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Wayne State College Recognized On President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll For 5th Consecutive Year

Published Friday, September 30th, 2016

WSC's Service-Learning is one of only six higher education institutions in Nebraska to be named to the Honor Roll in any category.

Service-LearningWayne State College has been recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fifth consecutive year and is one of only six higher education institutions in Nebraska to be named to the Honor Roll in any category.

“Our Service-Learning program at Wayne State College began applying for this award in 2011. Being recognized as one of the more than 650 colleges and universities from across the U.S. named to the annual Honor Roll is a wonderful validation for the Service-Learning program. Wayne State College has been placed among other exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs for this highest federal honor,” said Lisa Nelson, Service-Learning director. "Please join me in applauding all of the students, faculty, and community partners who made it possible for WSC to be named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll."

Wayne State College has been named in the general community service category by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education, which honors the nation's leading colleges and universities, students, faculty members and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through community service and Service-Learning efforts. 

“None of this would be possible without the support of the administration.  We have been very fortunate at WSC to have a leadership team that instills the culture of service and is diligent to ensure that WSC’s mission is fulfilled,’’ Nelson said. “It may be important to note that the application reports information that is an academic year behind. This award is an accounting of Service-Learning projects for 2013-2014. An average of more than 500 students participate in Service-Learning projects each semester at WSC. Narrowing down three examples to complete the Honor Roll application is difficult, but it is a great problem to have.”

Wayne State College had nearly 967 students work on community projects under the direction of faculty members for more than 11,500 hours during 2013-2014.

“I have really appreciated the support for Service-Learning at Wayne State that I have experienced since I became a professor here in 2005. Each year I have delighted in the experiences that members of my early childhood education classes gain as they complete early learning projects with young children in the local area through the Service-Learning program,’’ Dr. Pam Langlie-Willers said. “The Service -Learning projects really allow my students to put the concepts they learn in the college classroom into practice and these experiences also help them decide upon their career pathways. This award represents the exemplary effort that Wayne State instructors devote to bringing learning into action with the community around us and I am happy to be contributing to that effort.”

Service-Learning projects in Business Communication and Ethics with Dr. Laura Dendinger; Literacy Assessments with Instructor Liesel Powicki; and Introduction to Early Childhood with Dr. Pam Langlie-Willers were used as examples of Wayne State College’s engagement for the Honor Roll application. These projects involved 449 students completing 4,959 hours of service. Business and literacy courses have Service-Learning projects within both semesters.

"Naturally, it is very rewarding to have the Service-Learning program recognized, but the students, faculty members, and community partners are the real champions,'' Nelson said. "For the last decade, Dr. Laura Dendinger has offered Service-Learning projects each semester for her students. Consistent and dedicated work by faculty in these situations ensures an enhanced learning atmosphere for students while simultaneously meeting a need in the community through meaningful service. Faculty participating in Service-Learning projects are perfect examples of the active culture of service on our campus."

The Service-Learning program promotes, mobilizes, and supports the efforts of WSC, united in strengthening academic and co-curricular programs through Service-Learning in Northeast Nebraska, the state and the nation. Service-Learning also plays an important role in engaging and retaining Wayne State students.

“Working on service-learning projects with my students provides a shared, continuing example to demonstrate communication concepts,’’ Dendinger said. “The students like to meet the community partners and they love that their work will serve the community. Service-learning is a great tool to join our traditional undergraduate students in work with our online MBA students. Our students have enjoyed the connection between a business person's obligation of environmental stewardship and working with the Wayne Green Team to enhance their work in Wayne and on campus.” 

The Wayne Green Team is a group of community volunteers focused on minimizing waste and increasing sustainable behavior throughout the Wayne, Neb. Community. The group has planned public events educating people on how and what to recycle, teaching Green lessons to elementary school students, and helping college students donate their household items instead of dumping them. The team also works to obtain grants to help fund projects, such as hosting e-waste collection events or buying recycling equipment.

Criteria set by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education for selection to the Honor Roll was based on a series of factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

"An in-depth application is required for this recognition. The WSC Service-Learning Advisory Committee members and I selected projects and photos as examples, calculated statistics, and completed the application for the deadline,'' Nelson said. “Excellent work is planned, organized, completed, and evaluated by faculty members who are deeply committed to enhanced learning strategies and regional service, dedicated students with a wide variety of skills, and collaborative community partners who are valuable co-educators on each Service-Learning project.  I have the honor of working with them all and reporting on their exemplary accomplishments.’’

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. 

For more information, visit: nationalservice.gov/special-initiatives/honor-roll or wsc.edu/service_learning.

(In the photo above, one Service-Learning effort by Wayne State College students involved WSC student Haley Moore of Milford helping Damaris Gonzalez Rizo of Wayne and other young students last fall during a project at Wayne Head Start, a comprehensive preschool program that serves children ages 3 to 5 and their families. Moore and other WSC students participated under the direction of Dr. Pam Langlie-Willers through the Introduction to Early Childhood Education class.)