November 15, 2006 Your Monthly Source of Community Service-Learning News VOL. 4, NO. 3

Gerald Eisman   Richard Berrett

OCSL's Present and Future Faculty Service-Learning Scholars, Jerry Eisman of San Francisco State and Rich Berrett of CSU Fresno.


Reflections on Campus Compact's Celebration
by Richard Berrett

Chicago; the windy city. Hundreds of people sharing a commitment to civic engagement and service-learning gathered in this beautiful city to celebrate Campus Compact’s accomplishments during the last 20 years and to explore where we will go in the next 20.

Twelve CSU campuses received national awards from the Corporation for National and Community Service for their outstanding service to their communities. CSU Monterey Bay received one of the top six honors – the President’s Higher Education Community Service Award for General Community Service.

In the midst of noted speakers, that which I appreciated the most was the opportunity to gather in small groups and explore the future. Several ideas emerged that hold great potential:

Interdisciplinary problem-focused curriculum that examines issues throughout one's lifespan;

The importance of fostering the citizen critic; and

A plethora of strategies for embedding engagement in higher education

These conversations inspired the idea of bringing together CSU representatives to engage in similar small group discussions around the 21 critical questions presented during the thematic roundtable discussions.

I left the conference happy for our system, pleased that we have a number of award winners, appreciative of the coordination, inspiration, and support the Chancellor’s Office offers, and hopeful we can participate in visioning a magnificent next 20 years for the CSU system.


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Ten CSU faculty presented at this year's International Conference on Service-Learning Research. The research topics ranged from the impact of service learning on youth and students to pre-service teacher outcomes to the improvement of health communication skills for students.

 

Resource

Engaging Departments: Moving Faculty Culture From Private to Public, Individual to Collective Focus for the Common Good by Kevin Kecskes (editor)

This comprehensive resource provides case studies from 11 departments, including the Psychology and Counseling department at CSU Northridge, and proven strategies at the institutional and systemwide levels for encouraging engagement at the department level.

 

 

NEWS STORIES
Ruminations of the Past and Contemplations of the Future

As 2006 slowly winds down and a new year of possibilities shines high on the horizon, two of CSL's faculty scholars reflect on the power of collaboration and change.


Final Reflection for Impact: The Power of Collective Work
by Gerald Eisman

After 2 Ĺ years as the first CSU Service-Learning Faculty Scholar, I will soon be returning to my home campus, San Francisco State. I will be the Acting Director of SFSUís Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, and I am thrilled to be able to continue this work albeit at a more local level. My, how time flies.

This transition provides a good opportunity for a brief reflection on what I have found to be the most rewarding aspects of working in the capacity of Scholar at the Chancellorís Office. Without question the most important lesson I have learned is the power of collective work. By this I am referring to the synergy that arises when we pool our resources across the CSU.

Sometimes working at the CO can feel a little removed and a little bureaucratic, tracking the progress of programs across campuses and over time. But more often, the work we do surrounds an initiative to take things into a new direction or to make existing programs better. And when we put the word out to our colleagues at the campus service-learning offices and to our service-learning practitioners, thatís when the real magic occurs!

Across the CSU there is a myriad of exemplary service-learning projects that are playing significant roles in addressing critical issues- increasing access to higher education for underserved groups or producing more math and science teachers or addressing the growing level of obesity or preparing for natural disasters. Individual campuses have their own distinction, and yet by pulling these together we create visibility to the collective effort that exceeds the sum of the individual parts Ė synergy at its best. And from this can come grant proposals, publicity, conferences, monographs, and more.

In my role, I have tapped into this collective resource many times. When I visit campuses to talk about service learning with faculty, I will pepper my presentations with examples from around the CSU. Just last week at CSU Los Angeles I found myself telling Sociology faculty about a community survey program at Sacramento, Kinesiology faculty about an after school exercise program at Fullerton, Philosophy faculty about a program with terminally-ill patients in San Francisco, and so on. The lesson is that though sometimes we may feel that we labor in isolation on our campus or in our department, that if we look around at what is going on systemwide, itís often an entirely different story, one of great potential to make a difference for the communities that we serve.

In January, my good colleague and friend from CSU Fresno, Dr. Richard Berrett, will become the next Faculty Scholar. Rich shares our passion for this work and brings tremendous skills at working with groups so that they are better at engaging with each other. I am sure that he too will utilize our SL network to give greater visibility to our collective work.

As for me, I am heading home, taking with me an extensive email list of faculty around the CSU doing good work. Itís my greatest treasure!


CSU Research Conference

Registration is now open for the 2nd Annual Conference on Community-Based Teaching and Research, which will be held February 23-24, 2007, at The St. Claire Hotel in San Jose. Faculty research presentations and pre-conference workshops will examine this year’s theme, Diversity in California.

Some highlights of the conference:

  • The first day of the conference will include four skill-building workshops in parallel.

  • The keynote address will be delivered by Roberto Ibarra, author of Beyond Affirmative Action: Reframing the Context of Higher Education, who will speak on, Context Diversity: A New Paradigm for Higher Education and Beyond?

  • On the second day, more than 60 CSU faculty and partners will present research on engaged pedagogies, community impacts, and research methods.

With nearly 200 CSU faculty expected to attend the conference will be an excellent opportunity for professional development and networking.

 
Questions?For ideas, comments, or questions
about editorial content, e-mail Season Eckardt at seckardt@calstate.edu.

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