Campus: CSU Fullerton -- June 04, 2003

Cal State Fullerton Extends Its Student-Learning Reach to Cambodia

Community service by students is the focus of a partnership between Cal State Fullerton and Paññäsastra University of Cambodia.

CSUF President Milton A. Gordon and the Kol Pheng, president of Paññäsastra University, signed an agreement to establish a Center for Community Service Learning at Paññäsastra University, and $124,419 from the United States Agency for International Development is supporting the partnership effort.

Additionally, both universities have agreed to provide matching resources to further the effort. Plans include sending Cal State Fullerton faculty, staff and students to Cambodia as part of the cooperative exchange.

This month and through June 4, the university is hosting a delegation of Cambodian students, faculty and staff members so that the universities can begin their service-learning collaboration.

"It's certainly part of Extended Education's mission to have an international outlook," said Harry Norman, dean of university extended education and co-director of the project.

Joining him in directing the effort is Jeannie Kim-Han, director of the university's Center for Community Service-Learning. Kari Knutson-Miller, assistant professor of child and adolescent studies, is the project's service-learning faculty consultant, and Erika Randall, director of community service learning for the California State University, is a project consultant.

"We have particularly focused on working with Southeast Asian countries because of the university's strong connection with the local Asian community, as well as our own Cambodian student population," said Norman, who noted campus ties. CSUF computer science alumnus Srey Sareth is a faculty member at Paññäsastra University, and business administration alumnus Nuth N. Douen is the secretary of state for Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism.

Cal State Fullerton's plan is to train Paññäsastra faculty members to incorporate community service learning into academic course work. Students would earn credit for learning from their community service as part of academic course work.

According to Kim-Han the mission of this joint effort is to:

  • Meet community needs, such as AIDS/HIV education and healthcare; increase literacy and promote education; and educate and advocate on issues of human rights.

  • Instill better understanding of civic education and responsibility among participating students by providing opportunities to serve and participate in governance and community.
"The California State University system is recognized as a leader in the development, implementation and growth of service-learning pedagogy, research and evaluation," said Randall. "Cal State Fullerton has one of the most developed and advanced service-learning programs of the 23 campuses in the system," she added. "The staff and faculty of the CSU Chancellor's Office of Community Service Learning and CSUF's Center for CSL will provide the expertise needed to establish a high quality Center for Community Service Learning at Paññäsastra University of Cambodia.

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