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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

UNCP names first director for service learning

A sociology professor with a penchant for innovative teaching methods was named the first Director of Service-Learning  at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Michael SpiveyDr. Michael Spivey’s service learning project is three years old and is an integral component of his course on social inequalities. His students conducted research for books on topics ranging from native herbal remedies to the history of local social justice initiatives.

“The students collected oral histories in Robeson County, and presented their work at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Campus Compact,” Dr. Spivey said. “The students enjoyed meeting people who are involved in grass roots movements for social change, and enjoyed being part of the research for a book.

“The students involved in the research said it was one of the best experiences they’ve had in education,” Dr. Spivey said.

Dr. Spivey said he will reach out to all academic departments to expand the concept.

“Service learning is an academic exercise that expands learning, so that students have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the local community, ending with the writing of an analytical reflection paper,” Dr. Spivey said. “This can be done within any academic discipline. Furthermore, a service-learning project is one way through which faculty can bridge the boundaries between teaching, scholarship, and service.”   

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Charles Harrington announced the new position in August.

“As a regionally responsive and needs-driven University, UNC Pembroke has taken seriously its responsibility for working with various local and regional constituents to address unmet need,” Dr. Harrington said. “We believe that service learning is a very effective way to expose students to a powerful learning experience while simultaneously assisting our regional communities. 

“Dr. Spivey’s experience and passion for this important work made him a logical choice to serve as the first director,” he continued. “Service learning at UNCP will surely flourish under his vision and leadership.”

As the first director for service learning, Dr. Spivey is at the ground floor for building a service-learning program at UNCP. Over the next few weeks, he will form an advisory committee and create resource materials. Then, he will begin to contact faculty and set information meetings.

For more information on  service learning at UNCP, please contact Dr. Michael Spivey at 910.521.6776 or email michael.spivey@uncp.edu.

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