The Office of Service-Learning has selected eight University of Georgia faculty members for participation in its yearlong Service-Learning Fellows program. This program provides an opportunity for faculty members from a broad range of disciplines to integrate academic service-learning into their professional practice.
Fellows meet regularly throughout the academic year and receive an award of up to $2,500 to develop or implement a proposed service-learning project. Academic service-learning—one way for students to fulfill UGA’s experiential learning graduation requirement—integrates organized service activities that meet community-identified needs into academic courses as a way to enhance understanding of academic content, teach civic responsibility and provide benefit to the community.
Nearly 150 faculty from 16 of UGA’s schools and colleges, public service and outreach units, and the medical partnership have participated in the program since it was established in 2006. Participants create diverse service-learning projects that pair students with partners locally, across the state, or throughout the world to address community issues such as health access, youth development, food insecurity, economic development and literacy.
“Our faculty continue to partner strategically and successfully with communities, taking on important real-world challenges and enhancing student learning in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs,” said Paul Matthews, the associate director of the Office of Service-Learning.
The 2020-2021 Service-Learning Fellows, their respective academic fields and proposed projects are:
Sheri Dorn, public service associate, Department of Horticulture, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Dorn is creating an online 2000-level horticulture course that highlights the connections between plants, people and students’ disciplines, fostering both hands-on horticulture activity and awareness of its human dimension.
Rebecca (Becky) Hallman Martini, assistant professor and Writing Center director, Department of English, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
Hallman Martini is developing community-engaged activities and long-term partnerships (such as with College Factory and with the Athens-Clarke County Library’s teen services department) supported by the UGA Writing Center, including in a new course, “Writing Center Theory and Practice.”
Anna Rogers, lecturer, Department of Sociology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
Rogers is creating a new service-learning course in sociology that introduces students to how stereotypes and bias of marginalized groups in popular culture have impacted the verdicts of court cases, and engages students in giving back to marginalized communities in Athens.
Sarah Saint Hamilton, clinical assistant professor, Institute of Gerontology, College of Public Health
Saint Hamilton’s “Service-Learning with Older Adults” course will engage students in social interaction and connection experiences with socially isolated older adults, allowing students to expand their understanding of the diversity of lived experiences, challenges, strengths and opportunities present in older age.
Christine Scartz, clinical assistant professor, School of Law
Scartz’s undergraduate class explores the intersection of law and social justice in the United States, encouraging students to discern whether and how the law can be used to achieve change, with a focus on the potential of the law to impact individuals who don’t traditionally have equal access to the legal system. Students collaborate with a community partner to propose creative legal and non-legal strategic responses to real-world needs and concerns.
Rebecca Wells, clinical assistant professor, School of Social Work and Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health
Wells is incorporating student service-learning experiences with Georgia Options, a developmental disability service provider, for her “Disability and Social Work” course.
Caroline Young, lecturer, Department of English, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
Young is developing a new writing course, “Writing for Social Justice: The Prison Writing Project,” that explores connections between academic access and social equity through scholarly exchange and engagement with incarcerated students of Common Good Atlanta, a nonprofit prison education program.
Eric Zeemering, associate professor and MPA director, Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs
Zeemering plans to revise and expand service-learning practices in the “Local Government Practicum” course in the MPA program. In cooperation with the Georgia Municipal Association, MPA students complete a report or project for a municipal government in Georgia, applying skills from the MPA program.
The Office of Service-Learning is jointly supported by the Office of the Vice President for Instruction and the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. More information on the Service-Learning Fellows Program is available at the Office of Service-Learning’s website, www.servicelearning.uga.edu.