Wayne State College
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Service-Learning Efforts Net Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

Published Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Wayne State is pleased to announce that the college was again included in the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Wayne State is pleased to announce that the college was again included in the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Recipients are honored for their “exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs,” said Lisa Nelson, service-learning coordinator. "Please join me in applauding all of the students, faculty, and community partners who made it possible for WSC to be named for the second year to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll."

The Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education honored 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. Included among seven Nebraska colleges and universities earning the award, Wayne State College was named in the general community service category. The six other Nebraska schools included were College of St. Mary's, Methodist, University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO), Creighton, Doane and Hastings.

Wayne State had nearly 700 students work on 23 community projects under the direction of 29 faculty members serving 74 community partners for a total of 8,175 hours during the fall 2011 semester. The college has approximately 500 students participating in 20 spring semester projects, pushing the estimated hours of service for both semesters to about 14,000.

Service-Learning is in its 13th year at WSC. The program gives community members insight into the many positive aspects of the college and its students. Through a service-learning project, people see how the college is a valuable resource. The projects provide an avenue for important relationships to form between faculty members, business owners, non-profit organizational leaders, school teachers and community leaders.

"Being recognized as one of the 513 colleges and universities named to the annual Honor Roll is a wonderful validation for the Service-Learning program at WSC,” said Nelson. On average, more than 500 students participate in a Service-Learning project each semester at WSC, “so narrowing down three examples to complete the Honor Roll application is difficult, but it is a great problem to have.” This year Professors Jason Karsky, Keith Willis and Laura Dendinger completed projects with their students that served as Service-Learning program examples, instrumental to the Honor Roll application process.

"Naturally, as the Service-Learning Coordinator it is very rewarding to have the program recognized, but the students, faculty members, and community partners are the real champions,'' Nelson said. "For the last decade, Dr. Laura Dendinger and Dr. Keith Willis have guaranteed Service-Learning projects/and or placements each semester for their students. Their consistent and dedicated work ensuring an enhanced learning atmosphere for students while simultaneously meeting a need in the community through meaningful service is a perfect example of the active culture of service on our campus."

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.

"A fairly in-depth application is required, so the WSC Service-Learning Advisory Committee members and I selected projects and photos as examples, calculated statistics and completed the application by the December deadline,'' Nelson said.

Wayne State continues its long history of innovative student learning strategies and service to the region through membership in Campus Compact. The college helped establish the new state Campus Compact office in 2010. The Campus Compact is a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents - representing some 6 million students - who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. WSC President Curt Frye serves on the executive committee for the Nebraska Campus Compact and Nelson serves as the chair of the advisory committee.

The Wayne State Service-Learning program promotes, mobilizes, and supports the efforts of the college, 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.

For a full list of recipients and descriptions of their service, visit: http://myproject.nationalservice.gov/honorroll/Public/Documents/HR2012/2012HonorRollList_letter.pdf

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.