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Service-learning is growing at UNC Pembroke


Thirty-two service-learning courses with 336 students were offered at UNC Pembroke during the 2011-2012 academic year.

UNCP’s Service-Learning program and its director, Christie Poteet, provide training and other support for faculty who agree to incorporate community service into the classroom. While UNCP’s program is only one year old, Poteet said service-learning at the university is growing and will soon be more accessible to students.

“Beginning this summer, courses with a service-learning component will be easier for students to sign up for,” Poteet said. “They will be noted by the registrar’s course listings with a ‘SL.’ Therefore, when students register they will be aware of the service-learning component. 

“Also, we are working with the Center for Academic Excellence to develop a campaign to target students to create awareness about service-learning,” she said. “As a program that fosters student engagement and career focus, service-learning and student success are synonymous.”

Service-learning course evaluations last semester were outstanding, said Poteet, who works out of the Office of Community and Civic Engagement. “More than 94 percent of students enrolled in a service-learning course either agreed or strongly agreed that the service-learning component of the course helped them better connect the curriculum with their everyday lives and helped them to clarify future career aspirations,” she said.  

A significant component of Poteet’s role is working with faculty members who are teaching service-learning courses or who are interested in the program. Four faculty workshops took place this spring. Other faculty members help with the program, including these service-learning fellows: Drs. Scott Hicks, Anita Guynn and Michele Fazio of the Department of English and Theatre, Cindy Edwards of the Department of Social Work, Dr. Brooke Kelly of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and Dr. Angela Holman of the School of Education.

UNCP offered the following courses this semester 2012:
Public Relations Campaigns with Dr. Dandan Liu (Mass Communication)

This advanced course in public relations examines the four-step process of RPIE (research, planning, implementation and evaluation) in detail, with emphasis on moving through the process in a professional and complete manner. Students’ mastery of the material is measured by in-field performance, written reports and oral presentation. Students work in teams to complete public relations campaigns for local, community-based organizations.

Television Production withJason Hutchens (Mass Communication)

Students in this class learn the basics of television production. They are required to serve as talent and crew for various 30-minute televised productions. The course incorporates service-learning by creating talk-show programming that highlights various ongoing service-learning projects being developed by faculty and staff through the university. The programs are broadcast online and through WNCP-TV (the campus television station) to raise community awareness of service-learning initiatives. In the past, this course has also highlighted issues important to the Robeson County community through televised round-table discussions to raise awareness and concern for the issues and the organizations that target them.

African American Literature: Traditions and Contexts withDr. Scott Hicks (English and Theatre)

In this course, students partner with community agencies to promote literacy.  During the Black Arts Movement, c. 1960-1975, “African American writers and artists turned to the African American masses for their inspiration and defined their goals in broadly collective and social political terms. In these classes, students will lead writing and reading workshops for community members and produce a journal of their shared efforts for community dissemination.

Some Place like Pembroke: Work Histories of the Lumbee with Christie Poteet (Community and Civic Engagement)

The realities of contemporary society and the effects of the post-industrialization of the United States –  high unemployment, foreclosures, bank bailouts, outsourcing and global capitalism, lower wages and the loss of worker benefits –  raise the question over the control and power an individual exercises in a social system that privileges profit and greed over humanity and dignity. The absence and presence of labor impacts individuals as well as communities socially and culturally. Therefore, this course will engage in examining the historical context of work in Pembroke and the surrounding area to understand how this broader (inter-) national subject relates to those who lived during the growth of American industry and what its decline means to future generations. What is being done to rebuild local businesses now? What measures are being taken to preserve local culture? Are we journeying to nowhere? Where do we go from here? 

Introduction to Career Development with Mallory Bower and Dr. Karen Pruitt (Career Center)

Students will be exposed to all aspects of the career planning process, including self-assessment, decision-making related to choosing a major and identifying related career options, goal setting, career and job research, and job search tools and strategies. In addition, students will work with a community partner to prepare and deliver workshops related to these major themes to individuals in the community. With Robeson County's unemployment rate at 12.8 percent, students will expand their career knowledge into the surrounding community.

Sociology of Poverty withDr.Brooke Kelly (Sociology and Criminal Justice)

The sociology of poverty course will be taught in partnership with the Pembroke Housing Authority.  By conducting a door-to-door survey of residents about their needs and compiling the findings to present to the housing authority administration, students will gain the research experience of collecting data in the real world. The housing authority will gain data on the needs of its residents. Students also will learn to interact with residents who are dealing with some of the issues addressed in class. Throughout the process, students will reflect on their experiences with the project through formal writings and discussion in class. Upon completion of the interviews and findings report, students will formally address which aspects of their experience in the project relate to the course material.

Foundations of Reading and Oral Language Development withDr. Laura Staal (School of Education)

All students in this course will complete eight consecutive one-hour sessions at Prospect Elementary School this semester. The School of Education formed a literacy partnership with Prospect School in the fall 2011 semester. The goal of this partnership is to incorporate literacy-related, service-learning activities in the area of literacy learning. Students are required to reflect on both the literacy component and service component of the work experience.

Practice with Communities and Organizationswith Cindy Edwards (Social Work)

Students in this course will use service-learning ideas to plan, coordinate, implement and evaluate a local community awareness event. They will partner with Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) to raise awareness about the prevention of child abuse and neglect as well as recruiting volunteers for GAL. Students will demonstrate social work program competencies and course practice behaviors through this project. Two events will be held in April, which is Child Abuse Prevention month.  One class will be hosted in Pembroke and one class will be hosted in Lumberton.

Survey of Educational Research with Dr. Heather Higgins (School of Education)

This course will partner with community-based organizations to guide students through action research projects relevant to education and the partner’s needs.  Students will engage in active research to help the partners collect data while helping to provide students with an overview of educational research.

Fundamentals of Voice and Diction with Christie Poteet (Community and Civic Engagement)

This course helps students enhance their oral communication skills. In order to achieve this goal, the course will engage students in a variety of situations where effective oral communication is vital. Students are working on skills related to interviewing, public speaking, oral interpretation, conflict resolution (or debate), group communication and persuasive speaking. To measure the mastery of effective communication in these areas, the students will partner with the Pembroke Housing Authority (PHA) to provide residents with educational workshops related to these same themes. The students will gain experience and practice in effective oral communication and understanding of the course material while providing the residents of PHA with similar skills and knowledge. 

Here is a sample of service-learning classes offered in the fall 2011 semester.
Theory and Process of Family Counseling by Dr. Angela Holman (School of Education)

This course uses service-learning in partnership with a community agency and student research to plan for and conduct a psycho-educational workshop for families.

Written Communication Skills by Deana Johnson (College Opportunity Program)

Students have the opportunity to participate in and write about a service-learning project in which we will assist with an event for elementary students from the local area.

Contemporary Literature with Dr. Michele Fazio (English and Theatre)

Students in this class conduct interviews of Lumbee elders to create work histories. Service-learning enables students to reflect on lived experiences, examining how class, power and community values shape individual and tribal identity.

Freshman Seminar by Dr. Jaime Martinez (History)

Students will devote a portion of class time time to preparing for and participating in a reading party for local elementary school students. Students in this class work in groups to select an appropriate story, design crafts or activities to accompany the story, create a budget for supplies and recruit additional participants.           

Freshman Seminar with Deana Johnson College Opportunity Program)

The class participates in a service-learning project and has the opportunity to earn points for participation. We will assist with planning as well as working on the project.

History of the U.S. and East Asia, Mid-19th Century with Dr. Annika Culver (History)

As future or current elementary and secondary school teachers or local professionals, members of this course will organize a 30-minute grade-appropriate PowerPoint presentation and lecture or hands-on activity to share with colleagues, a community organization and students at the school. These issues might include traditional Chinese/Korean/Japanese culture, Pearl Harbor, WWII-era Japanese internment camps, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the “forgotten war” in Korea, Chinese children's festivals during the Maoist period, and the “Little Red Book” during the Cultural Revolution. Asian studies is infused into activities, and students will work closely with a supervisor or supervising teacher to promote diversity education.

Social Work Practice I with Frederick Stephens (Social Work)

Through the social work program's required volunteer field experiences, the students in this course have the opportunity to assume a participant-observer-helper role in a human service organization.

Social Work Practice II with Cindy Edwards (Social Work)

Students in this course will focus on creating change in organizational and community systems by partnering with a community-based program to address a specific social problem within a local community.

Introduction to Sociology with Dr. Rohald Meneses (Sociology and Criminal Justice)

This course will cover a broad range of historical and contemporary knowledge as well as the application of sociological principles to current social life through participation in a service-learning project. Through this project, students will become more involved in society and the resolution of social problems.

Gender and Society with Dr. Brooke Kelly (Sociology and Criminal Justice)

We will use social science research methods to investigate a potential social problem on campus, which relates to many of our course topics. This class will work with the Rape Crisis Center of Robeson County to investigate sexual and/or verbal abuse.