TA first transitional project to move Community Connexxions (CC) into a larger and more formalized partnership was actually DPU-sponsored event. With the Professional Development Institute for Educators, we inaugurated a public-private partnership with the hope it would be a first step to further implement cross-sector education programming. Ours was to be a collaboration between DPU and local community colleges along with partners, such as community-based organizations, the Pilsen Storefront, and its collaborators in CC’S projects. This first event between Harold Washington College, DPU and its former School for New Learning, and the Pilsen Storefront included many of the individuals who had been engaged with CCs work over the years. Notably, DPU graduates and active undergraduate and graduate students along with faculty participated as presenters and moderators of the day-long institute.


The goal of a Professional Development Institute remains; the connection between City Colleges of Chicago in partnership with the Pilsen Storefront via Dr. Vincent Wiggins and Dr. Strohschen. Moving forward with insights gained from the Institute, we formed a planning team, made up of DPU-SNL alums. With SNL graduates, City College administrators, and community members, we formed a planning team that initiated the Innovation in Teaching and Learning Think Tank Collaborative. With this new arm of The Pilsen Storefront, we expanded on the themes from the Institute and initiated a Fourth Fridays After Work discussion series, which was to bring together educators, artists, and community activists to explore education and instructional design from the perspectives of traditional education, community activism, and the visual and performing arts. In 2020, the corona virus pandemic moved us online.


The Fourth Friday After Work  Series is a collaboration between City Colleges of Chicago and The Pilsen Storefront, dedicated to teaching, learning, and advocacy on behalf of young and adult learners. With a focus on exploring innovations in diverse education settings, this collaborative brings together students and faculty from higher and K-12 education settings, educators and activists of NfP organizations, residents, and artists. From their respective vantage points, participants share good practices for teaching and learning strategies, methods, and techniques. Through reflection and dialogue on our experiences and by building relationships for mutually beneficial exchanges and networking, we work toward optimizing existing resources and assets in our diverse education environments that serve all stakeholders. With the corona outbreak-caused cancellations of our planned Fourth Friday After Work Series by the Innovation in Teaching and Learning Think Tank Collaborative at our Pilsen Storefront, and with the prevailing need for critical conversations across color and class divisions, we decided to create a virtual SPACE for our gatherings.

Teaching and Learning Think Tank Collaborative