Service-Learning & Civic Engagement
2007 Service-Learning Fellows
(In Alphabetical Order)
Each Fellow received a $750 honorarium and a handsome commemorative plaque awarded at the annual Student-Faculty Scholarship Recognition Event on April 24, 2007. (Note that the first award was split between two faculty members in the same department who applied together.)
Jeff Barnes and Robin Boneck
Teaching within SUU’s highly regarded Accounting Program, Associate Professor Jeff Barnes and Assistant Professor Robin Boneck applied together since each employs service-learning in related accounting classes. Jeff teaches Accounting 4200, Tax Research, for seniors, and Robin Boneck offers Accounting 3200, Tax, for juniors.
Each year, approximately 35 students from ACCT 4200, Tax Research, and 30 Students from ACCT 3200, Tax 1, courses are required to become certified with the IRS as qualified VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) volunteers. Upon certification, students are able to present themselves to the public and provide free income tax assistance to the Iron County area residents, with income levels lower than $38,000. The VITA service is performed in the Steve D. Harrop Finance/Service Learning Lab in BU 108, of the Dixie Leavitt Business Building. The VITA service/learning experience is expected to perform 400-500 individual tax returns for 2007, providing a fair-market value service of approximately $40,000 to $50,000. Note: the value of this service has increased since their application.
As an Associate Professor of Psychology, Steve Barney is one of SUU’s most experienced service-learning practitioners. He is also a member of the Utah Campus Compact’s Faculty Consulting Corps. For years, he has integrated service-learning into General Psychology 1010, a large-enrollment introductory course.
Students are asked to identify, explore, understand, and then challenge their stereotypes, biases, and prejudices by having them serve for or with people who are a part of their stereotyped group. They are required to spend between 6-10 hours serving members of that group. They may also opt to serve with members of the stereotyped group in some form of organized service project. Students then reflect on their experience in a paper and a summary page returned back to the site where the service took place. Careful attention is devoted to helping student apply principles from the course in clarifying how their biases or prejudicial beliefs were formed, maintained, and strengthened through the years; the impact their beliefs have on them, their community, and the world around them; and in providing them methods and techniques for changing current attitudes and behaviors in themselves and in others. Based on surveys taken every semester, Steve Barney reports that over 79% of students respond that participating in this project helped them reduce or eliminate previously held stereotypes, prejudices, and biases.
Also a member of the Psychology Department, Assistant Professor Heath Earl utilizes service-learning in an upper-level course, Psychology 4310, Abnormal Psychology.
All students are expected to donate a minimum of 10 hours at Oasis House, a club-house treatment facility for individuals with chronic and persistent mental illness. The experience begins with members of the club-house attending class, telling their personal stories of what it is like to have mental illness, describing the club-house model of treatment, and allowing the students to interact and ask questions. Next, students under faculty supervision attend Oasis House for a lunch that is prepared and served by Oasis House members. Following these introductory activities, students then complete their hours of service independently from faculty, but under the supervision of Oasis House staff. Students are expected to keep a tracking sheet of their hours served and a journal of their interactions with members of Oasis House. Students become aware of various types of cognitive impairments and they interact and/or assist members with their work tasks.
Within the College of Education, Associate Professor David Lund is known for his expertise in teaching teachers about reading and literacy. He uses service-learning in an upper-level class, Literacy Assessment and Instruction.
During the past two years, teacher candidates in the EDRG 4040 course have been engaged in assisting the teachers at South Elementary School in their reading assessments of all children in the school. They help to administer the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) test, as well as the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), both aimed at elementary students. After assisting with the overall assessment of all of the children in the school, each teacher candidate is assigned a specific, struggling elementary student with whom they will work for one hour per week for the remainder of the semester—usually 10-12 weeks. The teacher candidate tutors the student using the STAR program and other supplementary instructional ideas based on the assessments. The goal is to help the elementary students catch up with their peers in terms of reading level and ability. During the past two years, we have had more than 140 teacher candidate/tutors, who have worked with more than 100 elementary school students.
Cynthia Wright, a Professor of Human Nutrition and Chair of the Department of Agriculture and Nutrition Science, uses service-learning in an upper-level course entitled “Community Nutrition.”
The goal of the service learning assignment is to involve nutrition majors in learning projects that promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. Each student is required to spend an hour each week providing service to a specific agency. They document dates and times of service, keeping track of what they did at the agency. At the end of the semester each student writes a paper describing the agency, including personal insights they gained about themselves and the people they served. They also prepare and present a PowerPoint presentation to the entire class so all students learn about the mission and goals of each agency. The intent is that students will gain a greater appreciation for services (food-related) that are available in the community as well as an understanding of the extent of need, even in a town like Cedar City. Each semester several students continue their service . . . and indicate they will continue to do so throughout their lives.