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Tiffeny R. Jiménez

Community Psychologist | Educator | Scholar | Alternative World Compost-Activist

Current Position, Scholarship, Teaching & Areas of Praxis

I wear many hats but identify as a scholar-praxitioner living at the borders of being someone who is an action-oriented community psychologist in a constant cycle of collective-action-inquiry-reflection, while also working within an academic setting. I am a faculty member within the NLU Community Psychology Doctoral Program in so-called Chicago. NLU is a unique setting in that we are primarily a minority and Hispanic/Latinx serving institution, which means we serve a high number of Black and Hispanic/Latinx students. We also attract and serve an increasing number of students around the globe (e.g., West Africa, Palestine, India, Kenya, Canada, Mongolia). I believe that working with the specific populations we do requires embedding a critical, liberatory, and decolonial stance in orientation to the field.

As part of my faculty role, I participate with the NLU Civic Engagement Center and the Research, Scholarship & Innovation Committee involved in working to develop the ideological infrastructure needed to support ethical and deliberate university-community partnerships for communities we serve in the Chicagoland area, and beyond. Through this role I advise on university-wide initiatives to promote civic and community engagement at all levels of the institution. We have recently been working on a few important initiatives:

  • Conducting inquiry to assess ways in which NLU students and alumni are impacting their communities
  • Assessing how NLU can best support educational experiences that lead to local, national, and potentially, global transformational change
  • Developing an institutional philosophy of scholarship that connects student voice and inquiry with streams of public scholarship using multi-modalities

Within this context, I co-teach Introduction to Community Psychology, Cross-Cultural Communication within Global Dynamics, Mixed & Creative Methods, Dissertation Proposal Writing, and Leadership and Organizational Change.

Action-Inquiry-Reflection Scholarship Interests

I am fortunate to work at an academic institution that values a breadth of scholarship which allows me to pursue a number of interests. In general, I am interested in addressing a broad range of social issues simultaneously and therefore intentionally work with a number of scholars and practitioners, both as students locally and around the globe. I advise on a number of student-led projects where we co-learn and teach each other.

Some examples of student-led Rhizomatic Inquiry projects include:

  • examining hyper-criminalization among formerly incarcerated individuals living in Illinois
  • understanding Black maternal activism in Chicago
  • evaluating to what extent local community mental health services create empowering outcomes
  • understanding challenges to Hispanic parent engagement with the Chicago Public School system
  • understanding the impacts of the Model Minority Myth among Southeast Asians in higher education
  • assessing effectiveness of homeless services by examining interorganizational network activity
  • understanding how the perspectives of medical professionals shape the design of medical research teams working to meet the needs of indigenous communities

Personally, I am currently most passionate about a few areas of action-inquiry-reflection scholarship: 1) developing innovative community psychology education models grounded in a liberatory critical approach, 2) participating in and supporting transdisciplinary community-based research to address multiple social problems simultaneously through educational opportunities promoting transformational systems leadership; 3) facilitating and conducting community-based and community-level inquiry/investigations to uncover ideological structures driving the function of dominant cultural community systems, and 4) participating with the global Community Psychology movement to uncover larger processes and impacts of colonialism while promoting decolonial praxis as a guiding and generating force locally.

Goals & Aspirations in Coming Years

Overall, my interests involve uncovering values systems that drive the structure and function of community systems, disrupting oppressive structures that perpetuate a multitude of social problems, and work to create settings that cultivate more ethical ways of being. I seek to co-create spaces where I can engage with others through as much of a pleasure activism approach as possible. More recent writing projects include: 1) uncovering ideologies of colonialism influencing interorganizational collaboratives using a critical community psychology framework; 2) articulating a continuum of community psychology practice/praxis; 3) examining community psychology education within a global decolonial context; and 4) developing a deeper understanding of what it means to live embodied praxis towards building the Decolonial Village.

Lessons Learned from My Work

We work on issues that can feel extremely heavy, in many ways. I believe it is important that we find our people; the people that help us to connect to our true selves, and cultivate spaces to enjoy one another while we are on this earth. The topics are serious, and the problems are real, but we don’t need to take ourselves so seriously all the time. I try to remember this – that it’s ok and important to laugh – to remember that we are beautiful in all our humanity. I have learned that no matter the roles we hold, or the contexts we are in, we always have the option be kind to one another and drop all the pretense. We must work to acknowledge the dynamics we are living in, including being keenly aware of the power we hold. We also need to see past the ways in which we have been taught to view and treat each other, and choose to connect on a more human level. Let’s choose to expand our idea of family to connect authentically with all, as we are all collectively interconnected, with Madra Tierra.    

Additional Highlights

I am most active in The Rooted Global Village (https://www.rootedglobalvillage.com/), the Chicagoland Evaluation Association, and Society for Community Research and Action. I am currently participating with the Critical Global Education for Community Psychology group with an interest in supporting innovations in education that can enhance our ability to promote community transformation for minoritized and indigenous populations within the US and around the globe. In addition, I currently participate in building the Decolonial Village with the Psychologists for Social Responsibility Decolonial Racial Justice Action group, along with various sub-groups aligned with this values system. I am also the recipient of the 2019 NLU Excellence in Research, Scholarship & Inquiry Award.


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