Campus News

Service-Learning Fellows selected

Service Learning Fellows
Nineteen faculty members

The Office of Service-Learning has selected 19 faculty members to participate in its yearlong Service-Learning Fellows program. It is the largest group in the program’s 10-year history.

The Service-Learning Fellows program provides an opportunity for faculty members from a range of disciplines to integrate academic service-learning into their teaching.

Fellows meet regularly throughout the academic year and receive an award of up to $2,500 to develop a proposed service-learning project. Academic service-learning 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 mutual benefit to the community. Nearly 100 faculty have participated in the program since it was established in 2006, creating service-learning courses in all 17 of UGA’s schools and colleges.

The 2015-16 Service-Learning Fellows, their respective academic fields and proposed projects are:

Lisa Bazzle, clinical instructor, small animal medicine and surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine. Bazzle plans to start a student-managed pet clinic to allow veterinary students to develop and refine their clinical skills while engaging with community pet owners whose companion animals might otherwise not be served.

Abigail Borron, assistant professor, agricultural leadership and communication, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Borron is developing courses focused on culture-centered communication for a service-learning study-abroad program in Romania as well as supporting the work of Athens-area food pantries.

Peggy Brickman, professor, plant biology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Brickman will integrate project oriented service-learning into an introductory Honors biology course, helping students develop and disseminate science content knowledge and literacy with the community.

Scott Connelly, assistant professor, Odum School of Ecology. Connelly plans to develop service-learning opportunities to better engage students in large introductory ecology and environmental sciences courses, including through the new Watershed UGA initiative.

Cheryl Fields-Smith, associate professor, educational theory and practice, College of Education. Fields-Smith will develop a service-learning course in education focused on emancipatory and place-based pedagogy for both UGA students and Athens-area children and families modeled after historical “Freedom Schools.”

Laurie Fowler, associate dean, Odum School of Ecology, and clinical faculty, School of Law. Fowler is leading the development and implementation of a multidisciplinary initiative, Watershed UGA, that uses campus streams as a tool for engaging students with service-learning, undergraduate research and core content knowledge.

Leslie Gordon, associate director, Office of Academic Planning, and adjunct assistant professor, Romance languages, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Gordon will integrate a service-learning component into a course on Spanish linguistics, helping students to better understand issues of language variation through engagement with local Latino populations.

Katie Darby Hein, assistant professor, health promotion and behavior, College of Public Health. Health promotion students in two of Hein’s courses will develop skills in community health assessment by undertaking needs assessments with local community organizations as service-learning case studies.

Meg Easom Hines, lecturer, educational psychology, College of Education. Hines is developing a new course on creative thinking and creative problem-solving to engage her students with teaching, learning and implementing enriched experiences with H.B. Stroud Elementary School students in north Athens.

Alice Kinman, lecturer, economics, Terry College of Business. Kinman will create a service-learning option for economics majors working on their senior theses, involving them with undergraduate research on education economics in conjunction with the Clarke County School District.

Theodore “T.J.” Kopcha, assistant professor, career and information studies, College of Education. Kopcha is building on prior work as a public service and outreach fellow to have his master’s students in instructional technology develop and implement content and materials for hands-on STEM activities for upper elementary students in Hart County.

Juan Meng, assistant professor, advertising and public relations, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Students in Meng’s public relations campaigns classes will use research, communication and media skills to help community partners reduce summer hunger among Athens-area schoolchildren.

Svoboda “Bodie” Pennisi, professor, horticulture, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences-Griffin campus. Pennisi will develop a service-learning course for the Griffin campus to engage students in water quality and conservation efforts with the Spalding County community.

Nancee Reeves, lecturer, English, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Reeves is redeveloping a service-learning based, first-year composition course helping students to think critically and write effectively, with a focus on local animal rescue and well-being.

Jerry Shannon, assistant professor, geography and family and consumer science, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Shannon is integrating community-engaged research with geospatial technologies to create a community geographic information services course that also will benefit local governmental and nonprofit agencies.

Jennifer Jo Thompson, assistant research scientist, crop and soil sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Thompson is developing a new split-level course focused on community-based research, enhancing students’ understanding of the methodology through applied engagement with community issues relating to food, agricultural and environmental systems.

Susanne Ullrich, associate professor, physics and astronomy, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Students in Ullrich’s new service-learning course will implement “science shows” that incorporate compelling demonstrations of science to help explain and interest middle and high school students in physics.

Brandy Walker, public service assistant, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. Walker plans to engage students in interviewing and collecting digital oral histories of local community leaders across the state.

Elizabeth Watts Warren, lecturer, sociology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences-Griffin campus. Warren’s students will apply their understanding of sociology and criminal justice course content to research, identify and implement effective programs with local community partners, focusing on keeping at-risk adolescents in school and out of the justice system.

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.

For more information on the Service-Learning Fellows program, visit