While a junior at HPU, Ben Oxenberg founded “Big Man on Campus” at Johnson Street Global Studies in High Point, a male mentoring program dedicated to providing boys in fifth through eighth grade with a positive male role model and the opportunity to hold themselves to a higher standard. The program came to Johnson Street through the support of the intern principal at the school, who expressed a need for a mentoring program to Ben’s service learning professor, Dr. Sarah Vess. The Service Learning Program introduces students to service in hopes that they will start their own initiatives, which Ben certainly did. “I want the boys to know that good things come to good people,” Ben says making sure to highlight that the program is based on an incentive system rather than a punishment model.
Promoting Service Learning
The Service Learning (SL) Program engages students in a rigorous and interdisciplinary learning experience that promotes their understanding of and commitment to responsible civic leadership. It intentionally aligns and integrates a course’s academic objectives with meaningful community service so the academic goals drive the service and the service enhances the academic goals. SL courses especially emphasize the ethical dimension of the subject matter and the subject’s relevance to the students’ lives. The courses involve experiential opportunities that deepen students’ academic learning while benefiting the community, with the aim of developing greater understanding across cultural, racial, and economic barriers. Such learning experiences prepare students to succeed in a dynamic economy and a diverse global community.
The mission of the Service Learning Program at High Point University is to engage students in experiential and interdisciplinary learning that promotes their understanding of responsible civic leadership and their commitment to it.
School of Education—Four Service Learning Courses
Within High Point University’s School of Education, four service learning courses are now offered at the sophomore, junior and senior levels. Each course has its own service learning setting and intended outcomes although all courses focus on service in P-12 schools.
HED 1200: Nutrition and Healthy Living: Students will work with a local day care to gain an understanding of the importance of teaching healthy lifestyle choices to children. Students will be able to gain a comprehension and appreciation of the complex issues, the need to teach healthy food choices to children and parents.
EDU 3230: Reading Assessment and Instruction: Candidates serve as reading tutors for elementary-aged students. Candidates apply course content by assessing a K-5 Learner’s literacy development, designing and implementing individualized instruction based on the assessments.
EDU 3100: Collaboration in General Education: Candidates analyze current descriptive school information for the school in which they have been placed for Internship I and Internship- II in order to develop a profile of the school.
EDU 4200: Multicultural Education in a Diverse Society: Candidates examine the diversity found in today’s school community by exploring the multicultural nature of contemporary classrooms in order to gain a better understanding of those learners’ behavior in relation to mores of a public school education. Service work includes a Minority experience and a cultural clinical experience through a Guilford County School Partnership. Candidates will serve alongside a teacher in a Guilford County School (or other predetermined school) observing, asking questions, and partnering with appropriate instructional activities. The purpose of these service learning exercises is to understand other cultures/races, experience, as closely as possible, what minority students experience and to take these experiences into account when teaching minority students.