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Belmont, Conexión Américas Recognized for Service-Learning Collaboration

Conexión Américas and Belmont University received the Outstanding Service-Learning Collaboration in Higher Education Award at the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education held in Hattiesburg, Miss. on March 21 – 23.

Tara Lentz, from Conexión Américas, was at the conference to receive the award along with Belmont representatives, Tim Stewart, director of service-learning, and Dr. David C. Julseth, professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages. This award is given to a team of practitioners, faculty and community partners who have demonstrated success in achieving a mutually beneficial collaboration that has successfully addressed a genuine community need. Conexión Américas received a plaque in recognition of their accomplishments, and $500 monetary contribution.

Each fall semester, Julseth has worked with Tara Lentz to place his Advanced Spanish students in service-learning events sponsored by Conexión Américas in order to give them opportunities to put their Spanish language skills to meaningful practice in support of the Nashville Hispanic community.

Conexión Américas was founded in 2002 to address “the challenges and opportunities created by recent demographic changes in our region as an increasing number of Latino families come to Tennessee in search for a better quality of life.” It was co-founded by José González who served as Executive Director until joining the faculty of the College of Business Administration at Belmont University on a full-time basis. He continues to serve on the staff as the Finance Director while Vice-President of Spiritual Relations, Todd Lake, currently serves on the Board of Directors.

Julseth Presents on the Topics of Social Media and Service Learning
Julseth presented his case study from the Belmont/Wagner Teagle Project. The presentation on “Social Media and Service-Learning: Using Technology to Enhance Reflection and Communication” shared the results from his course last fall, SPA 3100 Advanced Spanish I, that included an integrated service-learning component and the use of Twitter to promote reflection and communication among students, the professor, and community partners. He and his co-presenter, Jeffrey Harding from the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education doctoral program, detailed the course and Twitter mechanics and discussed best practices for the uses of social media.

Several Belmont Faculty, Staff Attend Gulf Summit
Director of Community Relations Joyce Searcy coordinated the poster presentation “From Conflict to Collaboration: How One University Strengthened Its Relations with Its Neighbors.” English instructors Jason Lovvorn and Charmion Gustke presented “Transforming Voices Through Service-Learning: Personal Narrative, Community Partnership & Student Citizenship.”