2005 Ehrlich Faculty Award

Recipient

Seth S. Pollack
Service Learning Institute, California State University, Monterey Bay
Seaside, CA

California State University, Monterey Bay is on the cutting edge of integrating issues of diversity and social justice in the context of civic engagement and building multicultural communities, because of the immense contributions of Dr. Seth Pollack. His focus on the integration of civic learning outcomes explicitly addresses the learning outcomes related to justice, diversity, compassion, and social responsibility as a component of a student’s academic experience. As the Director of the Serving Learning Institute, Dr. Pollack suggests that ‘CSUMB has [emphatically] shown that civic and moral learning do have a place in the academy.’

Dr. Pollack’s initial research focused on examining higher education’s service mission, specifically, the history and development of the contemporary service-learning movement. The conceptual framework of the book, Service-Learning: A Movement’s Pioneers Reflect on Its Origins, Practice, and Future, was influenced by Dr. Pollack’s historical analysis of antecedent programs to the current service-learning movement. At CSUMB, his research has focused on the intersection of service-learning, civic education, multicultural education, and social justice education. Dr. Pollack is deeply committed to developing students’ capacity as community builders in a multicultural community and to establishing the kind of institutional environment needed to support community-based teaching, learning, and research. As a result of his leadership, CSUMB students complete two service-learning courses as a graduation requirement, and nearly 50% of the student body is enrolled in a service-learning course each academic year.

As the service-learning movement enters into its third decade, Dr. Pollack’s research will continue to challenge the field to make moral and civic learning an imperative of higher education. At CSUMB, ‘service-learning is not just an approach to teaching – a pedagogy,’ notes Dr. Pollack. ‘Learning about service and social responsibility is seen as a legitimate – and essential – component of the undergraduate degree.’ With the first such program in the country established with this belief in mind, the Minor in Service Learning Leadership began to serve as a model for student leadership programs throughout the California State University system. Dr. Pollack has been a persistent and strong voice for this development in service-learning and has taken seriously the task of sharing this model with colleagues throughout higher education.

Finalists

Julie Ellison
Department of English
University of Michigan

With a local, national, and global lens, Dr. Ellison embodies what she believes research universities contribute to the greater good in these four commitments: teaching, research, service, and engagement. As the founding and current director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, a national organization that has enabled 60 colleges and universities here and in South Africa to develop service-learning and public scholarship initiatives in the humanities and arts, Dr. Ellison has advanced community-based public scholarship to transform teaching, learning, and scholarship.

Her impact has been significant. Her commitment to the public work of higher education is apparent in her courses, ‘Poetry in Everyday Life’ (POEL) in the English departments and ‘A User’s Guide to Public Cultural Work’ in the American Culture Program. Dr. Ellison describes her role as an educator as being situated in a shuttle zone, ‘taking the public scholar and supporting members (i.e. students, faculty, and community partners) in a ferry, making its way back and forth between the two banks of a river, moving people, things, languages, and ideas.’

The reconciliation of critique and hope, a fundamental outcome in teaching POEL, signifies a balance between the complex social knowledge and the power of inspiration, hope, and agency expressed through words.

Gregory S. Jay
Department of English
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

The founder of the Cultures and Communities Program at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Dr. Gregory Jay has demonstrated leadership in educating undergraduates through campus engagement in local communities. In particular, he has promoted multicultural awareness and civic engagement by structurally ‘mainstreaming’ the principles of both diversity and community engagement throughout UWM’s core requirements.

With the creation of the Cultures and Communities undergraduate certificate, Dr. Jay has brought national attention to UWM as an innovative educational institution that strengthens general education and liberal learning at the undergraduate level. Since its inception in 2000, over 8,000 students have completed at least one or more Culture and Communities courses.

Leading the university in administering the largest certificate program, with over 500 students in service-learning each semester, Dr. Jay has enriched the diversity requirement at UWM by connecting it to deep cross-cultural understanding and community engagement. ‘Academic learning about diversity in the classroom,’ he explains, ‘gets tested, expanded, and reflected upon through real-world experiences in the community.’

Dr. Jay’s work has been cited as a model of academic service-learning for urban research universities.

Joseph Kahne
Department of Education
Mills College (CA)

With a commitment to the civic leadership development of women, Dr. Joseph Kahne has contributed to the advancement of service-learning at the local and national levels. As the founder of the Institute for Civic Leadership, Dr. Kahne has put in place an exceptional program that attracts students not only from Mills but also from colleges and universities across the country.

Professor Kahne has written extensively on service-learning and democratic education, expanding the possibilities for using service-learning as a vehicle for educating active, justice-oriented citizens. He is an engaged scholar and researcher who has received numerous awards for his scholarship, including the John Glenn Service-Learning Scholar Award in 2004.

Dr. Kahne believes service-learning, perhaps more than any educational reform movement in the country today, provides ‘a vehicle for invigorating both our democracy and our humanity.’ In his most recent work, What Kind of Citizen: Political Choices and Educational Goals, he explores the connections between curricular design and the goals of citizenship, exploring the promise of service-learning in fulfilling the civic purpose of education.

He notes, ‘If we want to prepare students to build a better world, colleges and universities must respond.’

Christopher Koliba
Department of Community Development
and Applied Economics
University of Vermont

The president of the University of Vermont praises Dr. Chris Koliba as having an ‘unusual depth of training in service-learning as a teacher, a scholar, and a practitioner.’ Dr. Koliba embodies the values and practices of engaged scholarship. Having been recently named the recipient of the John Glenn Service-Learning Scholar Award for his research concerning K-12 education, Dr. Koliba disseminates this work in an array of interdisciplinary scholarly journals, ‘reaching out to scholars in diverse academic disciplines as well as to pubic school educators across the country,’ notes his president.

Dr. Koliba’s administrative leadership at UVM has been vital to the advancement of service-learning and civic engagement, deepening the practice of reflection, reciprocity, and partnerships. He directs the John Dewey Project on Progressive Education and is the Co-Director of the Master’s in Public Administration Program at UVM, while continuously advising students and faculty on ways in which to strengthen community-based teaching and learning.

Over the years Dr. Koliba has done extensive work in incorporating service-learning methodologies. He suggests, ‘Our educational institutions must be mindful of their reciprocal obligation to their local communities’¦and the unintended consequences of our actions.’

Margarita Maria Lenk
College of Business, Department of
Computer Information Systems
Colorado State University

The leadership of Dr. Margarita Lenk has recently resulted in the College of Business at Colorado State University adopting service-learning, community-based research, and civic engagement goals within their strategic plan. Dr. Lenk has created a developmental service-learning and civic engagement model for the college that will provide curricular and co-curricular experiences for its business students.

During her 15-year tenure at CSU, Dr. Lenk has worked locally, regionally, and nationally to bring a moral and civic dimension to business teaching and learning. A College of Business Professor of the Year and 2004 Finalist for the Ehrlich Award, Dr. Lenk has received consistent excellent ratings in her course evaluations in economics, accounting, business, and information systems. She has been named an Engaged Scholar by National Campus Compact, as well as by Colorado and Utah Campus Compacts respectively, contributing to the recent work in the Indicators of Engagement Project, specifically in relation to Hispanic-serving institutions of higher education.

Dr. Lenk is also a member of the Campus Compact Consulting Corps, a group of 20 tenured teacher-scholars, each of whom has demonstrated national and/or institutional leadership in exploring the academic and civic potential of service-learning.

Eric Popkin
Department of Sociology
Colorado College

Dr. Eric Popkin’s work examining the intersection of community-based research (CBR) and civic engagement has expanded service-learning at the Colorado College to include local, regional, state, national, and international dimensions. His commitment to Central American refugee support fueled his interest in institutionalizing community-based learning in higher education.

Dr. Popkin emphasizes the importance of reciprocal partnerships between higher educational institutions and the communities in which they are located. CBR ‘combines classroom learning and skills development with social action in ways that can ultimately empower community groups to address their own needs,’ notes Popkin. His multifaceted work includes a human rights documentation project with the Guatemalan Church in Exile in Nicaragua and founding and directing a nonprofit organization that supports Salvadoran refugees repatriating from camps in Honduras to their home communities ravaged by war. Central to this and much more was public dissemination of fieldwork findings concerning refugee conditions, the root cause of the refugee plight, and the implications of U.S. immigration policy.

Dr. Popkin’s design of a sociology course with a focus on issues of immigration ‘promises to serve as a model for conceptualizing service-learning for other institutions,’ notes a colleague.

Pamela Reynolds
Department of Physical Therapy
Gannon University (PA)

The concept of reciprocity is an essential ethos of service-learning for Dr. Pamela Reynolds. For Dr. Reynolds, ‘the scholarship of teaching compels educators to not only convey knowledge, but also to transform and expand it.’ She capitalizes on how much students learn from their community experience compared to what they offer to community clients and partners. She notes, ‘instead of viewing their experience as service to a client population, they developed a caring relationship and came to see the individuals they are working with in the community as partners and resources.’

Dr. Reynold’s leadership on her campus has led to a new doctoral program in physical therapy at Gannon University that integrates service-learning throughout the curriculum. Her research on how service-learning contributes to the professional development of physical therapy students will be published in a special issue of The Journal of Physical Therapy Education, for which she will act as guest editor.

Her impact has not only been on her campus and her profession; her courses have included assisting seniors in an Erie Housing Authority Complex with ambulatory aids and traveling to El Salvador to assist individuals and the community in identifying and meeting health needs. Her work has connected Gannon University to the global community.

Charles Strain
Department of Religious Studies
Depaul University (IL)

Dr. Charles Strain has ‘an ethos of community service and social justice,’ writes the president of DePaul University in recognizing the efforts of Dr. Strain to institutionalize community-based service-learning and community-based research across DePaul’s curricula. Through his contributions, DePaul’s community-based service-learning program has, according to his president, ‘become the largest such program in higher education in Illinois and in the nation, annually placing more than 1600 DePaul students enrolled in over 120CbSL courses in community service projects, placements and research opportunities.’

Dr. Strain’s service-learning pedagogy, scholarship, and institutional transformation techniques infuse the cycle of learning found in his ‘Liberation Theology’ course. He encourages his students to identify the strengths of their partnering community-based organizations and to work collectively to ‘distill the truths that can guide service and participation in the public sphere.’

His expertise is guided by a strategy he believes leads to civic engagement with a critical edge. ‘Reflectivity about our own social context in higher education undercuts any sense of social superiority that service can bring with it as we grapple with one central question: ’˜Does learning liberate?’’

Nina Tamrowski
Department of Political Science
Onondaga Community College (NY)

Dr. Nina Tamrowski has been a guiding force for laying the foundation for institutionalizing service-learning at Onondaga Community College. She has refined her own work in political science to advance the college’s ability to catalyze a service-learning pedagogy that focuses on student learning and personal development.

Dr. Tamrowski devoted her sabbatical to ‘Integrating Service into the Curriculum.’ During that time she developed a faculty training manual on the Basics of Service Learning. Her work with colleagues has resulted in faculty across multiple disciplines engaging in service-learning. Her service-learning courses, ‘State and Local Politics,’ ‘Women in Politics,’ and ‘Contemporary Global Issues,’ are models for others to look to.

Her passion continues to grow for this work, as is evident in her ability to inspire her students to be knowledge creators instead of simply knowledge consumers. In capturing the essence of her teaching, she explains, ‘I read how students ’˜personalize their knowledge’’¦They come to own what they have learned when they learn how to relate the world of governmental decision-making with the world of social problems that needs addressing by public policy.’ Her presence has motivated her students and moved the college. In the process, Onondaga has become a recognized leader in service-learning among community colleges in New York and nationally.

Adam Weinberg
Department of Sociology
Colgate University (NY)

The president at Colgate University notes that Dr. Adam Weinberg’s expertise and impact on Colgate ‘is not confined to his work as the Dean of the College.’ Reaching students beyond the classroom through residential education, Dr. Weinberg is ‘able to see how small changes in a program can result in a great impact upon students.’ For over 10 years, Dr. Weinberg has used service-learning and other available mechanisms for student civic engagement to ‘capture all the educational moments in which students spend time on campus.’

Dr. Weinberg has been a leader on multiple levels: as a faculty member teaching service-learning courses; as the director of Service-Learning, helping launch the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (the COVE); and as dean of the college by revamping the students affairs program around the principles of civic learning.

Dr. Weinberg’s current work uses service-learning as a starting point for a residential advisors program ‘centered on making residential halls the site for participatory democracy.’ This has ‘revamped the role of RAs and revived Community Councils, functioning as neighborhood associations.’ With the spirit of civic learning and civic engagement infusing Colgate, Dr. Weinberg continues to promote civic responsibility to the larger academic community.