Paskell ’81, ’96MEd Brings World Culture to “Community” Class

By Caitlin T. Burns | April 1, 2021


Magda Elias on a Zoom call with Paskell’s students.

Adjunct Professor of Education Linda Ruth Paskell ’81, ’96MEd is bringing world culture to her Artist in the Community class.

With her car packed full of borrowed Fair Trade items from Ten Thousand Villages in Chestnut Hill, such as boxes made from saris in Bangladesh and boxes made in Ghana from recycled tires, Paskell and store manager Magda Elias engaged with students virtually from her dining room. 

“I usually take my classes to the store to learn about Fair Trade and to inspire them as they consider topics for their Global Art projects,” said Paskell. “Since we can’t go there right now, Ten Thousand Villages came to my dining room instead.”

For the two-hour class period, Elias took the students on a virtual trip around the world, sharing stories and examples of life-changing entrepreneurialism with global art making.

“We did this for all three [Artist in the Community] classes, and numerous students changed their Global Art proposals after being enlightened and exposed,” said Paskell. Following their online experience with Elias, many students safely visited to Ten Thousand Villages store on their own time.

Students at the Ten Thousand Villages store in Chestnut Hill.

The class is working on their “community give back” project of making Tin Art that will be donated to Hope Gardens homeless shelter in Ambler and Ameya’s Place, a domestic violence shelter in Philadelphia.

One of Paskell’s main goals is to encourage education outside of the classroom through engaging with local community organizations that provide important services and education. Paskell said these experiences help add to the way students learn about not only international cultures, but also gain a sense of local community and their places within it.