American Democracy Project

Service Learning Grants

Please join me in congratulating the recipients of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Service-Learning Small Grants, a grant program co-sponsored by CETL and Volunteer Connection.  These faculty members will receive three credits of reassign time in the coming academic year to allow them to undertake the redesign of a course to include a service-learning component.  They will share the results of their redesign with their colleagues through participation in workshops and panels and by making materials available on-line.  Thank you to them for their willingness to use innovative pedagogies and to engage with the community in their teaching. 

Thanks also to Academic Affairs and the Deans of each college for their support of this program. 

The grant recipients are (all quotations are taken from grant applications):

Tracy Ore, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Social Sciences
Professor Ore plans to redesign Sociology 462: “Sociology and the Global Politics of Food,” which examines the global politics of food.  Professor Ore has strived to “enable students to put to use the knowledge that they gain through the course and to foster their ability to make connections to their own communities.”  A service-learning component in the course “will permit students to make these connections to communities more real” and “will broaden and deepen the students’ learning process as well as serve important community needs in Saint Cloud.”  Professor Ore plans to ask her students to develop an action plan to address the growing issues of “hunger and food insecurity.” 

Phyllis Greenberg, Department of Community Studies, College of Social Sciences
Professor Greenberg plans to redesign Gerontology 411/511: “Aging Programs and Policies.”  By utilizing the Gerontology program’s “excellent network of providers and officials that relate to services, needs, and issues for older adults,” Professor Greenberg will design a service-learning initiative that will “provide students the opportunity to understand how policy impacts lives professionally and personally and that as professionals they need to be aware of existing policy, programs and also how to advocate for clients and potentially changes in policy where warranted.” 

Catherine Fox, Department of English, College of Fine Arts & Humanities
Professor Fox plans to redesign the English 191 course that she teaches as part of the learning community “From Surviving to Thriving: Connecting Lives to Social Change,” which “offers students an interdisciplinary exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality.”  The service-learning component will help students begin to “perceive entry points for themselves as social change agents”: “Involvement with and learning from a community organization [will] provide students with the opportunity to move beyond the boundaries of the university in order to connect their critical literacy and personal transformations to social organizing and social change.”

Keith Christensen, Department of Art, College of Fine Arts & Humanities
Professor Christensen plans to redesign Art 420: “Systems Graphics, Advanced Graphic Design, Studio I,” in which students develop “an identity system that includes various components such as a logo, poster, brochure and map.”  The service-learning component will have students complete these projects for a community agency by collaborating with that agency to determine its needs and desires for its identity system.  The service-learning experience will allow students to develop professional skills by working with the community partner in a graphic designer-client relationship. 

Darlene Copley, Department of Nursing, College of Science & Engineering
Professor Copley plans to redesign Nursing 312: “Mental Health Clinical” to allow students to develop a relationship with an individual experiencing mental illness by participating in a series of recreational events with the individual.  This service-learning project “directly addresses the caring component” of the Nursing Department’s mission by enhancing students’ “holistic view of addressing the whole person, not just the specific illness.” 

Tonya Huber-Warring, Department of Human Relations and Multicultural Education, College of Education
Professor Huber-Warring plans to redesign Human Relations 102: “Human Relations and Race,” a course “whose very topic and content begs for a human-to-human component.”  Students “report that the most meaningful events of this course are the interactions with panelists and speakers.  The opportunity to structure this interaction component more meaningfully will enrich” the course and allow “students to apply what they [learn] about institutionalized oppressions and strategies for active anti-racism.”  The service-learning component will develop students’ “reflective awareness and action regarding systemic issues of racism and oppression that preclude social justice.”

Jesse Benjamin, Department of Human Relations and Multicultural Education, College of Education
Professor Benjamin plans to redesign Human Relations 102: “Human Relations and Race” because “when students engage in practical and experiential engagement of the theories we study in class, and introduce practice to join the theory, they learn and retain knowledge at a far greater rate.”  The service-learning component will allow students to connect a “broad review of institutional racism manifestations with local examples and connections that could be mapped out and engaged.” 

Paula Weber, Department of Management, G.R. Herberger College of Business
Professor Weber plans to redesign Management 470/570: “International Business Management” to “require that students work directly with individuals from other cultures.”  “Students in this course will first build their own understanding and then working with the community organization propose a variety of ways to build community understanding of the culture and organization with which they are paired.”  The service-learning experience will provide students “a basis for formulating personal ethics, for recognizing one’s responsibility to society, and for building awareness of how one can contribute to society.” 

Mark Schmidt, Department of Business Computer Information Systems, G.R. Hergerger College of Business
Professor Schmidt plans to redesign Business Computer Information Systems 351: “Systems Analysis and Design II.”  In the service-learning component of this course, student groups will partner with non-profit organizations to “assess the current capabilities and needs of the organization” in order to help the organization evaluate “various options to meet the organization’s information system needs.”  The service-learning experience will enhance students’ opportunity “to assimilate classroom principles with the real world scenarios while assisting a non-profit to assess and address their information system needs.”

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