On January 31st, 2024, the Supporting Higher Education in Refugee Resettlement project (SHERR) launched four Communities of Practice and Action (CoPAs) which will meet from February through December 2024. The SHERR Communities of Practice and Action combine the premise of a traditional community of practice and a working group. They provide a space to build community and share expertise, as well as focus on specific deliverables to strengthen engagement in refugee resettlement on the part of higher education institutions, with the larger aim of growing and enhancing the domestic capacity for placement of refugees in communities across the United States. Each Community of Practice and Action will be led by an experienced higher education/resettlement practitioner and will meet 7 times over 11 months in 2024.
The themes of the four Communities of Practice and Action are aligned with engagement pathways identified by SHERR as ways for colleges and universities to support refugee resettlement efforts.
• English Language Learning and Career Pathways Support (Lead Facilitator: Sara Haghighi, Pima Community College)
• Housing and Campus Utilization (Lead Facilitator: Dr. Diya Abdo, Every Campus A Refuge)
• Developing Refugee Educational Opportunities: Reducing Barriers to Enrollment (Lead Facilitator: Marina Chakmakchi, University of Southern Maine)
• Service Learning, Volunteer Engagement, and Staffing (Lead Facilitator: Dr. Carina Black, Northern Nevada International Center & University of Nevada Reno)
Who takes part in the SHERR Communities of Practice and Actions:
- Representatives of higher education institutions (including community colleges, technical & vocational schools, and 4-year colleges and universities) that are or want to be involved in programs around the topic area.
- Representatives of National Resettlement Agencies, local branches or affiliates, and other non-governmental or governmental organizations focused on refugee resettlement, currently collaborating or interested in collaboration with higher education institutions around the specific topic area.