Purdue ad hoc Task Force on Citizenship Education

 

 Purdue Campus Compact      

 

 UNIVERSITIES AS CITIZENS - PURDUE UNIVERSITY

 

 

 A newsletter about service learning and campus-community collaboration

 

Volume 3, Number 6 

 

 

 

 June 2001 

Progress on Engagement through Citizenship Education:

The Academic Reinvestment Fund awarded recurrent funding support to two projects, "Service Learning Graduate Support" and "A Proposal for Maintaining Key Infrastructure for Service Learning and Related Initiatives." Both projects were under the name of the Task Force chair, and guarantee continued operation of the Task Force and of the Boiler Volunteer Network at current levels.

As discussed in his June 6 WBAA radio broadcast with Mayor Sonya Margerum, President Jischke has appointed a Community Issues Team for Purdue University to work alongside a similar team from West Lafayette. These Community Issue teams will seek to implement recommendations of the prior Community Issues Study Committee. In his radio address, President Jischke stressed the value of service learning as a vehicle to link campus and community, and noted how service learning can fit closely with focuses on leadership and engagement.

The 2001-2002 class of Service Learning Ambassadors was selected in April 2001. Training and orientation will begin in August. It is expected that several of the Ambassadors will work with Mgmt 190S in Fall 2001, when the "Introduction to Service Learning" course will be offered to close to fifty freshmen in the Leadership and Service Learning Scholars learning community. It is also planned to build connections with several school-based Ambassador programs, so that the latter have information about service learning and learning community opportunities in their contacts with prospective freshmen.

The Boiler Volunteer Network has received Indiana Campus Compact funding for an Indiana Reading Corps site at Purdue University. The BVN is currently seeking an individual to be an AmeriCorps overseer of the IRC program. That individual would train student volunteers to work with children in Purdue Village and at Linnwood School, using a reading program approved by the IRC.

John Pomery, Task Force chair, led a component on service learning for a Learning Community Instructors’ Workshop of the Purdue Lilly Endowment Retention Initiative. Each learning community team of instructors has been encouraged to identify a point person in the team who will be the service learning contact for the team. Task Force assistants, and the BVN, will assist instructional teams in identifying service opportunities and agencies.

 

Activity in relation to the anticipated HUD Community Outreach Partnership Center has been extensive:

By early May, the steering committee for the COPC proposal had concluded that a sound proposal could not be completed for the June 1, 2001 deadline. (This is not unusual. It was learned that the IUPUI COPC proposal took almost a year to pull together, despite focusing on a single neighborhood that already possessed a clear-cut strategic plan.) Apart from issues of moving from "interest" to "commitment" on the part of various stakeholders, and of finding time to create and flesh out a well-crafted proposal, there were also concerns about evidence of institutional support. The provision of recurrent funding through the Academic Reinvestment Fund support, and the potential role for service learning within the context of Purdue University-West Lafayette collaboration, go a long way to meeting this last set of concerns, and a strong proposal for 2002 is anticipated.

The steering committee for the COPC proposal also felt it made excellent sense to expand the geographic scope of the COPC to include the New Chauncey Neighborhood as well as the Lafayette Urban Enterprise Zone. Furthermore, by linking these two areas through the Levee – another area that, by virtue of its high density of student residents, is technically a low- to moderate-income part of the community – this would provide a "hilltop-to-hilltop" view of the served community (in accord with the language of Vision 2020). The steering committee also felt it important that adding areas of West Lafayette should not in any way diminish the importance of activities within the Lafayette Urban Enterprise Zone. Some activities envisaged for the COPC for LUEA have the potential to expand to cover New Chauncey, while in other respects the areas have different characteristics, different needs, and might require different programs.

Task Force representatives met with the Mayor of West Lafayette, and members of the City Development Office and of New Chauncey Neighborhood, to open dialogue on possible COPC activities. In general it appears that, in the context of Community Issues, Purdue may be able to provide a mixture (according to circumstance) of student volunteer groups, dedicated class projects, and specialized expertise – with some, but not all, of these flowing through a COPC.

Members of the steering committee met with Amy Brantley, one-time Director of the Iowa State COPC in Des Moines. Concluded on back page

"Situating" Service Learning and Citizenship Education as Part of the Engaged Institution:

As the Task Force on Citizenship Education completes its fourth year of existence, it faces a number of challenges. Growing levels of activities, and of expectations, suggest a need: (1) to restructure the organization of the Task Force; and (2) to find a simple and appealing way to explain the multiple facets and priorities of this initiative, and how they relate to the notion of an engaged institution.

As campus advocates of service learning and related activities, the Task Force has standard organizational needs in terms of strategic planning, marketing, technical and resource provision, and day-to-day administrative functions. However, beyond that, the programmatic initiatives tend to fall into one or more of the following categories:

1. Community outreach;

2. Student involvement;

3. Curriculum innovation.

Community outreach includes, e.g., the proposed Community Outreach Partnership Center, and the Purdue University-West Lafayette Community Issues program.

Student involvement includes the Service Learning Ambassador Program, links with the Boiler Volunteer Network, the roles of the recently-formed Community Service Roundtable and of Students Assisting Volunteer Efforts, plus partnerships with participants in Community Action Days, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, et cetera. In addition it is found centrally in the growing collaboration between the Task Force and the Purdue Lilly Endowment Retention Initiative learning communities.

Curriculum innovation has started with the introduction of Mgmt 190S, "Introduction to Service Learning," both as an element of the Leadership and Service Learning Scholars’ learning community (Fall Semesters) and as an open-enrollment elective (Spring Semesters). Also all learning communities are expected to introduce elements of service learning over time. Additional possibilities include: the creation of needs-based learning communities; the emergence of an EPICS-style (team-structured) course in social issues; and the formation of a Citizen Leadership Studies Minor for juniors and seniors. There would also be room for greater collaboration among the many existing service learning courses on campus.

It has become increasingly clear that all three aspects of service learning and citizenship education, namely community outreach, student involvement, and curriculum innovation, need to be kept "in play" simultaneously. Any proposal or project that emphasizes just one of the three threatens to create a very imbalanced picture of engagement.

Given that the Task Force focus on service learning tends to emphasize certain forms of outreach and certain academic means of facilitating outreach and involvement, it may not capture all the aspects of a fully-engaged campus. However it captures enough for us to understand how service learning can be viewed as an example of engagement, and how an engaged institution might differ from a more traditional institution of higher education with a near-exclusive focus on research as an end in itself.

Start with four different values, or points of emphasis, that might be found in a traditional (land-grant) institution such as Purdue University. These are:

1. a value on relationships;

2. a value on student experience;

3. a value on functional expertise;

4. a value on academic and /or professional rigor.

[Each of these values loosely correlates with one of the four major personality types found in the work of Myers and Briggs, or Keirsey, in turn coming from a Jungian tradition.]

The relational direction fits with the Myers-Briggs’ NF, and is captured in part or all of the mission of units such as the Office of the Dean of Students (and their oversight of student organizations and groups), the Office of the Vice President for University Relations, and the Community Issues Team.

The experiential direction, linked to the Myers-Briggs’ SP, focuses on the value of students as self-realizing individuals, and on providing a satisfying and stimulating college experience for students "as customers." This is an area of considerable concern for Student Services, University Residences, the Retention Initiative, and (for example) the Boiler Volunteer Network.

The practical dimension, linked to the Myers-Briggs’ SJ, is found in the mission of units such as the Cooperative Extension Service or the Technical Assistance Program, each providing functional expertise to constituencies in the state.

The academic/professional direction, linked to the Myers-Briggs’ NT, is exemplified on the research side by, for example, the Office of the Vice President for Research and on the student side by the Center for Career Opportunities.

In a traditional, or perhaps stereotypical, large research-intensive institution, many of these roles have been kept largely separate, with significant boundaries between (for example) Academic Affairs, Student Services, and the Cooperative Extension Service.

In an engaged institution, it seems essential that boundaries have to be much more porous. In an engaged institution:

a. Research is not fully separable from teaching or outreach;

b. Students become learners with differing learning styles, with the capability to learn outside the classroom; and with lives and experiences that extend well beyond the classroom and impact how they make sense of classroom material;

c. Community links are not "one-way," but are genuine partnerships;

d. There is an emphasis on everyone involved as potential co-learners and co-teachers;

e. Experience of different settings (across disciplines or across socioeconomic or cultural groups) is viewed not as a distraction but as a valuable learning experience;

f. Lifetime learning capability, access to higher education, leadership, teamwork, critical and reflective thinking, exposure to different contexts and cultures, self awareness, ethical concern for others – these all become important values going beyond a capability to assimilate theoretical and conceptual information in a classroom setting.

All this suggests that the engaged institution will co-mingle practical, experiential, partnership and academic or professional dimensions, rather than keep them largely separate. This raises natural concerns about risks of diluting standards in any one of these dimensions, and points to a need for high standards of practice and evaluation, as well as for communication, in such an institution. But it may also present unparalleled opportunities for taking each of these dimensions to new levels.

Envisage the "relationship" (NF) direction pointing north, and the "academic/professional" (NT) dimension pointing south, while the "practical" direction (SJ) points west and the "experiential" (SP) direction points east, in the form of a cross. As noted earlier, in a stereotypical large research-intensive institution, different roles tend to be met by different units of the university, acting in relative isolation.

In an engaged institution there should be a tendency (but not a universal requirement) to move towards the center of the diagram, and to make many of the activities and directions more interconnected.

Student experience no longer becomes the sole concern of the Office of Student Services or University Residences, but connects up with the academic curriculum through, for example, retention activities (learning communities, freshmen honors courses, first-year experience courses), service learning courses, and the like. Through service learning courses, Community Action Days, and other means, links are also created with the community.

Provision of practical expertise no longer is done almost exclusively through "experts" providing community constituencies with functional advice. Collaboration of extension agents, faculty members, and student groups (within academic classes or as co-curricular groups) can provide: a major expansion of campus resources available to community stakeholders; access to a vastly expanded set of disciplinary expertise for the Cooperative Extension Service (well beyond the traditional links with the Schools of Agriculture and of Consumer and Family Sciences); and a greatly enhanced college experience (both academically and holistically) for students.

Community relations no longer is a peripheral responsibility assigned to a "public-relations" and "image-tending" unit of the university, but also involves widespread, practical, partnership-oriented collaboration both with community groups and with academic units on campus.

Academic research and teaching is no longer simply a classroom, office, library or laboratory activity, but seeks ways to enhance student involvement and learning, and to find experiential applications beyond the classroom.

In all of this, and especially in the academic sphere, the maintenance of very high standards of scholarship is imperative. It may also require ongoing discussion of the purposes of higher education, the notion of scholarship, and of criteria that should be weighed in promotion and tenure or merit-reward decisions. Support for innovative activities is also important, whether that be facilitation of development of service learning courses or recognition of the value of such innovations and contributions by both administrators and colleagues.

One constraint often facing any program of engagement is the additional time and energy needed to create meaningful partnerships, ensure expertise is accessible to community partners, build a powerful learning experience for students, and maintain high standards of academic excellence. This may require both additional resources and imaginative use of previously untapped resources. Given ultimate faculty supervision and responsibility for courses, there can be significant potential for retirees, alumni, business or professional persons, graduate students, or even experienced undergraduates, to play a mentoring or supervisory role. Creating an engaged institution is likely to require a flexible and imaginative use of resources, where standards are high but practices are far from rigid.

How does all this fit with the "three areas" of community outreach, student involvement, and curriculum innovation, mentioned earlier? Take the envisaged diagram, with the four directions (partnership, experiential, practical, and academic/professional). Centrally located, place a large isosceles triangle so that its apex is on the "partnership" axis (well above the center of the diagram), and its horizontal base lies well down into the "academic/professional" axis and extends equally on both sides of this vertical axis.

This triangle then becomes a metaphor for the central location of (service learning as) engagement. The left-hand side of the triangle corresponds to a strong emphasis on engagement as community outreach. The right-hand side of the triangle corresponds to a strong emphasis on engagement as a vehicle to enhance student involvement and experience.

Continued on next page

Concluded from the previous page:

The base of the triangle represents an emphasis on engagement as a transformation of the academic curriculum (and more generally, with introducing concepts such as action-based research).

The claim here is that a well-formulated notion of engagement needs to be aware of all three facets of engagement, and to keep them "in play" simultaneously. An engaged institution will surely spend considerable time and resources "within the triangle," and encourage thoughtful interaction and innovation therein.

It is an exciting challenge to contemplate creating the infrastructure, mindset, and activities that would bring such a vision to fruition. But this is clearly an area where Purdue University can achieve a level of national excellence, while not sacrificing its traditional strengths and priorities as a research-intensive institution.

Concluded from page 1:

Amy, now resident in Indiana and working as a Lake County extension educator, has represented HUD at national COPC-related meetings, speaking on how to maintain strong relationships between COPC, campus and community.

Next steps for the COPC Initiative include creating an Advisory Board representing community, and especially neighborhood, interests, and then developing a focused set of projects and commitments. Much work remains to be done in the process of developing a well-thought-out and well-documented proposal, but the Task Force views a 2002 COPC proposal as one of its very highest priorities. The nature of the COPC program ensures that this would be an excellent starting point for a new level of engagement within the local (hilltop-to-hilltop) community.

The Task Force welcomes inquiries and suggestions about potential COPC-related partnerships and activities.

Derek Bok, outgoing President of Harvard University, sensed the inadequacies that were beginning to appear in the old social contract, and spoke of the need to connect the work of the university to a larger social mission. Bok’s final commencement address to Harvard University as President included the following remarks:

"It is vital that we all understand this role and recognize its significance fully. Unless society appreciates the contributions of its universities, it will continue to reduce them to the status of another interest group by gradually stripping away the protections and support that they need to stay preeminent in the world. Unless universities take their social responsibilities more seriously, they will never inspire their students with a purpose large enough to fill their lives with meaning. More important still, unless universities discharge their duties to society fully, they will fail to do everything they can to make this troubled planet a better, happier place."

suggested by Nick Popovich.

Task Force Contact information:

Task Force Chair, and Community Service Director: John Pomery, Krannert 547, 494-4515, pomeryj@mgmt.purdue.edu

Secretary: Brenda Allie, Krannert 544, 496-6912, ballie@mgmt.purdue.edu

Assistants: TFCE desk, Boiler Volunteer Network, Stewart Center G-4, 494-8864.

URL: http://www.mgmt.purdue.edu/centers/citizen_ed/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Task Force on Citizenship Education

1310 Krannert Building

Purdue University

W. Lafayette, IN 47907-1310