How ISU faculty prioritizes service-learning through coursework

At Indiana State University, experiential learning is a top priority for students. With that in mind and the understanding that lessons are as valuable outside the classroom as inside, some educators are looking at ways to make their lesson plans more interactive.

In 2022, the Center for Community Engagement and the Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence restarted the Service-Learning Faculty Learning Community (SLFLC) in the post-pandemic era. This program helps faculty develop service-learning opportunities within the courses taught at Indiana State University.

Dr. Nancy Rogers, Vice President of University Engagement, “Service-learning is a great teaching tool for improving learning and having a positive impact in the community.  Our goal for the Service-Learning Faculty Learning Community is to help faculty develop the best possible service-learning experience – whether they are incorporating service-learning for the first time or have been doing it for many years.  I think the interdisciplinary interaction between the faculty participants is especially beneficial.”

Below is a list of faculty members who completed the SLFLC and facilitated a service-learning project in an ISU course.

Julie Dixon, Theatre, Arts & Sciences. Community Partner: Rural Health Innovation Collaborative Simulation Center.

Through THTR 484: Advanced Acting Techniques I: Characterization, students became standardized patients for the RHIC’s Simulation Center. Standardized patients act in roles that portray a health condition in an educational environment. Thus, they complement a health professional’s educational experiences. 

Brendan Corcoran, English/Arts and Sciences. Community Partner: ReThink, Inc., Kindred Roots Farm, and Earthlings.

In ENG 338: Literature and Ideas: Climate Crisis, students focused on projects that reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, including plastic sorting, shredding, and up-cycling; garden bed preparations; and Earth Day Climate March preparations.

Namita Goswami, Multidisciplinary, Studies/Arts and Sciences. Community partner: ISU Community Garden & Sycamore Food Forest.

During PHIL 201: Ethics and the Good Life, local students focused on projects that addressed the community garden’s needs. These include: weeding, planting, and tending; interacting with garden members and their families of diverse ages, ethnicities, professional training, incomes, and educational backgrounds; assisting with garden events, including preparing food pantry deliveries of fresh vegetables, herbs, and greens; inculcating neighborliness, physical and mental wellbeing, and appreciation of nature; fostering creativity, mindfulness, and healthy food habits.

JoEllen Henson, Social Work/ Health and Human Services. Community partners: Susie’s Place, Terre Haute Pride Center, Ryves Hall Community Center, Vigo County Juvenile Detention Center. 

In SOWK 130: Introduction to the Fields of Social Welfare, students facilitated various activities appropriate to the community partner. For example, at the Ryves Hall Community Center, they facilitated group games, reading, and homework assistance for school-aged children.

4-minute video demonstrates more about this project’s outcomes.