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Faculty Forum Puts Spotlight on Service Learning

1/14/2009 —

Dr. Mary Hutchinson, assistant professor in ESL education, will be the featured speaker for the next Faculty Forum session at 12:30 p.m. on January 21, 2009 in the Atrium at the Lehigh Valley campus.  Hutchinson will present " Service-Learning: Impacting the Personal and Academic Development of College Students."  The event is free and open to the public.

"Service-learning is defined as 'a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development.'[1] At the heart of this pedagogy is the idea that meaningful community service can provide the kinds of 'deep learning' that faculty want students to take away from their courses," says Hutchinson.  "However, service-learning is much more than just an internship or an assignment; it is an integrated approach that connects classroom instruction with real-world application through structured engagement. As a result, service-learning can have a tremendous impact on the personal and academic growth of students."

For the past six years, Dr. Hutchinson has been active in examining community outreach and engagement, an issue at the forefront of higher education and change. This discussion will provide an overview of service-learning and will focus on research (both Hutchinson's and other scholars') about the impact of this pedagogy on students. In addition, former students who have taken service-learning courses will be present to provide their own views of participating in this innovative curriculum.

Dr. Mary Hutchinson is an assistant professor in ESL Education at Penn State Lehigh Valley and has published and presented as an outreach scholar. Her research explores the theoretical implications of service-learning and the impact of this pedagogy on students’ academic and personal development. Dr. Hutchinson has taught a variety of courses in writing, teaching ESL, applied linguistics and community-building, and is the former Director of a federally-funded National Writing Project Program. She is currently the Program Coordinator for Elementary Education. 

For more information, please contact the University Relations Office at 610-285-5067.

[1] Jacoby, B., and Associates, eds. (1996).  Service-learning in higher education: Concepts and practices. San   

   Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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