Dilafruz Williams Wins 2001 Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning


Dr. Dilafruz Williams Portland State University Dr. Dilafruz Williams is the recipient of the seventh annual Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning. Dr. Williams is a professor in Educational Policy, Foundations and Administrative Studies and the director of Community-University Partnerships at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Williams brings a number of rich perspectives to her service and her scholarship. These perspectives are informed by her own experiences as a teacher in secondary education, as an administrator in higher education, a researcher, a scholar, and a practitioner. The point of service-learning is to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar in an effort to encourage students to appreciate the pluralistic values inherent in democracy, offers Dr. Williams. In this endeavor she has been characterized as passionate, honest, caring, and competent — a person whose work, according to Devorah Lieberman, director of the Center for Academic Excellence at Portland State University ‘is truly the scholarship of service.’ Dr. Williams believes that service is about addressing a larger purpose because, she states, ‘education, after all, is a moral enterprise, and a community that has vitality requires holistic and integrated experiences of life, service, and learning.’


Frederick C. Collignon, Ph.D. Chair and Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning University of California, Berkeley, California ‘Among the growing number of faculty members on our campus who now use service-learning in their courses, Dr. Collignon stands out as one of the campus’s faculty leaders,’ says Robert Berdahl, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley. Frederick Collignon has volunteered his time since 1995 to co-chair the school’s Service-Learning Faculty Policy Committee, providing strong, collaborative leadership in creating new opportunities for his colleagues to establish and develop service-learning courses. As an associate professor in the College of Environmental Design he has taught exemplary service-learning courses in which City and Regional Planning students design and implement community revitalization plans for several neighborhoods in the Berkeley area. Since 1997 Dr. Collignon has served as an assistant to the vice-chancellor. As such, he is responsible for National and Community Service, a role in which he works closely with the campus’s premier community service centers. Through the work of these centers and the various committees with which Dr. Collignon is affiliated, approximately 4,000 students provide curricular and extra-curricular services to their surrounding community each year. Richard A. Couto, Ph.D. Professor and Modlin Chair in Leadership Studies University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia Beginning his work in service-learning in 1975 at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Couto is regarded by many as one of the pioneers in the service-learning movement in American higher education. While at Vanderbilt, Dr. Couto helped shape both Campus Compact and the Campus Outreach Opportunity League. Coming to the University of Richmond in 1991, Dr. Couto was a founding member of its Jepson School of Leadership Studies. He had the opportunity to integrate community-based, problem-centered teaching and research within the curriculum. The Jepson School curriculum includes a required service-learning seminar and most leadership studies courses involve the students in action-research projects. Currently, Dr. Couto is fashioning a Consortium of Participatory Action Research (COPAR) among J. Sargent Reynolds Community College, the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Union University. He has spent more than 25 years committed to innovative, imaginative, and creative approaches to service-learning and outreach. Richard M. Ebherst, Ph.D. Director, Community-Univ. Partnerships Professor or Health Science and Human Ecology California State University San Bernadino, California ‘[Dr. Richard Ebherst] has moved the campus from a position of being quite far behind the [service-learning] curve to being on the leading edge,’ says Albert Karnig, president of California State University, San Bernadino. ‘Due to his efforts, service-learning is now a fully institutionalized aspect of the infrastructure, thus placing it as one of three major goals of the university.’ Dr. Ebherst’s pioneering work in service-learning dates back to 1971. He served as director and is a founder of the school’s Community-University Partnerships, which strives to improve the quality of life of a region the size of South Carolina. He secured funding and was the lead in the creation of the university’s Office of Service-Learning; assisted an entire department in converting all of its graduate courses to utilize service-learning; has involved more than 800 students, six departments, and scores of faculty in ‘Focus 92411,’ an initiative to enhance the lives of residents and workers in the 94211 zip code; and wrote the university’s policies on service-learning. Dr. Ebherst has also served as president of the National Health Education Honorary, Eta Sigma Gamma, which works to integrate service-learning with teaching and research. Recently, he was president of the American School Health Association, which he dedicated to integrating schools with communities for mutual benefit. Robert Elias, Ph.D. Professor and Chair, Department of Politics University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California In 1977, at a time when service-learning had neither its name nor its popularity, Dr. Robert Elias made the pedagogy an integral component of his curriculum. From his very first full-time teaching position, Dr. Elias never regarded community-based experiences as external to, or optional in, designing his syllabi, but rather as critical to student learning. He remains a prolific and untiring champion of service-learning in his roles inside and outside of the University of San Francisco. Dr. Elias founded and is chair of the University of San Francisco’s Legal Studies and Peace & Justice Studies programs, both of which weave service-learning throughout their coursework. Among his other numerous achievements, Dr. Elias co-authored two articles on service-learning; teaches numerous service-learning courses; and created an extensive database of more than 900 organizations for students to access for community placements. Dr. Elias is also a vociferous supporter of the pedagogy within professional organizations, including the American Political Science Association, the American Sociological Association, the Peace Studies Association, and the American Bar Association’s division on Undergraduate Legal Education. He regularly speaks to national and international audiences on the pedagogy. Lorraine Gutierrez, Ph.D. Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Department of Psychology University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan Dr. Lorraine Gutierrez is project director and a creator of the Detroit Initiative, a major collaboration involving University of Mich-igan faculty and students with grassroots and non-profit organizations to improve the quality of life for residents of Detroit’s neighborhoods. Possessing a familiarity with Detroit which dates back to her time as a graduate student, Dr. Gutierrez has carried out numerous community research initiatives. These include investigating methods of assessing the effectiveness of abstinence education, evaluating effective mental health assessment tools for Head Start, measuring the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement on the condition of Latino youth, and extensive research on various aspects of multicultural education. Dr. Gutierrez helped to develop a new major, Community and Social Systems, which is designed to prepare students for collaborative community work. She co-leads faculty roundtables and workshops of teaching service-learning courses; has created elaborate and in-depth service-learning programs on the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels; and is a prolific publisher and presenter of work on gender, multicultural, and other social issues. Angela M. Harwood, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Dept. of Secondary Education Woodring College of Education Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington ‘Angela Harwood is an innovative and imaginative practitioner of pedagogy that is rich in content and supports service-learning concepts,’ says Western Washington University President Karen Morse. Dr. Harwood is the originator of Project Connect, a service-learning program designed to help eighth graders and WWU student teachers explore and develop their roles within the community. It is a program that combines fieldwork with classroom teaching — a work-study experience for middle school students and WWU students of education that weds scholarly material and technique with hands-on experience. Dr. Harwood’s curriculum, programs, and teaching efforts have resulted in direct benefits to 35 nonprofit or governmental agencies in the form of the services of university and middle school students. Dr. Harwood is ‘teaching the teachers of tomorrow to instruct children in a manner that connects their education to their community,’ continues President Karen Morse, ‘for it is they who provide the building blocks for a vital democracy and it is they who maintain a viable system of public education.’ Robert Hironimus-Wendt, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Dept. of Behavioral Sciences Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois ‘Robert Hironimus-Wendt has been an exemplar of creative and rigorous use of service-learning. … He has been untiring in his efforts to build bridges for Millikin to historically underrepresented and underserved portions of the Decatur populace,’ states Millikin President Thomas Flynn. Dr. Hironimus-Wendt believes that educators must be responsible for helping students recognize practical applications for the theoretical messages being taught in the classroom, in order to make the ‘connection between the life of the mind and the subsequent life lived. … If we want [our students] to understand how the world really works, they will need to observe it firsthand; they will need to interact with it, question it, listen to it, and understand it from the perspectives of those who live in it,’ he states. With this conviction in mind, he has integrated service-learning into most of the courses he supervises. Dr. Hironimus-Wendt believes there are two essential elements which must be a part of all service-learning projects involving people. First, students must learn to effectively ‘take the role of others,’ and second, students must learn to avoid ‘victim blaming’ and understand the role of social environments in limiting people’s opportunities. Shelly Shaefer Hinck, Ph.D. Professor of Speech Communication and Dramatic Art Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan ‘In her role as coordinator of service-learning from 1997-2000, Dr. Shelly Shaefer Hinck moved the stature of service-learning on campus from the periphery to the center of the undergraduate curriculum,’ says Central Michigan University President Michael Rao. Contrasted with the handful of courses integrating service-learning into the curriculum when she began, there are now more than 70 courses and, similarly, contrasted with the half dozen professors involved in service-learning in 1997, there are now more than 80 professors using service-learning components in CMU courses. Dr. Shaefer Hinck’s courses have yielded numerous outcomes, including 1) an after-school science club in the local elementary school led by her students, 2) a cooperative exchange project involving her students, CMU, and a local residential village for court appointed youth, and 3) an applied research project done by her students on behalf of the local United Way chapter. CMU has recently committed to an inaugural Center for Academic Excellence, and Professor Shaefer Hinck has been asked to assist in the planning of this center as well as the nationwide search for its director. Frederic Waldstein, Ph.D. Irving R. Burling Chair in Leadership Professor of Political Science Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa Dr. Frederic Waldstein has served in a variety of leadership roles that have brought substantive change to Wartburg and its surrounding community. He was instrumental in mobilizing the Waverly community into developing a recycling program. He has served as president of the Waverly Chamber of Commerce — a role in which he successfully merged that organization with another local agency to create a more efficient and effective community infrastructure. He has also served as a member of Humanities Iowa and the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, and he currently serves as first vice-chair of the American Association of State Service Commissions. Says Wartburg President Jack Ole, ‘the common theme in all his work is the need to support the value that ordinary citizens can add to our civil society.’ Dr. Waldstein has been instrumental in helping to develop the Iowa Campus Compact, which should be ‘up and running’ by the end of this academic year. He teaches courses in leadership education, public policy analysis, and interdisciplinary courses that stress civic engagement and participatory democracy. His current research interests pertain to the development of new educational paradigms to foster critical thinking and service-learning skills intended to encourage life-long learning.