Service-Learning & Civic Engagement

Annual Report

Faculty Service-Learning Committee
Annual Report, 2009-2010
Earl F. Mulderink III

Overview
The academic year kicked off with a move of the Service & Learning Center into a new facility at 185 S. 300 West. The refurbished bungalow provides five times more space than previous facilities on campus and includes including offices and meeting rooms for Pam Branin, Earl Mulderink, Lacie Jo Robinson, and student service leaders, along with kitchen facilities and a basement location and ample storage for the HOPE Food Pantry.

Service-Learning Committee
The Faculty Service-Learning Committee met monthly through 2009-2010. Committee information, additional resources, and relevant links are located at our SL&CE web site: http://www.suu.edu/servelearn/. As before, our "civic engagement" budget was capably administered by Debra Pool, Office Manager of the Student Success Center. [Because of university-wide budget cuts, the Committee voted to suspend the Service-Learning Enhancement Mini-Grant program for the year.]

2009-2010 Committee Members

  • Earl Mulderink , Chair, Faculty Coordinator of Civic Engagement
  • Lisa Assante (BUS)
  • Steve Barney (HSS)
  • Pam Branin (S&L Center)
  • Briget Eastep (EDU)
  • Boyd Fife (CIET)
  • Jeff Hanson (PVA)
  • Lacie Jo Robinson (S&L Center)
  • Matt Nickerson (Honors Program and Library)
  • Beau Shakespeare (Student)
  • Karl Stevens (SCPS)
  • Cindy Wright (SCI)

President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
For the first time, SUU was recognized by the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. We documented nearly 42,000 hours of student service between July 2008 and June 2009 performed by nearly 7,000 students. SUU's application could feature only six programs that included Bread and Soup Nite in conjunction with the HOPE Pantry, coordinated through SUU's Service and Learning Center; the Cedar City Community Health Clinic, sponsored by the Rural Health Scholars Program; and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program that runs through SUU's School of Business. Other outstanding programs mentioned were the Hispanic Center for Academic Excellence and the Service and Learning Center's Tutoring, After School Sports and Wee Swim programs.

2010 Service-Learning Fellows Named
For the fourth successive year, the Faculty Service-Learning Committee announced a new group of Service-Learning Fellows to recognize "engaged educators who practice service-learning in an effective manner." Each Fellow received a $750 honorarium, a handsome commemorative plaque, and recognition at the annual Faculty-Student Scholarship Day. SUU's University Journal, press releases, and web site provided plentiful positive publicity. The 2010 Fellows were (in alphabetical order): Lisa Assante, assistant professor of hotel, resort and hospitality management; Laura Cotts, assistant professor of physical sciences; Shobha Gurung, assistant professor of sociology; Jean Lopour, professor of physical education; and Cindy Wright, professor of human nutrition.

Utah Campus Compact Honorees
For more than ten years, SUU has joined hands with the Utah Campus Compact at an annual statewide recognition event. Alyssa Winterton, a senior elementary education major, was recognized as SUU's civically engaged student; Steve Barney, associate professor and department chair of psychology, was named SUU's civically engaged scholar; Wes Curtis, vice president for government relations and regional services, was honored as SUU's civically engaged staff member; and Lance Syrett, general manager of Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon National Park, was recognized as a committed community partner.

Service-Learning Scholars Program
In Spring 2010, one undergraduate student completed this rigorous program and was recognized at Commencement. Kathryn Tilby, with a double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology, fulfilled the program's stringent requirements of 12 semester credit hours of service-learning coursework; overall GPA of 3.0; 400 hours of community service; and a Capstone Service Project (CSP). Working with faculty advisor John Walser, Kayte's CSP focused on dating violence and included an outreach programs to SUU's fraternities and sororities. She helped to organize several events than included "Take Back the Night," "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes," and "Light Up the Night." In describing her service project as a "priceless experience," Kayte wrote that "I have learned so much more than ever could have from a classroom. . . . Most importantly., I have learned how to apply what I learn I my classes to my everyday interactions with those around me." More details about the SL Scholars Program are found at http://suu.edu/servelearn/scholar-program.html

Service-Learning Course Approval
To promote more rigorous and consistent expectations for SUU's official service-learning courses, the Service-Learning Committee New approved and implemented new criteria. Official "SL" courses now require at least twenty (20) hours of service per student during the semester, and course syllabi are expected to include a liability waiver statement. Full details about the criteria and application process are found online at http://suu.edu/servelearn/course-designation-app.html. As of Spring 2010, new "service-learning" courses included: Sociology of Health and Medicine (SOC 4100), taught by Dr. Shobha Gurung; Global Issues in Sociology (SOC 4500), also taught by Dr. Gurung; Nursing Care of the Family (NFS 4335), taught by Professor Rebecca Rasmusson; and Community Nutrition (NFS 4480), offered by Dr. Cindy Wright.

International Service and Service-Learning
Several programs continued their service and service-learning trips during "Alternative Breaks." Under the leadership of student service leaders and the Service & Learning Center, scores of students went to Guaymas, Mexico, in December and March. In addition, Guaymas played host to the Rural Health Scholars Program and the Construction Management Program. Provost Brad Cook and family joined SUU's expedition in March. The S&L Center also sponsored a trip to Washington State where a dozen students worked with Habitat for Humanity. SUU sponsored its first Summer Study Abroad program in Africa, "History and Service-Learning in Kenya," between May 25 and June 8, 2010. Program director Earl Mulderink was joined by two SUU students who served with Africa Is Life Changing, a Utah-based group that operates a school and other outreach programs near Naivasha, a rural community outside of Nairobi. One of the SUU students, Tilli Huntsman, declared that her experiences in Kenya were indeed "life changing." Additional funding support was provided by the Office of International Studies and the Department of History and Sociology.

Professional Development
Funds were allocated for participation in workshops and conferences inside and outside of Utah. A half-dozen faculty and staff members attended the 6th Annual Engaged Scholar Institute at in Salt Lake City in February 2010. Civic engagement funding assisted conference participation by Earl Mulderink, Pam Branin, and Rita Osborn who presented "Rural Service-Learning: Facing Challenges and Creating Opportunities at Southern Utah University" at the annual Continuums of Service Conference in Portland, Oregon. This was the first time that SUU participants attended the regional COS conference, sponsored by the Western Region Campus Compact Consortium. Earl Mulderink was one of forty participants selected nationally to participate in the "Diving Deep Institute," co-sponsored by the national Campus Compact and the California Campus Compact, in Tiburon, CA, in July 2010. He received partial funding support from the Utah Campus Compact, as he was the only participant from Utah.