Interim service-learning director and faculty coordinator appointed

Interim service-learning director and faculty coordinator appointed

Jessica Cook has been appointed the interim director of service learning and Dr. Kim Vrudny has been named the interim faculty coordinator for service learning following the resignation of Dr. Ellen Kennedy earlier this year. Dr. Angeline Barretta-Herman, associate vice president for academic affairs, will oversee the positions, which began July 1.

Jessica Cook

Cook has worked in the Psychology Department for three years and will finish her master’s degree this summer. Vrudny is an assistant professor of systematic theology. Both Cook and Vrudny have served on the Service-Learning Advisory Board and are committed to seeing the service-learning programs and the campus-community partnerships continue to grow and expand.

Cook will work full-time in her position. Vrudny will devote one-third of her time to her position as faculty coordinator for service learning. Courses this fall with a service-learning component include three sections of paired courses at Lincoln International School. St. Thomas has been involved with Lincoln, a school for immigrant and refugee students, since 2003. Faculty for this community partnership in the coming year include Amy Muse, Fred Nairn, Liz Dussol, Matt Maruggi, Ellen Kennedy and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer.

Dr. Kim Vrudny

Craig Eliason, Heidi Giebel, Mike Klein, Sue Myers, Mary Twite, Lisa Waldner and Vrudny will have their students work with Open Arms Minnesota, an organization that prepares meals for and delivers meals to people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases in the Twin Cities.

Mari Heltne and Carole Bagley will offer a course in which students teach immigrant entrepreneurs computer skills through the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC). This fall will mark the second year that St. Thomas has been collaborating with Open Arms and the NDC.

Cook and Vrudny will oversee the Service-Learning Advisory Board, which is made up of 16 faculty, staff and student members.

If you have questions or suggestions for the program, please e-mail Cook at, or Vrudny at

Following a review of UST’s service learning programs, a search for permanent service-learning leadership will take place during the 2006-2007 academic year.

For more information about service learning, visit the service-learning Web  site: