Service Learning Awards
The Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility would like to congratulate the following University of Alabama faculty members, departments, and students for their commitment to service learning in the 2006-2007 school year.
Excellence in Departmental Service Learning:
This award is given to an academic department at UA that has demonstrated a sustained, outstanding commitment to service learning. The 2007 award goes to the Department of English, in the College of Arts & Sciences. Accepting the award is Patti White, chair of the department. Many faculty in the department teach or have taught valuable service-oriented courses; most recently, these professors include Ashley McWaters (EN 103: Honors Introduction to Writing), Rich Hamilton (EN 308: Spoken Word Poetry), and Justina Strong (EN 310: Writing For Good). In addition, Robin Behn directs the Creative Writing Club, a free after school club for Tuscaloosa area high school writers conducted by UA MFA in Creative Writing graduate students.
Innovative Service Learning Faculty:
This award is given to an innovative professor in honor of a newly designed or recently reconstructed course that exemplifies a commitment to thoughtful and creative service learning. The 2007 award is granted to Phillip and Pauline Johnson for her persistent efforts to integrate service learning into the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Through her “Study In Peruvian Amazon” interim course, engineering students had the opportunity to work with faculty and students from the Universidad de Iquitos, Peru, on community water and ecotourism projects. She has also worked to start a UA chapter of Engineering Students Without Borders, a student organization that focuses on carrying out collaborative engineering projects with needy communities worldwide. The UA chapter is engaged in engineering-related projects in both Iquitos, Peru, and in Hale County, Alabama.
Outstanding Service Learning Course:
This award is given to an exemplary service learning course that consistently exemplifies the principle that engagement with community is a central aspect of student learning. The 2007 award is given to BSC 482, Conservation Biology. In teaching this course, Dr. Leslie Rissler has consistently sought to establish innovative community partnerships to provide students hands-on experiences related to their coursework. Students in Dr. Rissler's Conservation Biology class have been involved in invasive species removal at the University of Alabama Arboretum, clean-up of trash and debris along the Cahaba River, water-watch certification and testing in collaboration with WaterWatch, and most recently, a dune-restoration project on the Gulf Coast.
Student Excellence in Service Learning:
This award is given to a student or students who demonstrate creativity, vision, and excellence in designing, implementing, and directing a service learning project. The 2007 award is given to Jason Oslin and Robert Jones, juniors in Computer Science, for their project to provide access to working computer lab facilities for students at the Sunshine School in Hale County. A Computer-Based Honors Program project under the direction of Dr. John O'Neal, Jason and Robert transitioned a storage room into a fully functioning computer lab, including identifying donors of new and used equipment, refurbishing and constructing working computers, and loading software and networking for Internet access. In addition, they developed and submitted a grant proposal to obtain funds to extend the lab's capabilities and the number of students served.