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Ms. Michelle Garraway Program Coordinator


Ms. Denise Wetzel

Service-learning Librarian

Ms. Xi Chen

Graduate Assistant

Special thanks to the MSU Department of Communication Internship program and intern Evan Crawford for contribution to this publication.


Dr. Cade Smith Director

In 2013, the Center for the Advancement of Service-

of communities across our nation and around the

Learning Excellence (CASLE) was created as a

globe. By engaging scholars with the social and

partnership between Mississippi State University

civil contexts and with the human condition of their

Extension and the Division of Academic Affairs with

subjects of study, community-engaged learning

the purpose of supporting MSU faculty, staff, and

allows scholars to bring curriculum into the lived

students and community partners in designing

experience. Bringing learning to life for MSU

service-learning projects. In 2016, the Division of

scholars and new value to communities through

Student Affairs joined the partnership to capture

mutually beneficial partnerships that integrate MSU

synergies between the Office of Student Leadership

classrooms and communities is the mission of CCEL.

and Community Engagement and CASLE. In Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the After taking time to analyze the history and processes

Professoriate, the authors explain that the scholarship

of CASLE; listen to the needs of our community

of application (or engagement) undergirds the

agencies, faculty, staff, and students; and consider

land-grant mission. By moving toward engagement,

future opportunities for our stakeholders, we started

scholars ask several questions including, “How can

building on the successes of CASLE. Firstly, we

knowledge be responsibly applied to consequential

simplified the service-learning course S-designation

problems? How can it be helpful to individuals as

application for faculty. Secondly, we embraced a

well as institutions? …Can social problems themselves

philosophy of service to MSU faculty and community

define an agenda for scholarly investigation?” These

agencies by functioning as problem solvers, co-

questions reflect the foundation of community-

creators, and resource providers. Finally, to more

engaged learning. When the scholarship of

accurately reflect the diversity of partnerships and

application is combined with the scholarship of

approaches to community-engaged learning at MSU

discovery, integration, and teaching, MSU’s trifold

and better align with Mississippi State’s community

mission of service, research, and learning reaches its

engagement framework (http://www.servicelearning.

full potential., we changed our name to the Center for Community-Engaged Learning

If you are a community member, faculty member,


student, or staff member of Mississippi State and have an idea for a community-engaged learning

The 19th Century philosopher, Herbert Spencer

program or course, please contact the CCEL staff. We

said, “The great aim of education is not knowledge

would love to visit with you, explore your ideas, and

but action.” This quote captures the opportunity and

work with you to build the partnerships that can bring

responsibility that higher education holds to educate,

your idea to life.

enlighten, and empower tomorrow’s leaders who will drive the social, educational, and economic progress


Model of Community Engagement

community engagement in teaching and learning

community engagement in service Community Engagement - Volunteering

teaching, learning & service

- Course-based volunteering describes collaboration between - Co-curricular service - Field experience - Civic engagement Mississippi State University and our - Experiential learning - Outreach - Co-op larger communities (local, - Extension - Practicum/Internship regional/state, national, global) for - Contracted services - Clinical the mutually beneficial exchange of Training/Consulting/Facilitating - Capstone all three fACETS of - Community work study knowledge and resources in the - Research project - Shared services/infrastructures - Practice-based learning context of partnership and reciprocity. - Community development - Service-learning - Economic development - Extension research, Communities are broadly defined service, scholarship as groups of people affiliated by research, teaching scholarship & learning geographic proximity, special


Community Engagement

community engagement Research and scholarship - UndergraduateEngagement research Community - Contractedcollaboration research describes between - Producer group research Mississippi State University and our - Public-funded research larger communities (local, - Curriculum development regional/state, national, global) for - Practice-based participatory research - Scholarship engagement the mutuallyofbeneficial exchange of - Engaged scholarship knowledge and resources in the - Extension context of partnership and reciprocity.

Communities are broadly defined as groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special Reference: Modified by the authors from Linking Scholarship and interests, or situational similarities at Communities: Report of the Commission on Community-Engaged Scholarship in the Health Professions the local, regional/state, national, or global levels. Community Engagement

A few examples of communities

interests, or situational similarities at the local, regional/state, national, or global levels. A few examples of communities affiliated by geographic proximity include: specific neighborhoods, municipalities, and other geographically-defined units. Communities within special interests may include, but are not limited to, K-12 educational systems, commodity or ‘operator’ groups, business sectors, practitioner groups, hobbyist groups, food service sectors, or landowners.

Communities defined within

collabor ernal ato t x e r

collabor ernal ato t x e r


Communities defined within A few examples of communities situational similarities may situational similarities may affiliated by geographic include: emergency preparation, proximity include: specific include: emergency preparation, proximity include: specific response, and/or recovery efforts; neighborhoods, municipalities, and response, and/or recovery efforts; neighborhoods, municipalities, and impoverished, disadvantaged, or other geographically defined units. disadvantaged, or regional/state, national, global) marginalized populations; the mutually beneficial exchange of for other geographically-defined units. otherwiseimpoverished, populations affected marginalized by a disease orpopulations; knowledge and resources exchange in the otherwise the mutually beneficial of Communities within special disorder;populations or any stakeholder group context of partnership and in the interests may include, butspecial are not affected by a disease or knowledge and resources Communities within served by an agency. reciprocity. limited to, K-12 educational systems, disorder; or any stakeholder group context of partnership and reciprocity. interests may include, but are not commodity or operator groups, served by an agency. limited to, K-12 educational systems, Community Engagement describes collaboration between describes collaboration between Mississippi State University and our Mississippi State University and our larger communities (local, larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for

Communities are broadly defined

business sectors, practitioner groups,

Communities are broadly defined commodity or ‘operator’ groups, as groups of people affiliated by hobbyist groups, food service sectors, as groups of peoplespecial affiliated by business sectors, practitioner groups, geographic proximity, or landowners. geographic proximity, specialat hobbyist groups, food service sectors, interests, or situational similarities interests, or situationalnational, similarities the local, regional/state, or at or landowners. global levels. the local, regional/state, national, or global levels. Communities defined within A few examples of communities affiliated by geographic proximity include: specific

labor ato r


affiliated by geographic

situational similarities may include: emergency preparation, response, and/or recovery efforts; impoverished, disadvantaged, or

community engagement in teaching and learning - Course-based volunteering - Feld experience - Experiential learning - Co-op - Practicum/Internship - Clinical

commun in teach

- Cour - Feld - Expe - Co-op - Pract - Clinic - Caps - Rese - Pract - Servi - Exten

teach learn & serv

Types of Community Engagement Partnerships AT MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY



shared leadership



Leadership and Involvement

MSU led; some community involvement

More community involvement

Good community involvement

Leadership is equally shared

Strong community leadership

Direction of Information and Decision Making

Information from MSU to community to inform or share

Information feedback from community to help inform MSU’s efforts

Communication is bidirectional between MSU and community

Decision making is equally shared; communication is bidirectional

Final decision making is at the community level

Initiation and Exchange

MSU sends community information

MSU and community share information and feedback

More communication and participation between community and MSU on issues

MSU and community in strong partnership from conceptualization to output

Communities may consult with MSU to assist with technical questions


MSU and community coexist

MSU and community coexist

MSU and community cooperate

MSU and community mutually understand and collaborate

Community engages MSU as needed

Connections established for communication and outreach

Connections developed and information and feedback obtained from community

Visibility of partnership established; increased cooperation


Partnership and trust

Community leads; learning, research, and service reflect the needs and desires of the community

Community Investment

Community Involvement

Community Integration

Ex: Training sessions, awareness campaigns, social media

Ex: Community advisory committees, community conversations, consulting and action plans

Ex: Issue specific workgroups, commodity groups, community of practice

Communication: Mostly one-way

Communication: Two-way

Sample Metrics: Number of participants; number of publications; number of products delivered

Sample Metrics: Active participation; retention; # of activities; increased accountability for decision-makers

Communication: Two-way and equal partnership between MSU and community


Sample Metrics: Depth of engagement, willingness of members to take action; transcending organizational interests for long-term collective interests

depth of engagement

active engagement Reference: Modified from Principles of Community Engagement, second edition. NIH Publication No. 11-7782


Dr. Skye Cooley

Tangibly Seeing Your Value CO 4803 - RESEARCH


Instructor: Dr. Skye Cooley | Community Partner: W.K. Kellogg Foundation | Written by Evan Crawford

Dr. Skye Cooley has taught Research in Public

Cooley said the purpose of the class project

Relations and Advertising, a course that focuses

is to start a community-engagement dialogue

on theory and practice of research methods in

between different groups, specifically minority

public relations, for most of his 6-year stint here

groups with majority groups.

at Mississippi State University. “We got a Caucasian block of people from Cooley described research classes as being

across three different Mississippi towns, and

“a little bit more of a trudge for students”

they interviewed one another to talk about how

because they involve concepts that may not

they view race, how they view growing up in the

be “amazingly fun or engaging for students.”

South, and how race relations have impacted

Keeping this in mind, he researched the most

their growth,” he said. “We also got a group

effective and engaging ways to structure his

of African Americans and people from other

class. He had previously done a service-learning

minority groups to interview one another on

class that was moderately successful. After

the same topics. Our students get to compare

being presented with the opportunity to do the

how each group talks about race, see what the

course as a community-engagement project, he

differences are, see what different themes pop

restructured the class.

up, understand what it means to be part of a racial group in the South, and see how each

“Dr. Cade Smith [Assistant Dean of Students and

group perceives that imprint on their lives.”

Director] found us a great partnership with the Kellogg Foundation. Tied to the humanities, it’s

During the next phase of the project, people

a look into racial equality in the South and trying

from the different groups met and interviewed

to start conversations about the topic. It gave me

one another.

something to get the students excited about, doing research they were able to understand

Cooley said he hopes the dialogue will facilitate

and the practical applications of it in ways you

better race relations in the South. To see if

don’t get from a textbook.”

there have been any shifts in how race is being discussed, the students will analyze the data again after the interviews take place.


“Ultimately, the goal is to see how people are

want to be a part of it. It made you feel like you

constructing their own realities and how we can

were doing something good.”

break, manipulate, and alter that so we can have more equality not only in the regional South but

What Cooley takes away from doing community-

across the world,” he said.

engagement projects is noticing the feeling of doing good that it gives students and professors.

“I think, if this works the way we think it does, we’ll have evidence to show that those kind of

“It makes you excited to come to work, and it

exchanges create more equitable societies, and

makes it feel like you’re able to tangibly see your

so that’s a huge benefit, particularly in the rural

value and the impact that you’re able to make

areas in Mississippi. The findings of this research

on both the lives of the students and these

have really cool implications for sure.”

communities,” he said. “There’s not many times in your life where you get to see the difference that

Dr. Skye Cooley’s Questions to Ask when

you’re able to make. Having the venue to do so is

Considering Service-Learning

really cool.”

• What’s the fit? • How well does this fit with what I want to do? • What am I chasing? • Am I just getting an experience where I feel like I’m doing good in the community?

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation is committed to racial equity, to developing leaders, and to engaging communities in solving their own problems. For more information on the

• Am I honing my skills?

Kellogg Foundation,

• What do I want to get from this?


• What’s my reasoning behind wanting to do it? • Do I want to make a difference? • Will the skills I gain help me professionally? • What are my motivations going in? A memorable moment for Cooley from his previous service-learning work was meeting Le’Roy Davenport. “He was working on this project for Mississippi State, and his enthusiasm for the project and his

visit https://www.wkkf.

“ It makes you excited to come to work, and to tangibly see the impact that you’re able to make on the lives of the students and these communities.”

belief that doing this type of project is beneficial for the community was exciting; it made you


Ms. Meggan Franks

Dr. David May

Making an Impact SO 4153 - MENTORING


Instructors: Ms. Meggan Franks & Dr. David May | Community Partner: Armstrong Middle School Written by Evan Crawford

Mentoring for At-Risk Youths, cross-listed as

research for the Social Science Research Center

a sociology and criminology course, trains

and is an author/coauthor of several books and

students to mentor at-risk juveniles in order to

journal articles.

facilitate their successful transition to productive community roles. Ms. Meggan Franks and

“We place upperclassmen in one-on-one men-

Dr. David May teach the course.

toring relationships with 6th- through 8th-graders at Armstrong Middle School. These are

“We taught a mentor-training class at the Ma-

students who are typically considered high risk,

roon Volunteer Center,” Franks explains. “Every

which means they are underperforming in their

semester, we would get students who were

academics. They’re not connecting with their

interested in mentoring and tutoring in the com-

peers. Maybe they’re at a higher risk of dropping

munity, and they would take a 4½-hour training

out, being more absent than other students, and

course about how to be a successful mentor.”

so they’re at a greater disadvantage than other students.”

“Dr. David May was a speaker for that event, and he came to us one semester and said, ‘You

Franks and May place the at-risk junior-high

know, I used to teach a class at a school before

students with high-achieving MSU students. The

I came to Mississippi State that taught students

pairing of the students allows for one-on-one

how to be mentors.’ After talking about it, we

relationships outside of school.

decided to try it here, and that’s how we set this up,” Franks continued.

“They have permission to pick them up from school and take them somewhere in the com-


Franks and May work together because the

munity. They might go out to eat together or get

course is in addition to their regular jobs at

ice cream. There’s a lot more of an opportunity

Mississippi State, and it is more involved than

to establish a close relationship when you focus

other college classes. Franks is the Assistant

outside of that school setting. We wanted this

Director of the Office of Student Leadership and

model to be as productive as possible. We feel

Community Engagement, where she oversees

we can accomplish the most this way in this

the Maroon Volunteer Center, while May does

short period of time,” Franks said.

Franks and May, who are currently in their fourth

Franks said if the suspended students had their men-

semester of teaching this class, are not the only ones

tors, the mentors could explain to them why fighting

involved in putting this service-learning component

is a bad idea.

together. On the other end, Armstrong Middle School principal Timothy Bourne and interventionist Vickie

“We want to help our students now so that by the

Chatman run the program. Chatman is the primary

time they reach 9th grade, they’re on a more suc-

community partner.

cessful path than when we started with them in 7th or 8th grade,” she said.

“She’s been with us since the beginning. Without her, this program would not be successful,” Franks said.

Franks said the high-risk students could see improve-

“She works with the youth. She selects them. She

ment in grades, class attendance, and attitudes.

gets them to complete important paperwork before they can be in the program because there is a risk

“More students with stronger drives to achieve mean

involved, and she’s got to make sure that the parents

more graduates, so it’s very beneficial for Armstrong.

and their children are engaged because a student

Also, there’s a whole lot of data that shows that men-

could easily blow off their

toring works and it matters.

mentor and not respond. So

Youth that have a regular

Ms. Chatman is vital to the

mentor have a lower chance

program’s success.”

of being involved in drugs and alcohol. They have a

Several of the Armstrong

lower percentage of absenc-

students involved in the

es. They do better in school,”

program have moved

Franks said.

around a lot. Some have been placed in alternative

Franks offers this advice to

school before and some

those considering a ser-

have previously been sus-

vice-learning program:

pended from school. “You have to be committed, and you have to think

“With the consolidation of the schools last year, we had a lot of children that

about the end result,” she said. “You can’t approach

were being suspended from class. Students were

an agency and say, ‘This is what I need.’ It’s a give

reestablishing themselves and establishing a new

and take. Our students are getting a real opportuni-

pecking order,” Franks said. This led to fighting among

ty: hands-on work with a population that they might


serve when they graduate. On the flip side, the school is getting an opportunity to place some of their

“A lot of the fighting happened on the bus, and, un-

lower-achieving students with high-achieving college

fortunately for some of our kids, they got suspended

students who can really do some great things for

from the bus. But their guardians either worked really


early, had strange hours, or they didn’t have reliable transportation, so their only way of getting to school

“I think any student who has had a good ser-

every day was that bus. So they got suspended from

vice-learning experience will tell you, ‘This is what

the bus and then the result was they just ended up

my learning should be, and if I could do more of this,

missing more school and being further behind. This

I would be better prepared for the real world when I

was unfortunate, but what other solution did the

graduate,’” she said.

school have?”


Ms. Jessica Graves

Dr. Brandi Karisch

Sharing Dairy Science ADS 4221 - CAPSTONE


Instructor: Ms. Jessica Graves and Dr. Brandi Karisch Community Partner: Greater Starkville Development Partnership | Written by Evan Crawford

Ms. Jessica Graves and Dr. Brandi Karisch teach

Starkville Community Market. Our students

ADS 4221 - Capstone in Animal & Dairy Science,

learn skills in professionalism, marketing, and

a 1-hour lecture for students of senior standing

public relations; the community is afforded

that involves review and oral presentation of

the opportunity to experience the farm and

animal science research and related production

observe the work that goes into producing a


wholesome food product.





This service-learning course is ADS 4221

In this particular case, both Dr. Karisch and I

Capstone in Animal and Dairy Sciences.

travel quite a bit to fulfill other obligations of

We first began including a service-learning

our jobs. For me, it is recruitment, and for Dr.

project in the course in Fall 2014. In Fall 2015,

Karisch, Extension-related activities, so there

it received the “S” designation of being an

are often times when only one of us is present

official service-learning course. The course

for class. In addition, having a colleague to

is designed to challenge students to apply

bounce ideas around with has proven to be

the knowledge and skills they have learned

very helpful. To date, each class has had a

throughout their time as undergraduates in

different project and theme. Dr. Karisch and I

Animal and Dairy Sciences. Since 2014, the

have worked together to brainstorm ideas for

service-learning project has varied greatly,

projects that will challenge the students, but

from working with local livestock producers

also align with the service-learning concept.

to address a real production challenge to developing an animal agriculture educational


activity book for Cloverbud 4-H students.

COMMUNITY? This project is beneficial to the community as



it allows individuals (and perhaps families) to

Each semester, we have had a different

experience how the dairy farm operates, the

community partner. We recently partnered

importance of such things as “cow comfort,”

with the Greater Starkville Development

and how we work to ensure the animals are

Partnership (GSDP), which sponsors the

well cared for. There are many misconceptions

regarding animal welfare among multiple

strengthen current relationships within the

livestock species, so we hope to shed some

community. In our case, working with livestock

light on just how important animal welfare

producers, MSU Extension, and others has

is to livestock owners. Furthermore, this

afforded our students a variety of opportunities

project helps bridge the gap and instills

to get real-world experience.

trust among consumers and farmers by providing opportunities for the community


(also consumers) to ask questions and


communicate openly about the happenings


on farms. As the public becomes more

For me, one of the most memorable service-

removed from the farm, our goal is to help

learning projects is when we hosted an

them understand where we get our food and

“Afternoon on the Farm” for local kindergarten

fiber products.

students; it was designed to allow them to get hands-on experience with farm animals.


Our students, coming from a hard-science


background, were pushed out of their comfort


zones to take the “science” they had learned

Have fun and think outside the box! Each

and share it with 5- to 6-year-olds in a way

semester, we learn something new as

the kids could understand. Our students left

instructors for a service-learning course,

with a greater appreciation of learning how to

and we are looking for ways to improve the

communicate in an age-appropriate manner,

experience our students have.

and the kindergartners now know more about where their food comes from.


For more information on the Greater


Starkville Development Partnership, visit

I learned that service learning is a great

community-engagement opportunity that helps to forge new relationships and


Dr. Laura Greenhaw

Leading through Agriculture AIS 3813 - TEAM


Instructor: Dr. Laura L. Greenhaw | Community Partner: Catch-A-Dream Foundation | Written by Evan Crawford

Since the fall of 2013, Dr. Laura L. Greenhaw has

She said it worked fairly well for the students

been teaching Team Leadership in Agricultural

who chose good community partners, but the

& Life Sciences, a 3-hour lecture and service-

students who did not choose good community

learning course that places emphasis on

partners struggled. For this reason, Greenhaw

self-assessment, team-building skills, and

decided to seek assistance from the Center for

experiential activities in teamwork.

Community-Engaged Learning (formerly CASLE).

“Interestingly, when I came on board, we

“We talked through several options for

were only teaching one leadership class in

community partners that they had used in

the department,” Greenhaw said. “Everything

the past, and we landed on Catch-A-Dream,”

else was kind of farmed out to the business

Greenhaw explained.

school, to communications, and to some other places. So one of the first things I did was split

Greenhaw’s students presented their project

the leadership class we were teaching into a

proposals to members of the Catch-A-Dream

theory course, which is kind of their foundational

Foundation, including Dr. Marty Brunson, the

course, and this team leadership course.”

director of the organization. The objective of their assignment was to work together creatively to

Greenhaw said the idea is that, as business has

develop a service-learning project. The group

evolved in the United States, the structure of

settled on a movie night, “REELing for Catch-

leadership has changed within the business

A-Dream.” The class established work teams

organization, thereby requiring people to work

responsible for the many different aspects of

more in a team setting instead of as individuals

the event.

in a hierarchical way. “Our main goal with Catch-A-Dream is to foster “The whole point of the class is teaching

relationships with the local community. It’s giving

students to lead in a team structure,” she said.

local folks a way to interact with and support the

“The first semester we taught the class, we

organization,” she said.

implemented a service-learning project. I put the


students in their teams, and they were allowed

Faculty and students may have difficulty

to select their community partners and

deciding if they should participate in a

their projects.”

service-learning course. Greenhaw has words of advice for both groups.

“My advice to faculty is that it always takes

“The first thing that really stands out to me

more time and planning than you think it will,

is the student reaction when they meet our

so you need to be mentally prepared for

community partner. Catch-A-Dream is a really

the amount of time it takes to incorporate a

unique organization. They’re a faith-based

service-learning project into a class. You really

organization that serves terminally ill children.

have to understand that it’s going to take you

One of my favorite parts of the semester is when

a lot of time.

Dr. Brunson comes to class and talks about his organization, how it developed, and the

“For students, my best advice is to embrace it.

children and the families that they’ve served.

It’s such a neat way to learn and such a unique opportunity for them to apply what they’re learning. A lot of times, when a student takes a service-learning course, their first reaction is ‘Oh, this is going to be so much work.’ But my advice is to really embrace the opportunity to learn from that experience because it’s pretty

It’s a fantastic way to figure out the community, make friends, and find my own place in it all.”

valuable.” Greenhaw also said students who gain some practical experience in

When we go out to their headquarters, they

their coursework material will be a step ahead of

have storyboards with pictures of all the kids

some of their peers.

that they’ve helped. To see the reactions of my students to that is a tear-jerker moment.”

“There is no better way to connect and integrate into the community. Starkville’s kind of a small

Greenhaw also enjoys witnessing the pride

place, so it’s really nice to be able to pay back

students take in their projects when they present

to the community, to engage with them, and

to the community partner and a representative

to show them how we can contribute to the

from CCEL. Her drive moving forward to the next

community,” she said.

semester is knowing how much the students have gotten out of the experience. She attributes

Greenhaw, who is originally from New Mexico,

this to the students’ pride in their work and their

added, “As a person who’s not from here, it’s

relationship with their community partner.

been a fantastic way for me to figure out the community, to make friends, and to find my own

To learn more about the Catch-A-Dream

place in it all.”

Foundation, which has completed 586 trips for children from 45 states and two Canadian

There are two things about the way the service-

provinces, visit

learning project is done in Greenhaw’s class that she loves.


Dr. Lashan Simpson

Encouraging ST EM ABE 4523 - BIOMEDICAL MATERIALS Instructor: Dr. Lashan Simpson | Written by Evan Crawford

In 2016, Dr. Lashan Simpson taught ABE 4523


- Biomedical Materials, a 3-hour lecture that


places emphasis on applications, composition,

Getting younger students engaged in science

testing, and biocompatibility of biomedical

is really important; we call it the STEM

materials used in implant devices.

(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) pipeline. There’s been a lot of


research that shows that, early on, students


really enjoy science, enjoy participating in

I got a mini-grant to have my students design

science, and think about going into science

different modules to engage K–12 students in

careers. But as students get older, they sort of

engineering. It was something fun and tangible

lose interest in it, especially in middle school.

that would break down more complicated

That’s a critical time for students. So what

engineering concepts and give students an

we’re trying to do is engage students with

opportunity to do hands-on activities.

these activities to show them that science is still fun and to keep them engaged in the



I’ve been working with West Lowndes High School. Last semester, students from my


course created informative modules as part


of their work with the high school. For


example, one module included an activity

I would say try it! Start small and work your

showing the effect of high-impact collisions on

way up. There are a lot of different ways to get

the brain using gelatin brain molds and plastic

involved. I think it’s definitely important for us


to impact the community, but I also think that our students learn a lot from the program and those that they help. Service learning is great because it allows you to see a lot of real-world examples and figure out how to help the









I’ve learned that the traditional methods

Two years ago, I applied for a service-learning

of teaching don’t give students the full

mini-grant for a different course. I took them to

experience they need. Being able to do

the Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson,

community-engaged learning and service

and they actually worked on a project for the

learning has been impactful, and it shows

center. That stood out to me because I was able

students that what they’re learning in the

to take the students out of the classroom. We

classroom has an impact outside of the

observed the laboratories of the center, and

classroom. I think a lot of our students come in

then the doctors from the center came here to

and they just have their end goal, their career,

see the students’ presentations. I think we had

‘I’m going to be a doctor,’ ‘I’m going to do

three groups from the course go on to do their

this,’ in mind. But these students can benefit

senior design projects with the Methodist Rehab

from service learning by seeing what they’re

Center. That stood out to me. And we were able

learning in the classroom positively impact

to use that small mini-grant from the service-

their community.

learning center and kind of branch it into several different research projects.

This model hand was used to show students

This brain model is used to show students

how the muscles in their forearm connect to the

how collision forces between football players

bones in their fingers and allow them to move.

can damage the brain. This is accomplished by using a skull and brain model to introduce elementary physics and apply it to the collision force. A brain mold and gelatin are used to represent the brain, while corn syrup and plastic balls are used to represent cerebro-spinal fluid and the skull.


Ms. Carmen Wilder

Learning Comes to Life SLCE 3412 - MONTGOMERY LEADERSHIP PROGRAM Instructor: Ms. Carmen Wilder | Written by Evan Crawford

Ms. Carmen Wilder teaches SLCE 3412 -

Students in the Montgomery Leadership

Montgomery Leadership Program, a three-

Program have partnered with numerous

semester study of leadership skills and

community partners, including Overstreet

community engagement.

Elementary School, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, and the MSU ACCESS

The Montgomery Leadership Program is named


for 1943 MSU alumnus G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery, a 15-term U.S. congressman who authored the

Wilder said she uses community engagement

Montgomery G.I. Bill, which provides monthly

because it provides an easy avenue for service

benefit payments to help service members

learning. The Montgomery Leadership Program

and veterans meet their education and training

is based on the social change model of

costs. Montgomery is described as a man

leadership development.

who embodied the qualities of leadership, statesmanship, and public service.

“The idea of social change is that a welldeveloped leader is aware of what’s going on

The Montgomery Leadership Program is

in their community and works hard to find the

divided into three semesters. During the first

niche where they can be productive and help

semester, students complete at least 20

the community move forward. This is the idea of

hours of community service with their small

servant leadership, social change, social justice,

groups while also learning basic personality

and being responsible for the community that

and leadership theory, as well as different

you’re a part of; it is not the idea of leadership as

communication strategies. The second semester

a position or as ‘I’m only a leader in this group,’

focuses on each student’s role as a “project

but as ‘I’m a leader because I take responsibility

manager” and peer mentor for the MSU Day

for what’s going on around me,’” she said.

One Leadership Program’s freshman students,


who are completing their own service-learning

Wilder said her class benefits the community

projects. During the third and final semester,

in a practical way, because her students are

students create and implement their own service

required to do a minimum of 20 hours of

initiatives while continuing their leadership

community service.

studies and community service commitments.

“That’s over 600 hours of service within a

Other standout moments for Wilder include the

3-month period that goes directly back into

time her students learned the trade of carpentry

our local community. It’s said that there’s an

for a building project, the time they learned how

impact of about $15 an hour for one volunteer.

to install electrical equipment, and the time they

So that’s huge.”

helped out a child with cerebral palsy and his family by raising approximately $6,000 for his

Wilder continued, “People are able to see

medical bills.

college students and say, ‘Wow, this is someone who is really going to help my agency. This is

“We want our students to learn through this idea

someone who actually cares about making my

of social change and leadership. We want them

agency better.’”

to realize that they can truly make an impact and continue to make an impact. They learn new

She said it helps people in the community, who

skills, in addition to discovering how to really be

may have been negatively biased in the past, to

productive with a group while finding common

see young adults in a different light.

ground and a common focus,” Wilder continued.

“It also creates great

Wilder believes almost any

partnerships. In the past,

course could be changed

we’ve had students

into a service-learning

who, as a result of their


volunteer experience, will go back with that

“In my mind, service-

community agency and

learning is essentially taking

stay with them the whole

your students outside of the

time they’re in college.

classroom and having them

Maybe even get a network

apply what they’re learning.

through that and continue

Having them make what

to work in that field

they’re learning come to

because of the interaction

life,” she said.

they had with that agency or the people in it.”

Wilder said students should be prepared to be challenged more in a service-

Through her years of service-learning work,

learning course than they would be in a typical

Wilder has had her fair share of unforgettable

course. They will be expected not only to learn


the material, but to apply it, as well. She said they also should be prepared to think critically.

“Every day, our students make really insightful observations about the community. I think it’s

“If you’re not reflecting, I’m not sure it’s a service-

beautiful to see them come in with a particular

learning course. You should be reflecting on

mindset, and to have those ideas challenged in

what you’re seeing around you, what other

a nonthreatening way through their work. They

people are doing, and what you’re doing and

become engaged in the community and reflect

thinking,” Wilder said.

on the service that they’re doing. Watching them have all these ‘aha’ moments is truly satisfying,”

For more information on the Montgomery

Wilder said.

Leadership Program, visit


Dr. Kay Brocato

Service Is Learning EDF 4243/6243 - PLANNING


Instructor: Dr. Kay Brocato | Written by Evan Crawford

Planning for the Diversity of Learners, a service-

The Unity in Diversity Talk project focuses on the

learning course taught by Dr. Kay Brocato,

teacher candidates’ ability to explain how they

is a 3-hour lecture that involves the study of

plan to bring unity and a celebration of diversity

variables contributing to the creation and

to their classrooms. The students prepare

management of a positive learning environment

presentations after selecting a unique diversity

for middle- and high-school students. Brocato

theory text and reading it. Brocato said the texts

said it’s a newer model of a class called

deal with religious diversity, gender diversity,

Classroom Management.

ethnic/racial diversity, economic diversity, or physical, mental, or emotional exceptionality

For at least 17 years, Brocato has enjoyed

as diversity.

teaching the course. Brocato believes schools are the most important commodity in every

The Universal Intervention Plan project focuses

community because of the natural resource

on the teacher candidates’ abilities to design a

nurtured inside the schoolhouse.

universal intervention video plan that meets the individual needs of one of the particular students

“Schools and their students are very significant

they worked with during the Studio School

in the community. If we as a society at large are

service experiences. The Studio School is a local

to be optimally successful, we have to figure

school-university partnership that supports

out how to meet the needs of young learners,

vulnerable and at-risk students from typ01ically

because they are our future. This course tries to

underserved populations in Mississippi.

cover all content areas,” Brocato said. In the Curriculum Design Project, teacher These content areas include (but are not limited

candidates are required to prepare a thematic,

to) English, math, social studies, and science.

studio-based learning unit plan. This gives them a foundation for instructional planning

With so many content areas covered, Brocato

and design that will be covered in future

and her students (“teacher candidates”) try to

methods courses.

model developmentally appropriate teaching


that better meets children’s needs. Brocato said

“During these three projects, the teacher

her course consists of three design projects:

candidates are still tutoring kids. They’re going

Unity in Diversity Talk, Universal Intervention

out into the schools, and they’re meeting one-

Plan, and Curriculum Design Project.

on-one, 1 hour a week. When they’re tutoring the

students, they are learning about students who

“I mean it was just a wonderful conversation that

have diverse needs. Throughout the school year,

involved literacy, it involved mathematics, and it

they tutor kids with particular needs that aren’t

involved science. So it was huge,” she explained.

getting met in the regular way.” Another moment that stood out to Brocato was Planning for the Diversity of Learners benefits

watching the lightbulbs turn on for her students,

the community by helping at-risk children

who began to realize “that they’re not just

between the ages of 12 and 18.

teachers of English or math; they’re teachers of full development, and that involves all the

“During this time, kids go through puberty and

content areas.”

face a wide range of challenges with their bodies. This age range

In Brocato’s opinion, the

also covers students at the

terms learning, service, and

middle and the end of high

leading are not in isolation.

school, where transitions can be tough without

“I’m going to tell you that

support and motivation,”

it is almost impossible for

she explained.

me to separate ‘getting involved’ with service-

“We focus on the kids who

learning. I don’t understand

seem to need something

that, because learning is

they’re not getting, which

service. Learning is leading.

makes them vulnerable,

Service is leading,”

and we give them some

she explained.

very concrete, positive, behavioral interventions: a relationship with an

“If you think learning does not involve service,

older, viable adult that’s not a parent or teacher.

you need to shift your paradigm. You need to

The fact that these role models are college

get into the texts that talk about what learning

students is even better; the kids can get an idea

really is,” Brocato said. “We need to come to an

of what college s like and hopefully strive to

understanding that service is not a separate

continue their own education.”

piece of learning.”

Recently, Brocato and her students attended

She suggested reading the works of Lev

the annual Cotton District Arts Festival, where

Vygotsky, Donald Schön, Grant Wiggins, and

she experienced a memorable moment

Jean Piaget.

between a child and his mother. When the teacher candidates began to discuss science

Community partners for Planning for the

with the child, the child’s mother chimed in,

Diversity of Learning include the Starkville

“Every time you do anything, your brain is in

Oktibbeha Consolidated School District, the

charge of that.” The son, in awe that everyone

Greater Starkville Development Partnership, the

was discussing the brain, scratched his head,

Starkville mayor’s office, and the Starkville Board

which caused his mother to say, “Your brain

of Aldermen.

just told you to do that. Why did you do that?” Described as being like an electrical fire in his

For more information on Studio School, visit

brain, Brocato said the boy paused to think

before answering, “Well it was itching.”



Dr. Rubin Shmulsky

Wood Magic Science Fair: A Retrospective Written by Evan Crawford

Twenty-two years ago, scientists of the Forest

for students to showcase their leadership and

Products Laboratory at the Mississippi State

presentation skills.

University Forest and Wildlife Research Center created the Wood Magic Science Fair. This was

“It’s a teaching opportunity for them,” he

5 years before I would get the opportunity to

continues. “The industry has been very

attend with my 3rd-grade class. I could not

supportive to us in providing props, lumber,

have known that, 17 years after sharing that

pieces, wood samples, and plywood. And the

memorable experience with my friends from

faculty and staff are so enthusiastic. They take a

Overstreet Elementary School, I would have the

lot of pride in making these presentations and

honor of chatting with author, professor, and

making sure the students have a great time. It’s

department head Dr. Rubin Shmulsky for this

wonderful to see—you can’t buy a culture like

article, as well as have the chance to share my

that. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

own personal photos from my field trip in 2000. Students and teachers come from all over Since its inception in 1995, the Wood Magic

Mississippi to experience this one-of-a-kind field

Science Fair has been a fun experience for

trip. With luck, there might even be a chance

3rd- and 4th-graders and their teachers to

encounter with Smokey Bear, the famous

learn about the importance of wood and wood

American advertising mascot most known for


educating children on the dangers of forest fires.

Everyone—faculty, staff, and students—pitches

The 3½-hour event is packed with entertaining

in to help at the fair.

and educational events, so visitors are guaranteed never to be bored. Students first

“We have a few people who help get the fair

watch a video about a tree that wants to become

set up and plan for things like tents, drinks,

a home, and then they learn about different

pizza, popcorn, and T-shirts, but, during the

wood products.

fair, everybody’s got to help,” Shmulsky said. “Students do presentations. Some of them run

“They learn about oriented strand board


manufacturing. We show the kids how we make flakes, how we apply glue to those, and how we


He said it is a chance for faculty members to

dry them and press them together to make pan

train students on the program content and

boards, which is resource-efficient.

“Then, they make plywood. We take veneer and

The Forest and Wildlife Research Center is the

make what we call a grilled cheese sandwich out

fair’s parent organization, but it also receives

of it, where we have layers of veneer and layers

support from the MSU Extension Service and the

of glue, and we put it together in a hot press,

Mississippi Forestry Association.

which is sort of like an oven or a frying pan, and out comes a piece of plywood,” Shmulsky

Other sponsors include the MSU College of


Forest Resources, the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, 4-H, Mississippi Lumber

At the sawmill station, students learn about the

Manufacturers Association, and the Mississippi

sawmilling industry. At the chemistry event,

Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

appropriately titled “Chem-Is-Tree,”

Shmulsky said

students are shown

he hopes the fair

how charcoal is

benefits young

made. The students

people in Mississippi,

also learn about the

educating them on

differences between

the importance of

“old-time celluloid

production forestry

film” and safety film.

and the wood products industry.

Other events teach students about

“Mississippi has a high

termites, furniture

growth-to-drain ratio,

testing, wood

meaning we plant

strength, and

more trees than we cut,

particle board.

basically,” Shmulsky said. “We want the kids

The day’s culminating

to feel proud about

event is The Daily


Wood, where students are given a recap

The 2017 Wood

of how much wood

Magic Science Fair is

is consumed by

tentatively scheduled for October, but the

each person in the United States. Students also learn about the

mobile classroom caters to audiences around

approximately 5,000 different products that

the state and throughout the year.

come from wood, including facial tissue, toilet paper, two-by-fours, and writing paper.

“This spring, we have had several on-the-road events with the truck and trailer, and we have

“They do a papermaking demonstration, and

more planned,” Shmulsky said.

that’s where we cut small pieces of red oak to show how wood is permeable. The kids get

To learn more about the Wood Magic Science

the red oak, dip it in bubbles, blow through it,

Fair, visit

and bubbles come out on the other end,” he




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