Community Engagement: Back to the Future
As the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) celebrates its 25th anniversary, we find ourselves looking back in order to chart our way forward. As our vision has evolved and expanded over the years, the CCE has remained true to its core mission of developing campus-community partnerships to advance learning, service, and change. That frame, especially as it relates to our work with faculty, was greatly informed by the work of Ernest Boyer in Scholarship Reconsidered (1990) and the Scholarship of Engagement (1996) which called for the academy to become more responsive to the problems of our communities and society. Also important to the CCE’s early development was the Kellogg Commission Report on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities (1999) with the imperative of Returning to our Roots to bring the resources and expertise of the academy into reciprocal and mutually beneficial partnerships with communities.
Over two decades later, the field of community engagement has developed in important ways with robust campus-based programs characterized by purpose and structure that advance collaborative action to address public problems and lasting change. The body of literature on community engagement is now substantial with hundreds of books and journals dedicated to the study and practice of campus-community engagement and public scholarship. As well, a newly released book, Land-Grant Universities for the Future: Higher Education for the Public Good by Stephen M. Gavazzi and E. Gordon Gee issues another call for land-grant institutions to embrace their traditional role of providing for the people of their states, becoming more “fierce” in their land-grant mission.
At the 25 year mark of our own evolution, the CCE is issuing this new publication to draw attention to the engaged work of WSU faculty, students, and community partners in the critical enterprise of campus-community partnerships for the public good. Our current plan is to develop and distribute two issues per year, feedback is welcomed and appreciated.
Thank you for your support of community engagement at WSU! We look forward to continuing our work together.
Dr. Sammy Perone, Human Development (HD) Assistant Professor and CCE Faculty Fellow, incorporates service learning into two courses each year including one on early childhood development. Dr. Perone also collaborates with undergraduate students in the Human Development Childhood Cognition Lab, a research-based initiative to advance healthy cognitive development in children.
Lura Potter, an undergraduate student and HD major, has taken both courses and is currently a Project Leader in the Childhood Cognition Lab. Lura maintains that her service learning experiences in HD 200 and HD 306 contributed to her academic and personal goals and led to her role in the Cognition Lab. For Lura, the service learning experiences “reaffirmed that I love working with children” and at the same time confirmed that “I don’t want to be a teacher.” Having a leadership role in the Lab has “given me a new sense of purpose and has helped me see that research will be important to my future. These experiences were the building blocks to truly finding my passion among the sea of options and helped me to understand myself better.”
Lura is responsible for collecting, coding, and analyzing data, running participants in experiments, and using brain imaging technology. Patrella & Jung (2008) suggest that cultivating and sustaining undergraduate participation in research benefits not only the students, but also the faculty mentors, the university, and ultimately society in general. This is particularly true in research with a clear public purpose, engaging students in the scientific process to generate knowledge that will positively impact our communities.
Dr. Kara Whitman, School of the Environment (SOE) 110 instructor, has an ongoing partnership with City of Pullman Storm Water Services and Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI). Student participation in a two-week service learning experience involves creek restoration, environmental repair, and native planting. In addition, these students are also participants in the critical reflection research of Kayla Wakulich, SOE Graduate Student. Kayla is analyzing the qualitative data gathered from the students’ reflective journaling they complete immediately following their restoration experience to evaluate if the students gained a deeper connection with nature over time as a result of participating in the project. Kayla’s research results from this analysis support the use of urban restoration as a way of fostering ecological sense of place. Discovering the value of articulating the experience, embracing the importance of civil discourse, and developing the ability to make deeper connections are all benefits of participating in reflection (Bringle & Hatcher, 1999). This type of civic engagement contributes to the students being active participants in the scientific inquiry process, engaged within their community, and the opportunity to deconstruct beliefs and make meaningful connections to course materials.
Transformative Learning Experiences
During the 2018 fall semester, the CCE’s Academic Program supported over 2400 students, 33 faculty/instructors, and 7 colleges with courses that incorporate service learning. Service learning, a method of community engagement, contributes to overall student success, engagement, and retention (Simonet, 2008). Brett, a WSU student who participated in a service learning opportunity at the Colfax Food Pantry said “I had no idea that our community had such a serious poverty problem…I noticed the vast majority of people who came to the food bank were elderly people and it made me question how we are doing such a poor job in taking care of our elders.” Karina, another WSU student who participated in a service learning opportunity at Bishop Place Senior Living, had an experience that resulted in “an increased understanding of the diversity and needs in the community and changed my perspective on how I can volunteer and have an impact within the town.” These examples demonstrate how students are growing from their transformative experiences through service learning and gaining the skills and awareness of how to be active and conscientious citizens in their own communities after they graduate.
The CCE facilitated a collaboration between Rebecca L. Cooney, Clinical Associate Professor in Strategic Communication, and the Whitman County Health Department (WCHD). The focus of the course project was to bring awareness to locally significant public health issues. As a result, strategies for seven awareness campaigns and three special projects were generated by students of this course. Deanna Claybaugh, WCHD Community Health Nurse, provided the students with current statistics and research regarding prevalent health-related issues within Whitman County including vaccination administration (Flu, Tdap and HPV), the benefits of breastfeeding, and the dramatic rise of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. “The opportunity to receive comprehensive public health awareness materials is a huge asset for our organization, as well as the practical benefits of bringing the education to the community” stated Claybaugh. It is challenging for the Health Department to develop this type of material due to a lack of funding and staff resources. Claybaugh intends to distribute the materials developed by the COMSTRAT 383 students at the local and state level.
Dr. Barbara Richardson, Director of Interprofessional Education & Research at WSU Spokane and CCE Faculty Fellow, incorporates community engagement as a required element of the medical school curriculum for year one in FMS 502 and FMS 503. During the Spring 2018 semester, first year medical students completed more than 720 hours of engagement within the greater Spokane community. In reflection exercises, students discussed the many benefits that working with a wide variety of community-based programs addressing many different issues contributed to their development as community-minded physicians. On November 6th, Dr. Richardson and Veronica Puente, WSU Spokane Community Engagement Coordinator, organized a “service fair” open to all students on the WSU Spokane campus. Approximately twenty community partners were present to talk with students about their organizations, what their current needs are, and how students can engage in the coming months. Dr. Richardson is planning to include the student’s reflection presentations at the annual Spokane (EWU, Whitworth, Gonzaga, and WSU Spokane) community engagement event that includes poster presentations and a keynote speaker in late April.
CCE Faculty Fellows Fall Highlights
Dr. Samantha Gizerian has been elected chair of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Faculty Advising Commission beginning October 2018. This spring, Dr. Gizerian will continue to host the Kids Judge! annual event with her students in NEUROSCI 491. Kids Judge! invites 5th grade students to campus to judge NEUROSCI 491 student projects.
Dr. Molly Kelton and collaborators were awarded a $1.2 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award. This is a 5 year project establishing the Health-STEM Education program through Arts Based Learning (HEAL). HEAL’s long-term mission is to broaden minority and rural participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This project will develop a novel educational program to teach children in grades 3-5 from predominantly Latino populations in Central Washington about ecological dynamics and infectious diseases that affect rural-agricultural areas.
Civic engagement has recently been identified and recognized as one of WSU’s top ten fundraising priorities, coinciding with the CCE’s 25th anniversary year!
December Issue of the Community Partner Newsletter is now available.
Landscape Architecture’s Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) partnered with the Whitman County Historical Society to create preliminary renovation designs for the historic Pullman Depot.
Continuums of Service Conference will be on March 6–8, 2019 in San Diego, CA at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice Center at University of San Diego. The theme of this year’s conference is Beyond Borders: Embracing Multiple Ways of Knowing and Being.
WSU Center for Civic Engagement, UI Center for Teaching and Excellence, and UI Center for Volunteerism and Social Action will collaboratively host the annual Campus Community Forum this spring. The 2019 Campus Community Forum will be hosted in Pullman on April 24, 2019.
Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting will be June 5-8, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. AASCU's American Democracy Project (ADP) and NASPA are committed to advancing the civic engagement movement in higher education.
Boyer, E.L. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. New York, NY: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Boyer, E. L. (1996). The Scholarship of Engagement. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 1(1), 11-20.
Bringle, Robert G. and Hatcher, Julie A., "Reflection in Service Learning: Making Meaning or Experience" (1999). Evaluation/Reflection. 23, pp. 184-185. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/slceeval/23
Christie, M., Carey, M., Robertson, A., & Grainger, P. (2015). Putting transformative learning theory into practice. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 55(1), 10-11.
Gavazzi, S. M. and E. G. Gee (2018). Land-Grant Universities for the Future: Higher Education for the Public Good. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-grant Universities. (1999) Returning to our roots: the engaged institution. Washington, DC: National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.
Petrella, J. K., & Young, A. P. (2008). Undergraduate Research: Importance, Benefits, and Challenges. International Journal of Exercise Science, 1(3), 91. Retrieved from http://www.intjexersci.com
Simonet, D. (2008). Service-learning and academic success: The links to retention research. Minnesota Campus Compact, May. 1-9. Retrieved from https://mncampuscompact.org/what-we-do/publications/service-learning-and-academic-success-the-links-to-retention-research/