When Lida Nedilsky first moved to Chicago from San Diego, she spent a lot of time getting to know her new city, in particular, learning about public housing and school reform on the city’s South Side, before she felt knowledgeable enough to bring her students.
A decade later, Nedilsky often takes students on field experiences around the city. Sometimes she finds herself following her students into new and unfamiliar places instead of the other way around. Most recently, students in her Justice in Education class requested visits to three different local high schools. In the meantime, her Urban Sociology students planned trips to the Cambodian American Heritage Museum and North Branch Projects.
“As a scholar I personally love to learn, and my students fuel my curiosity, strengthen my commitment, and inform my knowledge,” says Nedilsky. “In other words, they’re as much my teachers as I am theirs.”
Professor Nedilsky’s own research interests focus on China, particularly how religious people in Hong Kong get engaged in political issues. This research has influenced the way she incorporates faith in the classroom and how it affects her interactions with students. “The self-reflection from which these committed Christians have benefited nurtures my own faith,” says Nedilsky, “and directs me so that I listen to student aspirations, encourage the questions, and prompt the responses that will achieve self-reflection in others.”
Lida V. Nedislky. Converts to Civil Society: Christianity and Political Culture in Contemporary Hong Kong. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2013.
Professor Lida Nedilsky serves as a reviewer for Sociological Quarterly and Asian Ethnicity.