Faculty research has been a hallmark of UofL's Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice.  The Institute's research program was reenergized in 2014 through a university-wide call for faculty collaboration to "Translating Social Justice Research Into Action." We worked to identify new and innovative ways to share key insights from our research that may be particular interest to local community and government organizations, as well as national and international groups. Our vision was for the Muhammad Ali Institute to become a hub for social justice research that might be useful to our non-academic community.

The Muhammad Ali Institute is managing a transdisciplinary team creating a Muhammad Ali-centered curriculum to inspire racial and social justice action by participants.  The new curriculum contains lessons for each of Muhammad Ali’s core principles focused on critical consciousness pedagogy, an evidence-based approach to learning designed to help students of color and all students understand systems of oppression and their own roles as agents of change. Each core principle module culminates with participants creating an individual social change project using the Institute’s proprietary “Service for Social Change Toolkit.”

This work is supported by grant funding from the Muhammad Ali Center which was awarded to Professor Enid Trucios-Haynes, (Law), Co-PI & MAI Director, and Dr. Shelley Thomas, Co-PI (CEHD). The transdisciplinary research team of internal and external faculty, UofL staff, a UofL student, and a JCPS high school teacher. In addition to the Co-PIs, the team includes: Dr. Brandon McCormack (A&S, PAS); Dr. Ahmad Washington (CEHD); Dr. Cate Fosl (A&S, WGS); Dr. Lara Kelland, E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Museum Studies and Community History at the University of Missouri St. Louis; Dr. Robert Fitzgerald, College of Education, Illinois State University; Kaleb Clemmons, UofL CEHD alum and former student teacher; Erin Biery, Iroquois High School; and Ashleigh Hazley, Assistant Director of MAI. This research project is affiliated with the Cooperative Consortium of Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research.

Professor Trucios-Haynes and Dr. Shelley Thomas are sharing this collaborative research as co-presenters of a paper, Advancing Peace and Justice Using Critical Consciousness Pedagogy: Creating a Muhammad Ali Centered Curriculum, at 30th Annual Conference of the National Association for Multicultural Education, Advancing and Advocating for Social Justice & Equity (with Dr. Shelley Thomas) (October 2020).

The Institute led development of the Muhammad Ali Center's "Creating Our Future: A Muhammad Ali Center Character Education Curriculum" in 2012. This curriculum focuses on the core values embodied in the life and work of Muhammad Ali--- respect, confidence, conviction, dedication, spirituality, and giving. In 2019 and 2020, UofL's Muhammad Ali Institute is leading a transdisciplinary faculty research team substantially revising the Muhammad Ali Center curriculum to focus on a critical consciousness and to reflect 21st century pedagogy.

UofL's Institute also directs a transdisciplinary faculty research group in our "Cultural Competency Research Project." The Faculty Research Group has two projects investigating the content and operationalization of "cultural competency" across disciplines, professions, and operations in a university. We are reviewing the role of faculty in advancing social justice and cultural competency in their classrooms, and how University administrators embody cultural competency. This research is part of UofL's Diversity Plan submitted to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE).