Service-Learning & Civic Engagement
2011 Service-Learning Fellows
(In Alphabetical Order)
Service-learning is a curricular-based educational experience in which students participate in
organized activities that meet community needs and then reflect upon their experiences, tying
them to course content, a broader appreciation of their discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic
responsibility. Each Fellow received a $750 honorarium and a handsome commemorative
plaque awarded at the Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Recognition Event on April 11,
Dr. Tom Cunningham completed a Ph.D. in education at Utah State University in 1994 and was hired that year at SUU as a member of the library faculty. He has taught a range of courses spanning several colleges. Since Fall 2005, Tom has been teaching instructional technology and ESL teacher training courses in the Beverley Taylor Sorenson College of Education and Human Development, and he was advanced in rank to full professor in 2008.
Tom Cunningham applied successfully in 2011 to have two classes designated as official service-learning (SL) courses -- Assessing ESL Learners (EESL 4320) and Integrating Language Acquisition & Content Instruction (EESL 4340). Students in both courses are required to tutor ESL learners for a minimum of 20 hours in their semester projects. Students gain practical experience applying concepts and principles from their courses to help linguistic-minority children and adolescents to achieve state core curriculum objectives and English language proficiency standards. In both courses, students create a Reflective Practice Journal along with three lesson plans, a time summary, compliance documentation based on Utah ESL Endorsement Standards, and a reflective summary. Professor Cunningham concludes that service-learning promotes civic responsibility: “Students who participate in this service-learning project develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the challenges faced by culturally and linguistically diverse learners. They discover that apparent fluency with English in social settings (such as on the playground) does not indicate fluency and comprehension of academic English and that such learners need support and accommodation to succeed in school.”
Dr. Alan Hamlin earned an M.B.A. degree from Oregon State University in 1972 and a Ph.D. from Brigham Young University in 1987. A faculty member in SUU’s School of Business since 1981, Professor Hamlin has directed the MBA program, chaired the Department of Management and Marketing, and served in a variety of leadership roles, including Faculty Senate President.
Alan Hamlin offers one official service-learning course -- Business, Government, and Ethics (MGMT 4200). Each student is assigned to a group that seeks “real-world experience” that benefits them and the local community. Students may analyze an existing business (market survey, financial analysis, advice, etc.), work as interns, engage in research for local groups such as the Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club, or provide service to local governments or agencies. Students are required to submit a 5-6 page report on their experiences and make a formal presentation to the class. Professor Hamlin believes that civic responsibility is enhanced in this class: “This class, MGMT 4200, was developed to have business students increase their awareness of how government and business inter-relate. A major portion of the course content covers social responsibility and ethics in business and government. This service project gives a hands-on opportunity for these students to see how, in a small way, they can be part of this experience, and have an influence for good on their local community.”
Donna Lister received a Master’s of Science in Nursing from Brigham Young University, and is nationally certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in education at Walden University. With nearly twenty years in nursing education at SUU, Donna is Associate Professor and Department Chair of Nursing.
Donna Lister is commended for using service-learning in an upper-level class -- Contemporary Issues in Nursing (NURS 4440). Students have many options for their primary “Involvement Project” that requires active community service. Involvement projects may be completed by hosting the Celebration of Southern Utah Nursing, coordinating an educational event for local nurses, developing and producing a newsletter, attending a conference and writing a reflective paper about the experience, or meeting with a federal legislator to discuss current issues. This course focuses on moving students from “knowing about” to “engaging in” contemporary issues and making a positive difference. Weekly class discussions examine current events. Students’ reflections can be written or oral as they are encouraged to share their feelings, learning, and experiences. “This project involves students in the community in a very real and personal way,” Professor Lister explains. “Through their own activities students become linked with legislators, nurses in the community, and decision makers. It does enhance their sense of civic responsibility.”
John R. Taylor graduated from SUU in 1998 with a B.S. degree and earned an M.S. degree at Brigham Young University in 2002. A strong proponent of community-engaged teaching, most notably in his introductory biology classes, John has been a lecturer in the Biology Department since 2002.
John Taylor is honored this year for his use of service-learning in two classes – Principles of Biology (BIOL 1010/15) and Natural History (BIOL 2000). In both of these general education courses, students are required to complete a “Get Involved” activity that connects them with the community in a “science-like way.” Between 200 and 300 students provide service each semester. Common activities involve judging elementary science fairs, hosting science camps for the Paiute tribe, helping to catch bats near Pipe Springs, developing interpretive curricula for the Parowan Wilderness Management Area, and participating in Kid’s College activities with the Voyager Program. In Fall 2010, students in the BIOL 2000 course assisted in completing interpretive projects for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources using the Parowan Wilderness Management Area (WMA). “Science is often neglected and avoided in elementary schools,” Professor Taylor writes. “We routinely meet the needs of Enoch, Fiddlers, Iron Springs and Iron County District science fairs with over 900 judged projects. The WMA projects were developed though discussion between myself and Blaine Cox at the UDWR. . . . The Paiute Tribe also contacted me in need of after- school science curriculum.” Taylor believes that “Most students loved it.”
Service-Learning Pioneer: Boyd Fife
A lifelong resident of the Cedar City area, Boyd Fife earned two degrees from SUU, a B.S. in 1977 and an M.Ed. degree in 1997. Skilled in many of the building trades, he has been a general contractor and a certified building inspector in Utah. He is Assistant Professor of Construction Management.
The Service-Learning Committee wishes to present a unique award this year, that of “Service-Learning Pioneer” to Boyd Fife of the Construction Management Program. Boyd’s service on the committee stretches back to 2002 when “service-learning” was officially defined by SUU faculty and staff who pushed for its promotion and integration across the curriculum. Beginning as a faculty chaperone on alternative break trips to Mexico, Boyd developed connections in Guaymas, Mexico, where he found opportunities to build homes using his own skills and SUU students and colleagues. Working with local residents of Guaymas, Boyd and others have built basic structures with cinder blocks and tin roofs that replaced hovels made of sticks, cardboard, and cast-off items. In December 2009 during a trip to Guaymas, Boyd and Construction Management colleagues learned more about concrete dome technology and then experimented with it to build homes there in Spring 2010. Through alternative break trips to Mexico, Boyd Fife has built homes for indigent local residents while teaching SUU students (and others) about construction basics and enriching them with global and cultural experiences. We honor Boyd Fife for his service to SUU and to the communities of Cedar City and Guaymas, Mexico. The Service-Learning Committee is making a $500 donation to the “Humanitarian Construction Fund” within Boyd’s department.