Kent State, regional campuses honored with service award

Mary Jo Spletzer

Kent State and two of its regional campuses have been honored with the highest national award for university volunteering and service learning.

The Kent, Stark and Tuscarawas campuses were each placed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service learning efforts in local communities. The Corporation for National and Community Service sponsors the list.

Other Ohio Schools who earned the

President’s Higher Education Honor Roll:

• Case Western Reserve University

• Cuyahoga Community College

• John Carroll University

• University of Akron

Each campus will receive a certificate and be listed on the organization’s national honor roll Web site. Kent State’s campuses are part of a select group of only 546 schools named to the honor roll.

“With our current economic situation, it is becoming increasingly clear that the communities that will thrive need to have the full participation of all of their constituents,” said Nicole Willey, assistant professor of English and the service-learning coordinator for the Tuscarawas Campus. “Our students involved with service-learning learn their involvement is paramount, and they become more engaged and interested in becoming part of the solution in their communities.”

Criteria for being placed on the honor roll include 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.

According to reports from the Office of the Vice President, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, 1,000 Kent State students provided more than 5,800 hours of community service and contributed more than $116,000 to their local communities in either cash or direct services.

“The services that students provide to the communities translates into thousands of dollars in service,” Andrea Adolph, associate professor of English and service-learning coordinator of the Stark Campus, said. “Being recognized on the honor roll allows us to publicly show all the good work we’ve been engaged in at Kent State Stark for many years.”

Ann Gosky, senior special assistant for enrollment management and student affairs, said students have the opportunity to help many community agencies that range in services.

“We offer a variety of community agencies to work with,” Gosky said. “We always want to engage our students beyond the classroom and providing a variety of community service opportunities for them promotes this engagement.”

As a service-learning coordinator, Adolph said it is important to balance the needs of the local communities with the course objectives in the syllabus. In this way students are being given important opportunities to expand their college experience, and the communities are benefiting from their work.

“We like to think that we’re helping students to become the people who will be change-makers when they graduate,” Adolph said.

Contact regional campus reporter Mary Jo Spletzer at [email protected].