Does Place Actually Matter? Searching For Place-based Pedagogy amongst Impact and Intentionality




place-based pedagogy, anchor institutions, community engagement, teaching and learning


The emergence of this special issue of Metropolitan Universities journal, “The Pedagogy of Place-Based Initiatives and Anchor Institutions,” stems from developing, teaching, and evaluating courses and pedagogical programs at urban/metropolitan institutions. This issue is rooted in scholarly practice and focuses on the intersection of place-based initiatives and pedagogy. It interrogates how place-based initiatives such as hyper-local community-based learning and anchor frameworks impact teaching and learning in the classroom.  This framing article for this special issue captures the themes and broader questions that emerged from the articles while proposing a line of inquiry to engage the readers with the special issue focus. Our line of inquiry throughout this special issue is whether a distinct pedagogy emerges from place-based initiatives such as anchor institution approaches and hyper-local community-based learning. We begin by interrogating how place-based initiatives such as anchor institution approaches and highly intentional partnership work do not guarantee a change in classroom instruction and may fail to impact pedagogy long-term. We provide examples of service-learning within our local professional context and draw from themes that emerged from the scholarly articles in this issue. We also noted the intersection of place, institution, and systemic context. We offer a framework for a pedagogy of place with committed approaches to these place-based intersections as we have experienced them in our practice and emerging from the issue’s scholarly articles.