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Service Learning Experiences

UT Students with Jamestown Mayor Darlene Monday Davis, Park Manager Travis Stover, and park staff.
UT Students with Jamestown Mayor Darlene Monday Davis, Park Manager Travis Stover, and park staff.

We continue to sponsor service learning experiences for our students. Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that attempts to integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

For the last three semesters, we have worked with undergraduate political science majors to engage in service-learning opportunities, while also earning political science credit. Coordinated by Professor Nownes, the undergraduate director for political science, and Liam Hysjulien, the department’s undergraduate advisor, students have engaged in projects ranging from voter registration to working with local nonprofits. Our commitment to service learning is fostered in the belief that we as a department create engaged students and citizens by working on projects and issues that connect them through service with their community and each other.

Tim Ezzell has been doing service learning classes for years. Students from Ezzell’s Sustainable Communities class are working with Pickett CCC State Park near Jamestown to help develop outreach and development opportunities related to dark skies conservation and tourism. Ideas being developed include the creation of telescope libraries in neighboring communities, astronomy programs for local youth, development of a local food truck cooperative, and programs to promote LED outdoor lighting technologies.

The Sustainable Communities class is part of a broader effort, the Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP). The ATP is sponsored by the Appalachian Region Commission (ARC), a federal agency. UT helped establish the ATP in 2001 and is one of 13 participating institutions this year. In December, Ezzell and his students will travel to Washington to present their project findings before the ARC staff and other participating ATP schools.

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