Service-learning Pedagogy Presentations to Be Held Aug. 23

The St. Thomas community is invited to hear five presentations prepared by St. Thomas faculty about service-learning pedagogy and engaged scholarship Thursday, Aug. 23. The first presentation will begin at 1 p.m in Room 201, John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts.

The presentations mark the culmination of a workshop extending over seven months to support research in the areas of service-learning and engaged pedagogy sponsored by the Office of Service-Learning.

The schedule and speakers are:

  • 1 p.m. – Dr. Debra Peterson and Dr. Tim Scully, Communication and Journalism Department
  • 1:30 p.m. – Dr. Ernest Owens, Management Department
  • 2 p.m. – Dr. Susan Callaway, English Department
  • 2:30 p.m. – Break
  • 2:45  p.m. – Dr. Mike Klein, Justice and Peace Studies Department
  • 3:15 p.m. – Dr. Kimberly Vrudny, Theology Department

Abstracts of the papers

Debra Petersen and Tim Scully: "Study-away Service-Learning: Preparing Students for a Transformational Experience"

If international service-learning is indeed “the most powerful pedagogy available to higher education,” we should examine its effects on our students and the strategies we use to maximize the desired outcomes with the goal of improving our ISL courses. For over a decade, UST Communication and Journalism faculty and students in “Hawaii: Multi-Cultural Communication in Diverse Organizations” have had a small bilingual charter school on Kaua’i, Hawaii, as their service-learning partner. Many of these UST students report that their relatively brief time at the school was a life-changing experience. This paper will focus on the current structure of the course and how it is designed to prepare students for a transformative experience at the service-learning site, as well as unexpected ways that this experience has been enhanced.

Ernest Owens: "The Effects of Sponsor Immersion on Service-Learning Based Project Management Curriculum"

Most research in service-learning and project management focuses on the process of service-learning or the methods of project management. This review will focus on the role of community sponsors and their efforts to engender successful service-learning-based projects. The analysis will frame the pedagogy for a semesterlong course where the sponsor participates as a student in the course on project management. This paper explores what happens when the sponsor is not an external leader guiding the effort from outside the classroom, but an integral member of the classroom experience. This paper elucidates some of the outcomes where the sponsor is trained alongside and experiencing the project on an equal footing with the students.

Susan Callaway: "Contexts and Contributions: A Case for Service-Learning in the Writing Center"

Despite the challenges inherent in community outreach, writing centers can benefit from service-learning in the peer consulting preparation course. Service-learning disrupts the assumptions consultants hold about writing, learning, literacy and their roles with their peers in the university. Through the lens of the UST Center for Writing’s work in the community, this paper describes the intersections between writing centers and service-learning, and then examines the issues a writing center director should be aware of in establishing outreach, all the while mining the benefits of partnering in the community.

Mike Klein: "Beyond the Dichotomy of Charity or Justice: Complementary Service-learning Strategies on the Social Change Wheel"

Social change wheel models provide a unifying framework for interrelated strategies addressing social issues without undermining critical analysis of power and injustice. Moving from a theoretical approach to practical application, this article presents the social change wheel as a synthesizing model and describes applications for service-learning reflection, analysis and planning.

Kimberly Vrudny: "'Doing No Harm' and Other Implausibilities: Photographic Ethics in the Field"

Dynamics of power and privilege are evident in documentary photography, as photographers with expensive cameras and generous travel allowances journey around the world, sometimes making a spectacle of human suffering. In creating "30 Years / 30 Lives," a photography exhibit that introduces viewers to 30 individuals in the United States, South Africa, Thailand and Mexico whose lives in some way intersect with HIV/AIDS, I attempted to advance photographic ethics in the context of humanitarian relief by occupying a middle place between arguments that suggest such photography is never warranted, and the free-for-all arguments that suggest anything goes. Before departing to carry out the project, I outlined 10 ethical principles that should guide the practice of documentary photography, and then I attempted to abide by them in the field. In this paper, I examine three of those principles – preventing exploitation, mitigating privilege and overcoming stereotypes – with stories from behind the scenes, highlighting moments when remaining true to the principle was not always as straightforward as I might have wished, as well as moments when my horizons were broadened by interaction with participants in the project.