The Office of Civic Engagement and Service Learning (CESL) is pleased to announce that, collectively, Fayetteville State University (FSU) service-learning students have surpassed a major milestone, completing 100,000 hours of service to the community (100,289.007 to be exact), as of Summer II Session that ended in August 2017. Since fall 2009, when service learning was officially implemented at FSU, students’ service-hours data have been collected and reported.
Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (Learn and Serve America National Clearinghouse).
During the past seven years, students’ annual hours of service have increased substantially from 1,940 in the first year (2009-2010) to 21,830 this past year (2016-2017). With an administration committed to promoting student engagement and fostering civic responsibility, and an increased number of faculty using service-learning as a teaching pedagogy, the FSU service-learning program is increasingly referred to as a model when compared to an array of other colleges and universities. At FSU, it has been a high impact practice intentionally implemented to develop students’ critical thinking skills and their ability to become community leaders. Service-learning is one of the many ways that FSU students give back to the Fayetteville/ Cumberland/Sandhills community. With over 100 community organization partnerships, the CESL office is able to facilitate meaningful experiences that are mutually beneficial to all parties.
Originally established as the Institute of Civic Justice in 2007, service learning was added in 2009 after Dr. Melissa Barlow, FSU Professor in Criminal Justice and then Director, received a Learn and Serve America grant. This grant provided the foundation for FSU to develop the infrastructure to assist faculty members with integrating service learning into their course curricula.
Currently, the Office of Civic Engagement and Service Learning’s mission focuses on two areas—student engagement in civic life and academically based service learning. Dr. Davis, the director, and the staff that includes Melissa Lyon, Tiara (Monique) Broadhurst, and Brittany Merchant Bazemore are to be commended for their coordination and facilitation of service learning for all academic majors.
If interested in learning more, contact the Office of Civic Engagement and Service Learning at (910) 672-2460.