Center for Instructional
Innovation and Assessment



This year's Showcase theme, Community-based Learning, honors four faculty members who emphasize academic service-learning in their courses.


Deborah Currier, a Professor in the Theatre Department, wished to have her Drama in Education students interact and collaborate to create performances for local elementary school students, working together to have a positive impact on the community. The more her students became involved in the project, the more excited they became about everything they were learning.

Angie Harwood, a Professor in the Secondary Education Department, connects her secondary education social studies students with local middle school teachers, their students, and community partners, to acquire practical experience using service-learning in their future classrooms. Some graduates of this program have gone on to use service-learning projects in their own classrooms.

Carol Janson, a Professor in the Art Department, wanted her art history senior seminar to serve as a bridge to her students' futures by leading them from their traditional course readings and writings into a community-based senior project. This opportunity created an authentic experience for them to draw upon in the class, and it prepared them to develop critical thinking and problem-solving strategies useful beyond their education.

Tara Perry, a Professor in the Department of Communications, encourages her students to use their communication skills in the real world through community service projects which they present to the class at the end of the quarter. She describes her focus on the community as a more exciting way to extend learning beyond the classroom..

The distinctive element of service-learning is that it enhances the community through the service provided, but it also has powerful learning consequences for the students or others participating in providing a service...It is a dynamic process, through which students' personal and social growth is tightly interwoven into their academic and cognitive development. According to scholars Eyler and Giles (1999), with the service-learning model "experience enhances understanding; understanding leads to more effective action."

—Eyler & Giles, Where's the Learning in Service-Learning?