UofL's Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice Leading Transdisciplinary Research

The UofL Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice has received a grant to create a new Muhammad Ali Center Character Education Curriculum. The transdisciplinary research team includes UofL faculty, staff, and students, as well as high school teachers from Iroquois High School (JCPS) and Illinois State University High School. The grant team is creating a multi-year, multi-audience curriculum designed for participants’ to fully comprehend Muhammad Ali’s expansive legacy and understand how they can incorporate Muhammad Ali’s key convictions into their own values and action plans.  The new curriculum will provide a framework for organizations and middle and high schools to explore Muhammad Ali’s core principles of Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect and Spirituality.  The research team is using a critical pedagogy approach, drawing upon the work of Paulo Freire and his concept of conscientization, or conscientização. As such, it is designed to aid participants, as citizens, in developing a critical consciousness about the systems and structures that create and sustain inequity, a sense of power or capability to make change, and, ultimately, a commitment to take action.  Aaliyah El-Amin and colleagues (2017) have linked critical consciousness to academic achievement, providing a clear rationale for this pedagogy in educational settings.

One curriculum module was piloted at Iroquois High School earlier this month. The final version, including a comprehensive teacher’s manual, will be completed in June 2020. The transdisciplinary research team includes Professor Enid Trucios-Haynes (Director)(Law) and Dr. Shelley Thomas (CEHD) as the Co-Principal Investigators. Co-Investigators on the grant include: Dr. Brandon McCormack (A&S); Dr. Ahmad Washington (CEHD); Dr. Cate Fosl (A&S); Ashleigh Hazley (Assistant Director); Kaleb Clemmons (CEHD student); Erin Biery (JCPS); and Dr. Robert Fitzgerald (Illinois State University).