Effort urges students to serve
Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2008 12:49 pm
The Messenger 08.06.08
The University of Tennessee at Martin recently hosted the first meeting of the Tennessee Campus Compact, an organization that fosters programs encouraging faculty to create activities within courses designed to serve critical needs of community partners while deepening the learning of the students engaged in those activities.
The Tennessee Campus Compact, an organization now affiliated with the National Campus Compact, was formed earlier this year to make service-learning education more organized and effective throughout the state.
“The Tennessee Campus Compact is a natural fit with elements of our American Democracy Project and a refocused LEAD Academy program to build capacity of our students to become more active, involved citizens,” UT Martin Chancellor Dr. Tom Rakes said.
The national organization has existed since 1986 as the primary organizing body for service learning in higher education. Hundreds of schools are now members, joining the original three: Brown, Stanford and Georgetown.
Among national campus compact initiatives have been projects to tutor at-risk youth, build houses for low-income families, conduct environmental safety studies and care for the sick, hungry, homeless and elderly.
Dr. Jerald Ogg, vice chancellor for academic affairs, will lead UT Martin’s campus compact efforts, which also will include a leadership emphasis. The American Democracy Project and LEAD Academy, UT Martin organizations, will serve as partners.
“I have included a service-learning component in my public relations classes since 1988 and have found it to be an extremely valuable, ‘win-win’ experience,” Ogg said. “I don’t know a better way to learn than providing an opportunity for students to use their knowledge to benefit our non-profit partners from across West Tennessee.”
“UT Martin has been involved in service learning for some time, but these relationships with the National and Tennessee Campus Compact organizations offer support, encouragement and recognition,” said Dr. Mike McCullough, UT Martin ADP chair. “Those who have done service learning will be encouraged to continue, more will join and our membership in Campus Compact will show institutional commitment to service learning.”
Mani Hull, who spearheaded the drive to affiliate Tennessee with Campus Compact, led the statewide steering committee meeting at UT Martin. Hull also met with UT Martin administration and faculty to answer questions regarding the mission of Campus Compact and UT Martin’s role in the state organization.
The committee, under the direction of chair Dr. Deborah K. Harley, assistant vice president for community engagement, learning and leadership at East Tennessee State University, worked on a mission statement, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis and strategies and measurements.