities and communities of similar demographics. Working in rural, conservative settings provide their own challenges and opportunities, but are well worth it if implemented in an intentional way, and more research is needed to strengthen our understanding of how best to engage students from a variety of social and political backgrounds.
    • Giving Community Psychology Away: A case for open access publishing

      Steltenpohl, Crystal N.; Daniels, Katherine M.; Anderson, Amy J.
      Amidst increased pressure for transparency in science, researchers and community members are calling for open access to study stimuli and measures, data, and results. These arguments coincidentally align with calls within community psychology to find innovative ways to support communities and increase the prominence of our field. This paper aims to (1) define the current context for community psychologists in open access publishing, (2) illustrate the alignment between open access publishing and community psychology principles, and (3) demonstrate how to engage in open access publishing using community psychology values. Currently, there are several facilitators (e.g. an increasing number of open access journals, the proliferation of blogs, and social media) and barriers (e.g. Article Processing Charges (APCs), predatory journals) to publishing in open access venues. Openly sharing our research findings aligns with our values of (1) citizen participation, (2) social justice, and (3) collaboration and community strengths. Community psychologists desiring to engage in open access publishing can ask journals to waive APCs, publish pre-prints, use blogs and social media to share results, and push for systemic change in a publishing system that disenfranchises researchers, students, and community members.
    • Toward the future: A conceptual review and call for research and action with online communities

      Steltenpohl, Crystal N.
      The internet allows people to connect with virtually anyone across the globe, building communities based on shared interests, experiences, and goals. Despite the potential for furthering our understanding of communities more generally through exploring them in online contexts, online communities have not generally been a focus of community psychologists. A conceptual, state-of-the-art review of eight major community psychology journals revealed 23 descriptive or empirical articles concerning online communities have been published in the past 20 years. These articles are primarily descriptive and can be organized into four categories: community building and maintenance (seven articles, 30.43%), community support (six articles, 26.09%), norms and attitudes (six articles, 26.09%), and advocacy (four articles, 17.39%). These articles reflect a promising start to understanding how we can utilize the internet to build and enhance communities. They also indicate how much further we have to go, both in understanding online communities and certain concepts regarding community psychology more generally. Community psychologists involved in practice and applied settings specifically may benefit from understanding online communities as they become integral components of advocacy, community organizing, and everyday life.