Christina Poteet has joined UNC Pembroke’s Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) as its first associate director.
Poteet’s role is to facilitate community service opportunities and to direct education and recognition programs. A division of the Office for Student Affairs, the Center for Leadership and Service is located in Old Main and is directed by Aubrey Swett.
“Christie brings a wealth of energy, excitement and passion for community and social justice,” Swett said. “Her personal involvement and experience with volunteer service programs will be invaluable to our students and the University’s community and its partners.
“The addition of Christie to the CLS team will enable us to spearhead community engagement initiatives that with strengthen existing University and community relations and promote civility with our students,” he said.
Poteet was attracted to UNCP for several reasons including its record of educating first generation college students.
“Part of the reason I was drawn to UNCP is its history and its diversity,” she said. “Another reason is that I’m a first generation college student.”
Poteet understands the role of civic engagement in higher education and how it affects the lives of students. It is also important for a university to link with its community, she said.
At UNCP, Poteet said there are many opportunities to build programs that can make a difference for the community and change students’ lives.
“I hope to create many service opportunities for student as well as faculty and staff,” she said. “There is great potential here to create lasting relationships between the campus and community.”
Poteet is a proponent of service learning in higher education and incorporated the concept into classes that she instructed while in graduate school.
“I taught classes in communication studies and built a curriculum around the concepts of engagement and civic consciousness,” she said. “Education has the ability to create social change and communication is the key.”
A native of Cleveland, Tenn., Poteet earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies from Berea College in Berea, Ky., and a Master of Arts in communication studies from UNC Greensboro. Critical pedagogy and social justice are two consistent themes in her education.
“Berea is a college dedicated to service, and that’s where I got started down this path,” she said.
Berea College has a unique mission of learning, labor and service. Tuition is paid entirely through student work.
Poteet tutored fellow students in writing, speech and critical thinking skills. She also volunteered in a variety of settings that included a middle school debate program, a pregnancy center and a job skills program for Appalachian women.
This summer, Poteet is working to launch her first program.
“I am making contacts with community partners to stage awareness events for a program called Justice Through Service,” she said. “The goal is to stimulate thought among our students.”