Applying Academic Learning to Community Involvement to be Discussed at ESU Service Learning Initiative Program

Posted by: jrivera on March 28, 2013, No Comments

Learning about community issues and helping to address them through community service will be the focus of a discussion from 2-4 p.m. April 1, 2013, in Lower Dansbury on the East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) campus. The ESU Service-Learning Initiative Committee will host an interactive panel discussion titled: Engaged Scholarship: Bringing the Classroom to the Community. Panelists will include faculty, students and community partners who have worked collaboratively on service-learning projects. They will share with the audience the benefits of service-learning and how it advances collaborative university-community partnerships, knowledge acquisition and civic engagement.

The event is part of a week of special programs and activities celebrating ESU student and faculty success leading up to the inauguration of Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D., as the university’s 13th president.

Panelists will share perspectives as professors, students and community partners.  Professors will present various projects, students will discuss how involvement prepares them for life after ESU, and community partners will describe how the experiences have enriched their organizations.

Stephanie French, a theatre professor, will discuss children’s theatre performances that ESU students have conducted in local schools and through Head Start programs, and Patty Hannon, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing, will discuss a trip that nursing students took to Haiti in a presentation titled “Community Service Learning in Haiti Post Earthquake 2010.”

Rhonda Sutton, Ed.D., assistant professor of reading, and Rachel Seifert, ESU’s VISTA volunteer, will describe ESU’s VISTA Project in a talk titled, “E with J.” AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed to fight poverty. Olivia Carducci, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics, and her students will present “Partnering with PEEC: A Cost-Model for Solar Energy,” describing an environmental project her math class did for a community partner — the Pocono Environmental Education Center.

“This work is important because it demonstrates how professors use real world, hands on experiences that serve the community to engage the students and enhance their learning,” said Laurene Clossey, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology and co-coordinator of the ESU Service Learning Committee. “This kind of learning correlates with better retention of coursework, enhances resumes, and engages students as members of their community.”

Students will learn about networking opportunities, and hear about courses that will offer service opportunities during the Fall 2013 – Spring 2014 school year.

The program is free and open to the public at no cost. Light refreshments will be served.

The ESU service-learning initiative seeks to expand opportunities to apply classroom knowledge in meeting the social needs of the community in a broader quest for the common good. This is accomplished through a learning-through-experience approach to teaching and learning that can be implemented in courses that incorporate leadership development, civic literacy and the development of critical thinking as it relates to society. Service-learning, whether through short or long-term community service projects, affords students the opportunity to integrate theory into practice, apply practical skills, clarify values, and raise consciousness about community issues.

For more information about the event, please contact Jenn Kornecki, graduate assistant- Service Learning Commission, at 570-422-3971 or by email at servicelearning@esu.edu.