Several Belmont faculty and staff presented at the Gulf South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement in Louisville, Ky. on Feb. 27 through March 1.
Dr. Bonnie Riechert, associate professor and chairman of the Department of Public Relations, presented “Begin by Listening: Bringing Service-Learning to the Classroom in Public Relations Campaigns.” Service-learning “learning by doing” may be implemented in a number of disciplines including public relations. Students majoring in public relations at Belmont University take Campaigns as their capstone course in the PR major. In this service-learning class, students work in teams of three to seven members and collaborate to research, plan implement, and evaluate a public relations campaign on behalf of a local client organization. Students “begin by listening” to the client organization’s situation and priorities.
- Dr. Bernard Turner, assistant professor and director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, presented “Utilizing Service-Learning as an Effective Pedagogy for teaching Social Entrepreneurship.” Experiential learning is integrated throughout the undergraduate social entrepreneurship curriculum. Turner was a teaching fellow for three years on a collaborative grant with Wagner College funded by The Teagle Foundation. The grant was “Learning by Doing: Assessing the Relationship between Liberal Learning and Experiential Learning.” Lessons learned as well as conclusions from the resulting case study will be presented. The data collected answered the question, “Is service-learning an effective pedagogy for teaching social entrepreneurship?”
- Dr. Sammy V. Swor, director of the Homework Hotline at Belmont University, Nashville Homework Hotline Executive Director Wendy Kurland and Service-Learning Director Tim Stewart presented “Getting it together: A Tutoring Partnership that Works for College Students and the Community.” Community Service can benefit all participants. When Homework Hotline, a free telephone tutoring program was overwhelmed with demand, Belmont University stepped up to meet the need. This partnership demonstrates that everyone benefits: K-12 students from all of Tennessee, Homework Hotline, Belmont University and University students. This panel presentation provided lessons learned and guidance when establishing a community/university partnership.
- Dr. Amy Hodges Hamilton, associate professor of English, and Dr. Sarah Blomeley, assistant professor of English, presented “Service Learning and the Democratic English Major.” Belmont University’s mission statement concludes with the clause that students should leave the university with the abilities to “engage and transform the world.” English majors are required to complete at least two experiential learning courses for graduation. In this presentation, they examined the effectiveness of courses where students are connected with service learning initiatives and analyze how the engagement leads students to become more democratic, civic-minded writers and thinkers.
In addition, Dr. Jason Lovvorn, Dr. Linda Holt and Dr. Charmion Gustke from the Department of English, will present “This Isn’t Your Mother’s English Class: Using Service-Learning Experiences To Improve Writing in the Composition Classroom” at the Tennessee Conference on Volunteerism and Service-Learning in Franklin, Tenn. from March 3 through 5.