Service-Learning & Civic Engagement

2008 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 23, 2008.

Steve Barney
An Associate Professor of Psychology who has been teaching at SUU since 1998, Steve Barney is one of SUU’s most experienced service-learning practitioners and champions.  He was recognized in 2007 as a Service-Learning Fellow for creating a service-learning component in the introductory course, General Psychology, PSY 1010.  Steve is also a member of the Utah Campus Compact’s Faculty Consulting Corps.

Brief Overview:
Steve is recognized this year for developing a service-learning component in Abnormal Psychology, PSY 4310.  Students are asked to identify a topic the connects with a psychopathology or disordered condition discussed in class, to follow up with a literature review, and then seek a community agency or organization that serves people with that identified condition.  Following at least ten hours of service, students submit a detailed portfolio that includes a literature review of 7-10 pages, documentation of their service hours, and a reflective paper.  Students are encouraged to compare and contrast their experiences with findings in the professional literature.  Community partners (such as Oasis House) are contacted at the end of each semester to provide their perspective and suggestions.  Steve reports that students acquire a “fresh view of people with a mental illness” and gain a greater sense of “civic connectedness.”

Shawn Christiansen
Since coming to SUU in 2003 as Associate Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences, Shawn Christiansen has employed the pedagogy of service-learning in several courses that relate to family life and family problems.

Brief Overview:
Shawn is recognized this year for his effective use of service-learning in two course, Family Problems and Mediation (FLHD 4100) and Family Life Education (FLHD 4200).  In the former course, students are expected to complete 24 hours of service (two hours per week) at a human service agency or community agency.  Students maintain a journal and write an integration paper that analyzes their service-learning experience within the context of course concepts.  All students share their reflections with everyone in the course.  In the other upper-level class, students design and deliver a family life education program based on a needs assessment.  Examples include a program at Cedar High School on “Healthy Eating and Wellness” and the publication and dissemination of newsletters to partner groups, child care centers, preschools, and social service centers.  Shawn reports that students “realize that there are important needs in our society that are often not being met and that they can have a direct impact on meeting those needs and making their community better.”

Briget Eastep
Hired at SUU in 2006 with solid experience in service-learning, Briget Eastep is Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Education, with a focus on outdoor recreation.  Briget continues to work with campus and community partners, particularly various government agencies, to broaden opportunities in service-learning and experiential education throughout southern Utah.

Brief Overview:
Briget is recognized this year for developing a service-learning program within an upper-level class, Natural Resource Interpretation and Experiential Education (ORPT 4020).  Over the past two spring semesters, students have used their new found interpretation skills to serve regional land management agencies and local museums.  After learning about theories and skills associated with interpretation, students apply their classroom knowledge to real community partners that have included Cedar Breaks National Monument, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, and SUU’s Museum of Natural History.  Reflection is built into the entire learning process, particularly and the end of the semester when their work is shared formally with community partners.  Briget reports that her students contribute to the “community of land stewardship,” the professionals and citizens who strive to conserve and preserve the ecological integrity of our natural environments.  These students feel that they are making a difference in our region rather than merely producing work that never goes beyond the classroom.

Rea Gubler
An Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, Rea Gubler has taught at SUU, her alma mater, since 1978.  As part of her teaching load and outreach efforts, Rea has developed a range of online courses that incorporate service learning within WebCT and other electronic formats.

Brief Overview:
Rea is recognized this year for using service-learning in an online course, Principles of Effective Parenting (FLHD 3700).  Designed to help people become more effective parents, this class allows students a wide range of opportunities to extend their learning beyond traditional coursework.  Each project is specific to an identified need explored by the student, and students are expected to document their work and offer a detailed reflection on what they learned.  These projects are connected to other course features that include exams, assignments, and formats that help learners to appreciate the “complex role of parenting.”  Some projects have included:  creating a library story hour with books, flyers, other materials; writing and publishing brochures with helpful resources and contact information; making hygiene kits, toys, and other materials for the local family crisis center; developing a list of recommending books, videos, games for families.  Electronic submission is required for each project with a minimum of 20 service hours.  Rea reports that students generally feel greater civic responsibility along with gaining confidence in meeting real needs with their specific and specialized services.

Jon M. Smith
A Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Communication, Jon M. Smith has been at SUU since 1989.   His classes on television and film production over 18 years have provided hundreds of students with experiential and practical learning opportunities.

Brief Overview:
Jon is recognized this year for service-learning aspects in Advanced Television Field Production (COMM 4760), and its predecessors over the years.  Under Jon’s supervision, students have initiated and completed a variety of film projects for non-profit organizations, charities, government agencies, schools, and other “clients” who might not otherwise afford such services.  Current and past projects include public service announcements for the Women’s’ Crisis Center and the Happy Factory, along with mini-documentaries for the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Iron Mission State Park, Zion National Park, and SSUU.  Reflection exercises are embedded in the entire learning process, most notably when the pieces are “premiered” and subject to critiques from class members, instructor, and clients.  The feedback is “real world” and immediate.  Jon reports that students are exposed to wide range of community groups and needs.  Ultimately, students are serving the community and practicing civic responsibility in the information age where video communication literacy is essential.