WESTERN HOSTS INAUGURAL
SERVICE LEARNING SYMPOSIUM
|Penny Pasque, research director at the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan, was the lead presenter at the symposium|
|Student Anastasia Richards volunteers at Harris Regional Hospital (January 2005).|
CULLOWHEE - Some 60 individuals representing 21 universities gathered in Cullowhee on Thursday, June 9, for Western's inaugural Service Learning Symposium.
A form of experiential education that integrates community service and classroom instruction, service learning enhances students' academic development while fostering social and civic responsibility, said Glenn Bowen, director of service learning at Western.
Western Provost Kyle Carter and Robert Caruso, vice chancellor of student affairs, opened the symposium by speaking on “Stewardship and Scholarship as Goals of Higher Education.”
Caruso said the symposium addressed one of the central tenets of Western's Division of Student Affairs – community service and engagement.
“Specifically, we endorse the value of stewardship – that is, helping others and taking responsibility for the welfare of individuals, groups and the environment in the local and global community,” Caruso said. “Through the collaborative efforts of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, service learning is, in my view, the quintessential educational vehicle for engaging students in the world beyond the campus.”
Carter told the attendees, who came from five Southeastern states, that Western is revising its strategic plan and mission to better reflect engagement as a responsibility and educational strategy.
“We must remember that service learning is not a goal in and of itself,” Carter said. “It is a means to an end. We are attempting to re-engage students so that they become better citizens.”
Penny Pasque, research director at the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan, was the lead presenter at the symposium, which covered a variety of service learning topics.