Faculty Development Grant Recipients
The Service Learning Program is excited to announce the following faculty and courses that have been approved by the Service Learning Committee to receive a Silvershein/Gutenstein Family Faculty Development Grant. The winning applications expand the reach of the Service Learning Program into the History, Sociology, and Interior Design majors, and deepen the current course offerings in English, Religion, Education, and Spanish. The third round of grants, like the first two, are underwritten by the Robert G. and Ellen S. Gutenstein Foundation, which remains committed to preparing faculty to offer exceptional student learning experiences that engage students in the community to form their ethical thinking and leadership abilities.
“Advanced Fiction Writing & Community” with Dr. Jacob Paul, Asst. Prof. of English
This course builds upon creative writing skills developed earlier in students’ coursework. The students will partner with community members through the HPU Community Writing Center to help the community members pursue intellectual, philosophical, and personal understanding through fictional narratives. As they do this, students will further develop their understanding of the ethical agency of voice and aesthetics, as well as the relationship between formal choices in narrative and identity, theme and agency.
“The History Detectives” with Prof. Paul Ringel, Assoc. Prof. of History
This course will expose the students to how historians pursue their craft and will allow them to work collaboratively to research interpret, and present their findings on a single historical problem – in this case the history of the furniture market in High Point. Students will undertake a series of oral history interviews with community members as part of the evidence-gathering process, partnering with organizations like the High Point Library or High Point Museum. They will construct a final project to share their findings, like an interactive website or museum display. In the midst of their research, students will discover the ethical and intellectual responsibilities of the public historian, including questions about whose voices do and should be part of the historical narratives consumed by the public. The primary learning objective of this class is to familiarize students with the practice of history as it is undertaken outside the classroom.
“Hispanic World Today” with Dr. Hayden Carron, Asst. Prof. of Spanish
This course will focus on the culture, current events, and society of the Spanish-speaking world today. The students will watch televised news broadcast in Spanish, read current articles from newspapers and magazines in Spanish and watch selected videos. Service completed in this course is designed to enhance students’ cultural knowledge of the Hispanic community in the US, particularly the challenges that this population faces in the Triad area. Students will confront ethical issues about rights, citizenship, immigration, and the responsibilities we bear to one another. Students will assist in the development of programing and projects with local Hispanic organizations such as The Center for New North Carolinians or the Latino Family Center.
“Nutrition & Healthy Living” with Prof. Rosemarie Tarara, Instructor of Health Education
This course places emphasis on current nutritional guidelines for various ages and groups, weight control, eating disorders, and nutritional fads. Students will be evaluated on the level of fitness and nutrition and will create a plan with obtainable goals to improve fitness and nutritional levels. Students will work with children in afterschool programs – like the Boys & Girls Club – to educate them on the importance of healthy eating and having an active lifestyle. The focus will be on making healthy choices – like being active – and understanding what these choices do for the body. Through this course students will study ethical questions about the origins and implications of food insecure households as well as investigate the implications of food deserts on nutrition.
“Literature & the Community: Narrative Medicine in Action” with Prof. Allison S. Walker, Instructor of English
Proponents of the field of “narrative medicine” believe that stories of illness and healing can better enable people to deal with the trauma of sickness, whether they are patients, healthcare providers, or observers. Effective care of the sick requires a sturdy bond of trust between doctors and patients, yet the current healthcare-industrial complex can often dehumanize suffering and desensitize healthcare professionals to the personal stories of their patients. Narrative medicine gives people a chance to heal themselves and others through the simple act of storytelling. This course focuses on close reading and analysis of literary texts, and it addresses the ethical questions raised by narrative medicine, like the implications of the dehumanization of healthcare or whether healthcare is a right or privilege. Students will volunteer their time at an assisted living community, like Westchester Manor, and reflect on their service through autobiographical writings that will enable students to recognize, absorb, interpret, and be moved by stories of illness.
“Reading Process and Practice” with Dr. Leslie M. Cavendish, Asst. Prof. of Education
This course is designed to evaluate a wide range of tools to assess reading skills in students. Students will use qualitative methods to help teachers (K-6) regularly assess their students’ interests, attitudes, and reading abilities. Students will plan, implement, and evaluate the reading assessment, and they will use the data in order to select, apply, and modify the teaching materials and strategies to support the young students best. Students will learn to plan the kind of individually appropriate instruction that is at heart of being an exemplary literacy educator. And they will address the ethical issues that arise through the study of literacy, like cultural bias in assessments, stereotypes of students, the use of culturally relevant pedagogies, and more. The students will work one-on-one with local elementary students at the HPU Community Writing Center.
“Sociology of the Family” with Dr. Paul Namaste, Asst. Prof. of Sociology
This course provides an introductory look at families from a sociological and feminist perspective. Students will learn how to develop what sociologists refer to as the sociological imagination, which helps students to critically analyze the family within the social context and influence of culture. They will work with community organizations to assist with services that have them directly interact with, support, and learn from members of the local community who either provide or utilize these services (possible partners include the YWCA and Family Service of the Piedmont). Students will confront ethical issues about what constitutes a family, public policies that affect families (like marriage, divorce, and parental rights laws), and how social differences are experienced and reproduced through the family. By the conclusion of the course, students will be able to explain how the family as a social institution has changed over time and the role of other social institutions in influencing those changes.
“Multicultural Education in a Diverse Society” with Dr. Beth Holder, Assoc. Prof. of Special Education
This course examines the diversity found in today’s school community. Students will witness the multicultural nature of contemporary classrooms and gain a better understanding of how different cultures relate to learning. The course will help students learn how to develop strategies to be successful in a diverse school environment, and students will tackle difficult ethical questions, like whether teachers should be “colorblind,” the responsibility of teachers to teach character, what it means to be a culturally competent educator, and more. By working in local community schools, students will be able to apply what they have learned and identify strategies to support families from diverse backgrounds. Students will also gain the ability to investigate the impact of differentiated instruction for the unique needs of diverse learners.
“Global Issues and the Built Environment” with Dr. Jane L. Nichols, Chair of Home Furnishings/Interior Design and Assoc. Prof. of Interior Design
In this course students will investigate cultures other than their own through a cross-cultural study of housing, housing options, and contemporary issues related to global housing. The community service will take place in the Caribbean, Central, or South America as students complete local construction projects to learn about housing. They will confront ethical issues of justice, equality, equity, and the competing needs of stakeholders. Civic responsibility will be emphasized and examined through the lens of “everything local is global” and “everything global is local.” Students will work in teams to investigate complex issues related to a given problem as well as propose innovative and culturally appropriate design solutions for current and future buildings. Finally, they will gain a sense of the importance of civic engagement and a knowledge of how to get involved, which will significantly influence the lives of others and lead to the students’ own transformation.
“Christian Social Ethics” with Prof. Thaddeus M. Ostrowski, Instructor of Religion
This class is an exploration of historical and contemporary Christian perspectives on what it means to live well in community and in relationship with God and others. Students will pay special attention to the sources of Christian social ethics and approaches and applications of these sources by various traditions. Service will take place at Ward Street Mission as students serve in the food closet, aid the clothing closet, serve meals, work with the Boys & Girls club, and/or work with the community garden. The service will help students articulate their own beliefs regarding issues of social ethics with respect to the major thinkers covered in the course. Students will also become keen and discerning analyzers of religious beliefs as social practices and structures. Most importantly, they will acquire a practiced familiarity with the Christian tradition of ethical deliberation about social issues, assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of these strands, and discuss social issues from the distinctive perspectives of the aforementioned strands.