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Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence

Service-Learning Extending Knowledge. Changing Lives. Spring 2014

Artwork by Ms. Suzanne Powney’s ART 3913: Introduction to Print Production class. These barn quilt squares were designed with the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity to be placed on their Resale Store - a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used home accessories and materials.

MSU Service-Learning

Learn. Serve. Become.

EXTENDING KNOWLEDGE. CHANGING LIVES. In 2013, Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert, Provost and Executive Vice President, and Dr. Gary Jackson, Director of the Extension Service met to discuss new ways for their offices to facilitate Mississippi State University’s land-grant mission of research, learning, and service. From that meeting, a distinctive partnership was established in the form of the Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence (CASLE). While service-learning centers are found within higher education institutions across the United States, CASLE’s connection to the Extension Service sets it apart in the service-learning community as it provides the perspectives of agents, specialists, and faculty from Mississippi’s 82 counties in seeking to understand and address community needs. This year, MSU celebrates the 100th anniversary of the initial signing of the Smith-Lever Act, establishing the Cooperative Extension Service, the nationwide education system operating through land-grant universities in partnership with federal, state, and local governments. Service-learning is one method by which the Extension Service continues to build upon its centennial history in “extending knowledge and changing lives.” Servicelearning is a teaching pedagogy that provides students with experiential learning opportunities to participate in meaningful community service that meets academic course objectives. Throughout their service-learning course, students critically reflect on their experiences and work in tandem with their community partners to learn about and recognize ways in which they can participate as active citizens to resolve real-world issues. Service-learning coursework provides students with practical experience in their intended areas of study translating into a deeper educational experience impacting students both during their collegiate career and as they prepare to participate in their future chosen careers. CASLE staff members develop and assist faculty members, Extension agents, and community partners in designing service-learning projects. These projects are created organically by listening to and working “with” partners and agents, not doing projects “to” them. When students hear about the needs of a partner from those representatives who work and live in the communities in which students are participating in their service-learning projects they move beyond their initial desires to help and critically think about their roles as citizens within the state, the community, and the world. This publication features a variety of research, learning, and service activities in which CASLE participated in its inaugural 2013-2014 academic year. Features include highlights of service-learning partnerships that marry the Extension Service to academic disciplines including Dr. Lesley Strawderman’s Industrial Ergonomics course, where students worked with a sweet potato farmer in Vardaman, Mississippi to better the systems processes and working conditions for sweet potato line workers, or Dr. Sandy Devlin’s Special Education students teaching 4-H agents how to best work with special needs youth. Also included are examples of CASLE’s awarded grants, like that of the Sweet Potato Innovation Challenge and CASLE’s embedded service-learning librarian who assists faculty in disseminating service-learning research. And, keep in mind…this was only our first year. Dr. Gary Jackson, Director of the MSU Extension Service recently said, “The Mississippi State University Extension Service is committed to providing research-based learning opportunities designed to help Mississippians solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.” Service-learning provides our students, agents, and faculty members with these opportunities. Here’s to the next 100 years of extending knowledge and changing lives through service-learning.

Dr. April K. Heiselt, Director and Associate Professor Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence

Spring 2014


SERVICE-LEARNING ADVISORY COMMITTEE (SLAC) In fall 2013, CASLE formed the Service-Learning Advisory Committee (SLAC) in order to review and approve coursework submitted for the service-learning “S” designation. These courses are given a thorough and consistent review before being given the “S” designation. If approved, the searchable attribute “S” with the course section number is added to the course display on the master schedule. Additionally, on the student transcript the comment, “This is a service-learning designated course” is added. The 2013-2014 SLAC includes the following members. Dr. Ryan Akers Assistant Extension Professor - School of Human Sciences Dr. Ryan Akers serves as an Assistant Extension Professor focusing on statewide leadership development and implementation of Extension emergency management programming. Dr. Akers received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and specializes in emergency management programming. He also serves as the Coordinator of the MSU Community Emergency Response Team. Dr. Michael Brashier Associate Professor - College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Michael Brashier is an Associate Professor in the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine. He received his D.V.M. from Louisiana State University. Dr. Brashier specializes in Equine Internal Medicine.

Mr. John Brocato Instructor - Bagley College of Engineering Mr. John Brocato is an Instructor of Technical Writing in the Bagley College of Engineering. Mr. Brocato received both his B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from MSU. In his free time, Mr. Brocato pursues his interests as a musician.

Mr. Caleb Hardman Student - Student Association Director of Governmental Relations Mr. Caleb Hardman is a senior majoring in Biological Engineering. Mr. Hardman serves as the Director of Governmental Relations for the MSU Student Association and has served as an Alumni Delegate. Mr. Hardman was also a Bagley College of Engineering Congressional Fellow in spring 2013 and worked in the office of Senator Roger Wicker.

Dr. Carolyn Huntington Instructor - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dr. Carolyn Huntington is the Director of Undergraduate Advising for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She also serves as an instructor in the Animal and Dairy Sciences Department. Dr. Huntington received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She also serves on the MSU Community Emergency Response Team.


MSU Service-Learning

Learn. Serve. Become.

Ms. Amy Knight Instructor - Department of Communication Ms. Amy Knight is an Instructor in the Department of Communication. Ms. Knight received her M.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi in Speech Communication. Ms. Knight serves as a Co-Chair of the Service-Learning Advisory Committee.

Dr. Linda Morse Professor/Director - Center for Teaching & Learning Dr. Morse has a Ph.D. from Florida State University and has had extensive experience working in instructional design, development, and evaluation. In addition to directing the Center for Teaching and Learning, she is a Professor of Educational Psychology, a Grisham Master Teacher, and serves as a Research Fellow in the Social Science Research Center.

Mr. John Poros Associate Professor/Director - College of Architecture, Art, and Design Mr. John Poros is an associate professor in the School of Architecture. Mr. Poros received his Masters of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is currently the director of the Carl Small Town Center, a community design and outreach component of the School of Architecture. Dr. Jessica Tegt Assistant Extension Professor - College of Forest Resources Dr. Jessica Tegt is an Assistant Extension Professor with research interests in HumanWildlife Conflict Resolution. Dr. Tegt regularly works with the Starkville Science Club as well as each individual grade’s Youth Environmental Science (YES!) program. Dr. Tegt serves as a Co-Chair of the Service-Learning Advisory Committee. Dr. Kevin Rogers Associate Dean - College of Business Dr. Kevin Rogers is an Associate Dean in the College of Business. He received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Memphis and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. He has published research on topics from economic impacts on secondary schools to productivity growth in Sub-Saharan African Agriculture. Dr. Ryan Walker Assistant Professor - Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education Dr. Ryan Walker received his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. His focus is on the improvement of science instruction and the development of effective curricular resources. Dr. Walker’s areas of research include preservice teacher confidence levels toward teaching science, program evaluation for informal environmental education centers, curriculum development, and evaluation.

Spring 2014


SWEET POTATO FARM PARTNERS WITH INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERS According to the United States Department of Agriculture Mississippi Agriculture Statistics, Mississippi is the number three producer of sweet potatoes in the nation. For Dr. Lesley Strawderman, this translated into an opportunity to incorporate service-learning into her fall 2013 IE 3123: Industrial Ergonomics course. In this course, students learned the basics of ergonomic design and how to analyze, design, and re-design ergonomically correct workplaces. The students applied their academic coursework to the analysis of various processes at N&W Farms in Vardaman, Mississippi. For their service-learning project, students were assigned to project teams. Each team focused on a specific operation in the N&W packaging facility such as planting, harvesting, storage, sorting, packaging, and shipping. The student teams then toured the facility, developed a project plan, collected data on their assigned operation, and designed operations and ergonomics improvements.


MSU Service-Learning

The students generated solutions to benefit the health and safety of the workers in the packing and shipping area. For example, one team’s plan consisted of raising the packaging platform to waist level so the workers did not have to bend down as much, which helped prevent back problems. Other teams suggested revising the design of the loading platform or providing cushioned mats on which employees could stand as they worked. They shared their ideas with the community partner and with various members of the MSU campus in a final project showcase. The students received valuable experience from a “real world” problem, while the owner of the farm, Randall Wright, received solutions to issues his farm and employees faced. Wright said, “The project was really worthwhile. I learned it might take a little time but it pays off in the long run. I’m already making plans to implement some of the ideas.”

Learn. Serve. Become.

The IE 4773 class poses in their scrubs with Dr. Allen Greenwood and a hospital staff member at the beginning of their tour of the North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC).

CREATING SIMULATIONS TO IMPROVE THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE Dr. Allen Greenwood’s IE 4773: Systems Simulation I class collaborated with the North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC) for their servicelearning project in spring 2014. In February, Dr. Greenwood and his students traveled to Tupelo to visit the hospital and gather information for their project. The students met with hospital administrators to discuss the goals the hospital had for the project. Students were then led through the basic process that patients experience when coming in for a surgical procedure. From intake to recovery, students were shown the physical space of the hospital and learned about the number of personnel required for various procedures.

Armed with this information, the students created simulations of the process in order to identify areas that could be made more efficient. Students learned how to create these simulations throughout the semester and applied what they learned to their service-learning project. At the end of the semester, students presented their simulations and recommendations to the NMMC administrators. The ultimate goal was to decrease time between procedures so that the experience is more efficient, smooth, and cost-effective both for the patient and the hospital. Hospital administrators were pleased with the outcomes and look forward to putting the students’ suggestions into practice.

Spring 2014



Dr. Lyn Fogle’s TESOL class pose after giving their final presentations with DeSoto County Extension agent, Dr. Joy Anderson (far right).

Assistant professor Dr. Lyn Fogle incorporated service-learning into her fall 2013 EN 6453/4453: Methods in TESOL course. For the first time, Dr. Fogle’s class on teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) included students assisting non-native speakers in DeSoto and Scott counties. The class partnered with Extension agents Anita Webb from Scott County and Dr. Joy Anderson from DeSoto County. Dr. Fogle said she wanted her students to be able to practice English instruction in a wider context rather than one-on-one with conversation partners. Both counties are home to high percentages of nonEnglish speaking residents, and the TESOL students are meeting both locations’ specific needs.

“Extension agents are able to express what is needed in their communities,” said Dr. April Heiselt, CASLE director. “We functioned as a broker, connecting the Extension agents with Dr. Fogle. This process expands what Mississippi State University can do for our students and for communities across the state.” In DeSoto County, students developed guides for Extension agents so they can introduce their non-English clients to the language, Fogle said. The guides condensed approximately one semester’s worth of TESOL coursework into about 20 hours of instruction. Dr. Joy Anderson said, “I really liked working with service-learning, both sides benefited from the program.”

Dr. Joy Anderson

MSU Extension Service DeSoto County Director Dr. Joy Anderson is the Mississippi State University Extension County Director for DeSoto County. While her main focus is on horticulture, Dr. Anderson used her experience in Extension to serve as a community partner for the EN 6453/4453 class to create guidebooks for speakers of other languages. This guidebook will be used as a resource for Extension agents across the state. “We would like to take this and use it as a pilot and work out the kinks, and then release it as training for other Extension agents to use in their counties,” Dr. Anderson said.


MSU Service-Learning

Scott County officials asked the students to develop a combination handbook, phrase book, and how-to guide for teaching English to speakers of other languages. According to Dr. Fogle, the pamphlet describes services offered by various county offices, suggests appropriate expressions, and explains how to conduct everyday errands. Students communicated with the Extension officials through interactive video conferencing and email. Dr. Fogle said her goal of serving the community has also helped her students enhance their understanding of course content. Whether developing driver’s exam description pamphlets or recording a parent-teacher conference explanation video for Hispanic stay-at-home mothers, Dr. Fogle believed the TESOL students developed materials their clients needed. “It’s very exciting to get students thinking in this way because these are the skills they’ll carry to employers in the future,” she said. “This class doesn’t exist without a service component; it’s not just that the students understand the content, but that they know how to apply that knowledge.” As a result, students must adjust their teaching styles as they evaluate whether their nonnative students are acquiring the knowledge necessary to communicate in English.

Learn. Serve. Become.

“The most rewarding aspect is knowing I have done something to change my community and my school, and knowing the ESL students are going to benefit.” - TESOL Student

In regards to the partnership with Dr. Fogle’s class, Extension agent Ms. Anita Webb said, “I would tell other community partners interested in the servicelearning program to take advantage of the opportunity to work with CASLE students and teachers. The partnership was great and by working together with a diverse team from the grassroots level to the College we were able to come up with some answers and the Guidebook. It is a win-win opportunity!”

Ms. Anita Webb

MSU Extension Service Scott County Director Ms. Anita Webb is the Mississippi State University Extension Director for Scott County and works specifically with 4-H. Ms. Webb has an understanding of the specific needs of speakers of other languages and the ways in which Extension agents can be better prepared to work with these individuals. Ms. Webb says of the experience, “I learned that involving CASLE, students and teachers in a community-based program could bring more insight and creativity into a county program.”

Spring 2014


CASLE Director Dr. April Heiselt and Ms. Gennette Robinson from the Mississippi Department of Health congratulate one of the winners, Michael Tyler Ross.

E-WEEK PITCH COMPETITION DEVELOPS ACCESSIBLE TOOTHBRUSHES In spring 2014, the Bagley College of Engineering hosts an annual Engineering Week (E-Week) during which teams representing each Engineering discipline compete in a variety of contests. This year, CASLE partnered with Gennette Robinson from the Mississippi Department of Health, and Eric Hill from the MSU Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer (OETT) to host the 2014 E-Week Service-Learning Engineering Toothbrush Pitch Competition. Robinson described the goal of this competition stating, “The purpose of this project is to promote and improve the oral health condition and wellbeing of patients with limited manual dexterity. Recognizing that oral health is a part of total health coupled with the fact that toothbrushing is a fine motor skill, a modified toothbrush will encourage independence in addition to assisting with oral optimal care through proper plaque removal.” An accessible toothbrush would impact senior citizens, children with disabilities, and caregivers of individuals who require a modified toothbrush. While the concept benefits those who would be using the toothbrush, it also encouraged the MSU


MSU Service-Learning

Engineering students to apply what they learned in their Engineering classes to a tangible issue. In their presentations, students reported learning more about the difficulties of individuals with disabilities and limited manual dexterity as well as the impact of oral health in relation to other health issues. During the 10-minute pitch, students provided information regarding how their product would work, how much it would cost to make, and what they learned from the process. In addition, students were required to turn in a written report that described their pitch and idea. Each team created a deliverable that would represent their toothbrush concept such as a model, sketch, or display. The winning team received a $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble as well as $1,000 from the office of OETT contingent upon the team’s agreement to work with the office to develop their idea and compete in OETT’s Business Plan Competition. This year, Michael Tyler Ross, pictured above, and Alan Cody Smith representing Electrical Engineering won with their idea, the Nook and Cranny Toothbrush, and have agreed to work with OETT to further develop it.

Learn. Serve. Become.

COUNSELING STUDENTS SERVE THROUGH 24-HOUR HELPLINE Dr. Cheryl Justice’s COE 8053/8150: School Counseling Practicum course was designed to help the development of students who can practice in a variety of professional settings including K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, clinical mental health settings, college counseling centers, and rehabilitation counseling settings. The students participated in this service-learning project throughout the semester which involved working with their community partner, the Contact Helpline in Columbus, Mississippi. While participating in this project, students gained knowledge and skills needed in crisis intervention, including self-awareness, sensitivity to others, and skills needed to relate to diverse individuals. Students learned how to assess and manage

suicide risk and made appropriate referrals. The helpline is a 24-hour non-profit telephone service that is available to anyone who needs someone to listen, care, and provide specific, detailed information about agencies and organizations that can address their problems. Students logged either four hour shifts during the day or eight hour shifts at night with Contact Helpline which they could access from home. The students had the choice of doing this once a month, every other week, or a weekly shift. They developed an understanding of the ways in which family, school, and community can collaborate together to meet the needs of others, and they promoted teamwork with the larger community.

Ms. Hillary Richardson MSU Mitchell Memorial Library Service-Learning Librarian

This spring, Ms. Hillary Richardson offered her expertise to assume the role of Service-Learning Librarian in the CASLE office. As the new Service-Learning Librarian, it will be Ms. Richardson’s charge to help build the service-learning collection and provide outreach for those involved in teaching, research, publications, or considering servicelearning as a component of their MSU experience. An example of this outreach would be offering help with information resources or meeting for research consultations. Just as CASLE provides a bridge between service-learning classes and community partners, Ms. Richardson hopes to likewise build a bridge between service-learning and scholarship.

Spring 2014


FIRST-YEAR ENGINEERS COLLABORATE WITH THE COMMUNITY Dr. Alta Knizley, a mechanical engineering instructor, incorporated several community partners into the service-learning projects completed by the over 140 students in her ME 1111: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering class. This course introduces freshman students to the mechanical engineering curriculum, profession, and career opportunities. Students in this class partnered with the MSU Visual Arts Center, the Bagley College of Engineering K-12 Outreach office as part of BEST Robotics and Family Engineering Nights, Mississippi 4-H Robotics, and Sudduth Elementary School. The Visual Arts Center, located near the Cotton District on the northwest side of campus, connects the community of Starkville to MSU. In this project, the ME 1111 students worked with Ms. Lori Neuenfeldt, Visual Arts Center and Gallery Coordinator, to develop a child-friendly room designed to teach children of all ages about art, history, and the


MSU Service-Learning

importance of both through handson activities and interesting books. According to Ms. Neuenfeldt, “The room they designed will be part of the educational experience visitors to the gallery will encounter along with art exhibits and free programming. The activities and tools will engage the audience in a way to help promote art. This project is about creating free access to educational resources. The impact will be far-reaching for years to come.” At the end of the fall semester, one team’s proposal was selected to become the new interactive room within the Visual Arts Center. Dr. Knizley’s students will have completed the room in summer 2014. Another group of the ME 1111 class worked with BEST Robotics and Family Engineering Nights. Students mentored high school robotics teams around the state to compete in the BEST Robotics competition. Other students not involved in the robotics competition planned

and aimed to engage youth in engineering, technology, and robotics by designing simple activities for Family Engineering Nights. Over 103,000 youth participated in Mississippi’s 4-H program in 2012. Students worked with Mississippi’s 4-H Robotics program, Paving the Way Through 4-H Robotics (PAVE), to introduce young students to robotics. This joint effort between the Extension Center for Technology Outreach, the MSU Extension Service, and 4-H is used to engage students in science, technology, and engineering. Students also partnered with Sudduth Elementary School to introduce elementary students to science and engineering concepts through hands-on activities. “I’ve enjoyed working with each of the ME students,” said Dr. Knizley, “and hope to continue gaining an appreciation for all of the awesome services and projects that are being undertaken in our community.”

Learn. Serve. Become.

ENGINEERING FOR ART The Mississippi State University Visual Arts Center Gallery adds a new interactive room with the help of some service-learning Engineering students. The MSU Visual Arts Center’s goal for the sunroom was to create an interactive, childfriendly room aimed to teach all ages about art through hands-on activities and interesting books. The room was based on three different steps: See, Play, and Create. The three steps are integrated in the room, and each activity is labeled with its appropriate step. In the “See” step, children are able to see visitors’ artwork hung on the walls, as well as look at books about art and see famous and lesser known statues from different parts of the world. The LED table, part of the “Play” step, is an interactive table that glows when children place various colored and shaped vinyl pieces onto it, allowing children to create a glowing picture. The Lego table is also a fun and creative way for children to play together and interact. Finally, in the “Create” step, children can create masterpieces of their own on the magnetic wall with magnetic foam pieces or develop their own designs at the creation table. See the books, statue table, and other educational media. Play with the Lego table, LED table, and many other hands-on activities (such as puzzles). Create with the creation table and magnetic wall. CASLE would like to thank the Starkville Area Arts Council (SAAC) for providing grant funds to support this project.

Spring 2014


ART STUDENTS GIVE SWEET POTATOES A FRESH FACE The Vardaman Sweet Potato Festival is an event that Mississippians look forward to each fall. The 2014 festival was assisted by the ART 3913: Introduction to Print Production class taught by Assistant Professor, Ms. Suzanne Powney. Students collaborated with the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council and took on a two-part assignment for their servicelearning project. First, students designed labels for the Council that sweet potato farmers could place on their product boxes. These labels will be used by sweet potato farmers who do not have a label specific to their farm.


MSU Service-Learning

Second, the students created their own poster and flyer designs for the festival and presented them to the Council for their consideration. Students were challenged to use two to three colors for their designs and create hand-drawn illustrations. Tommy Jasmin, a senior Graphic Design major, participated in the print production class. “It was nice to work on a project with an actual client that also benefitted the community of Vardaman, Mississippi,” Jasmin explained. “We don’t get to work with clients that often and it was a good learning experience to see what clients want to integrate into their designs while using our own creativity.”

Learn. Serve. Become.

EDUCATION STUDENTS PROVIDE TECHNIQUES FOR SERVING CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN 4-H PROGRAMS The fall 2013 EDX 8393: Seminar in Education for Individuals with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders class partnered with Dr. Mariah Morgan from the Extension Center for Technology Outreach to find innovative ways to teach 4-H volunteers and agents how to work with children who participate in 4-H Robotics and have special needs. Dr. Sandy Devlin’s students first met with agents to learn about the special needs of the children involved in their 4-H programs. Then, each student learned about and became “experts” in these areas including Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The students outlined techniques to make plans for club meetings and activities that enable learning for special needs youth.

“We have several children with special needs in the 4-H robotics program and we didn’t have the knowledge or training to meet their needs,” Dr. Morgan said. “I thought the service-learning project would be a unique way to bring resources and expertise we did not currently have available to our Extension agents and volunteers.” Students in this course learned about various emotional disorders, behavioral disorders, and the factors that may impact individuals with these disorders. Students completed research and composed interventions addressing each disorder. This information was presented to 4-H agents via live video link as part of the students’ final class project. The agents who attended the session reported feeling better equipped to serve the special needs children in their programs.

Dr. Sandy Devlin poses with the EDX 8393 class after their final presentations to the 4-H agents.

One EDX 8393 student presents to her classmates and the 4-H agents on techniques for teaching children with Autism.

Spring 2014


UNIQUE SERVICE-LEARNING SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY On February 24, 2010, Dawn Brancheau was involved in a tragic accident at SeaWorld with Tilikum, an orca that she knew well and loved. Her life inspired her family and friends to create the Dawn Brancheau Foundation with the mission of continuing Dawn’s legacy of helping others. In addition to being a talented, passionate animal trainer, Dawn Brancheau was also an enthusiastic philanthropist. Whether she was volunteering at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, helping orphans in Africa, supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation, or simply brightening someone’s day with a smile or a handmade card, Dawn was always striving to make a difference. The Dawn Brancheau Service-Learning Scholarship is a partnership between CASLE, the Dawn Brancheau Foundation, and the MSU Extension Service. In spring 2014, the Dawn Brancheau Foundation donated a gift of $8,000 to CASLE to fund four scholarships. In order to receive this scholarship, students were required to meet the following criteria: a) students must be full-time undergraduate juniors or seniors; b) hold at least a 3.0 GPA; and c) each student was required to be of good moral character with demonstrated leadership ability. Students will receive $750 for fall and spring semesters and an additional $500 to be used for completing a service-learning project related to their scholarship focus area. Focus areas include a love of children, love of gardening and the environment, love of animals (preference to dogs), and love of cards through art and graphic design. The fall 2014 Dawn Brancheau ServiceLearning Scholars represent various academic disciplines. Mickenzie Robbins is a senior pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. Ms. Robbins stated, “My experiences with service-based design have been through collaborations


MSU Service-Learning

with organizations and fellow students who wish to present their ideas with clear visual understanding.” Rebekah Herald is a senior studying Special Education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. “My passions are education for students with severe disabilities and providing educational opportunities in areas around the world where options are limited,” Ms. Herald said. Travis Crabtree is also going into his senior year and is studying Landscape Architecture. Mr. Crabtree said, “My desire is to promote healthy lifestyles to communities making them more sustainably resilient socially, economically, and environmentally.” Upcoming senior, Alexis Tentler is studying in Animal and Dairy Science with a concentration in Pre-Veterinary Science. Ms. Tentler said, “I currently work at a small animal clinic and help foster dogs through the Homeward Bound Project of Mississippi. I look forward to continuing my work with animals and furthering my education in veterinary medicine.”

“I look forward to working with students and making a lasting impact in Mississippi through the generosity of the Dawn Brancheau Foundation.” - Ms. Rebekah Herald Dawn Brancheau Service-Learning Scholar

Learn. Serve. Become.

Students each have a faculty mentor to collaborate with on their projects. They meet monthly with their faculty mentor and the CASLE Director to maintain accountability. The service-learning projects will be completed by spring 2015. The Director of CASLE in conjunction with members of the Dawn Brancheau Foundation will make recipient recommendations to the University Scholarship Committee. Scholarships are awarded on a year-toyear basis. Students who are recipients one year are eligible for consideration in any other year; however, they must again comply with the selection criteria. This scholarship will give students the opportunity to apply their academic achievements toward enhancing their communities in the same spirit of service in which Dawn lived her life. Pictured in the adjacent photos from top to bottom: Rebekah Herald will be mentored by Dr. Bethany McKissick, Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education. Travis Crabtree will be mentored by Mr. Cory Gallo, Assistant Professor in the Landscape Architecture Department. Alexis Tentler will be mentored by Dr. Carolyn Huntington, Director of Undergraduate Advising for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Instructor in the Animal and Dairy Sciences Department. Mickenzie Robbins will be mentored by Ms. Suzanne Powney, Assistant Professor in the Department of Art.

Spring 2014


SWEET POTATO INNOVATION CHALLENGE The MSU Extension Service launched the Sweet Potato Innovation Challenge during the Sweet Potato Council’s annual meeting in January. This challenge will get MSU students involved in creating prototypes for different uses of cull sweet potatoes. The students will be competing for prize money and intellectual property rights as they respond to the needs of Mississippi sweet potato farmers. The Sweet Potato Innovation Challenge is funded by a $50,000 grant awarded by the MSU Extension Service. Support for this challenge is provided in order to increase opportunities for undergraduate research, provide sweet potato producers with new products for cull sweet potatoes, and to create an engaging service-learning opportunity for students and teaching faculty. According to Dr. Stephen Meyers, Regional Sweet Potato Extension Specialist, “Consumers buy sweet potatoes with their eyes. Thus, sweet potatoes that are poorly shaped or seem to have damaged skin often do not go to market.” This forces farmers to throw away many sweet potatoes that could have sold between $40 to $60 a bin. The Center for the


MSU Service-Learning

Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence has recruited professors interested in making the challenge a service-learning component of their classes. Dr. Gary Jackson, Director of the MSU Extension Service said, “The growers told us they needed additional products and markets to make use of their seconds and culls so that they don’t lose that revenue. This new program is going to provide research opportunities for students and give them the chance to work with scientists to solve problems.” Student teams and faculty will meet with sweet potato stakeholders, develop a product concept, and submit a proposal to the challenge committee. Proposals that meet the challenge requirements and objectives will be awarded a $500 budget for prototype development. Completed projects will be judged by a panel of growers, MSU Extension faculty, Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer staff, and industry representatives. A $2,500 prize will be awarded to the winning team. Teams may also apply for intellectual property rights to develop their products according to MSU procedures.

Learn. Serve. Become.

“CAN OPENER” COMPETITION COMBINES 4-H YOUTH AND SERVICE-LEARNING At the Mississippi Volunteer Leaders’ Association (MVLA) Conference in March, CASLE announced the “I’m a Can Opener” Service-Learning Project Competition. This competition was available to all 4-H clubs in Mississippi who wished to design a service-learning project. The project needed to assist the 4-H youth of Mississippi to learn while serving and make a positive impact on their local communities. The idea behind the competition was to expand the learning for 4-H youth beyond more commonly known community service projects such as a canned food drive. While canned food drives provide a needed service, sponsoring a canned food drive is much like looking at an unmarked can. By looking at this can, 4-H youth can only gather a limited amount of information. However, with a service-learning project, 4-H youth learn more deeply about why their chosen project is important, the impact of the project on a community need, and how to contribute to meeting this need proactively. Through their servicelearning project as well as analysis and reflection, the 4-H youth become “can openers.” In order to win the competition, a 4-H club must post their service-learning project on the CASLE Facebook page using the hashtag #IMACANOPENER. Each 4-H club submission was required to include the name of the project and an explanation of the community partner need that will be met.

Each club had to submit the objectives and goals of the project to enrich 4-H youth learning and the ways the 4-H club will develop a partnership with their community partner (i.e. the 4-H youth will travel to the partner site). As a final requirement for submission, each club included a method by which they would reflect on the ways this project has impacted their views of the community or the topic they are learning about and a plan as to how the 4-H youth will share the knowledge gained from their service-learning project with the public. This competition includes entries such as the “Recycling on the Refuge” project by the Oktibbeha County Clover Dawgs 4-H Club. In this project, the club will visit the Noxubee Refuge and explore all it has to offer, while picking up litter that has been discarded along the road. This will teach the 4-H youth how to be responsible while learning the importance of not littering. In another project, the Clover Club of Pearl River County is partnering with their local food pantry, Brothers’ Keepers Ministries, to stock and distribute food for those in need. These projects are great examples of the service that Mississippi youth can provide through 4-H and service-learning. Submissions with the most “likes” on the CASLE Facebook page by May 27 will receive $200 toward their club or service-learning project.

Spring 2014


BLAZING A TRAIL FOR MISSISSIPPI BARN QUILTS Mississippians are no strangers to quilting. However, barn quilts are new to the state. A barn quilt, much like a fabric quilt, acts as both a commemoration to and a reminder of heritage and tradition. The American Quilt Trail is a collection of the hundreds of barn quilts that are both part of official trails and those simply painted by individuals wanting to decorate their buildings. While fabric quilts are comprised of various or repeating squares with designs and colors, barn quilts are usually one large square painted on a large board and mounted on a barn or other building. Vicki Burnett is a Mississippi artist, MSU alumna, and Chair of the Starkville Area Arts Council (SAAC) Oktibbeha County Barn Quilt Trail. Ms. Burnett and the SAAC want to create a series of barn quilts to provide more public art in the state and to draw visitors. This spring, Ms. Burnett partnered with Mr. Neil Callander’s ART 1133: Design II class to design quilts to be installed on buildings in Oktibbeha


MSU Service-Learning

County, including one quilt that will be placed at the MSU Horse Park (see top right photo below). For Mr. Callander’s class, the project was three-fold. First, students individually researched influences for the design and created mock-ups of their quilt squares. Second, students worked in groups and collaboratively combined their ideas to design and create 8’ x 8’ barn quilts. Finally, students reflected on the project and provided feedback to their fellow students. “We are incredibly fortunate to have the participation of Neil Callander’s and Suzanne Powney’s art classes at MSU,” Ms. Burnett said. “The students’ designs were impressive on the mock-ups when I visited their class in April; they are stunning now that they have been painted onto the 8’ x 8’ panels! Their vibrant, original designs add originality and excitement to our barn quilt trail.” The barn quilt squares will be installed in summer 2014 with plans for a formal unveiling in the fall.

Learn. Serve. Become.

SELECTED RESEARCH AND PRESENTATIONS Title: Partnering for publication at “The People’s University”: Supporting Faculty Pursuits to Develop Service-Learning Coursework and Publish Research Conference: The Colloquium on Libraries and Service Learning (CLSL) Abstract: In an effort to provide faculty at a 4-year, land-grant research institution with resources to research and publish their service-learning pedagogy, Mississippi State Libraries formed a partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence (CASLE). This presentation highlights the methods for beginning a partnership, including ideas like the creation of a service-learning liaison, a LibGuide, developing a servicelearning collection, and connecting faculty to service-learning research in their specific fields. Additionally, the presentation includes a guide on forming and sustaining partnerships between academic libraries and servicelearning entities. Title: Service-Learning in the Engineering Classroom Conference: Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference (ISERC) Abstract: At Mississippi State University (MSU), students in the Industrial Ergonomics course participated in a service-learning project with community partner N&W Farms. Operations at N&W Farms include cleaning, sorting, packaging, and shipping sweet potatoes. These operations allowed students to apply their ergonomics and design skills learned in the course as well as gain an appreciation for how ergonomics can be used to help others in the community. Student teams toured the facility and were required to develop a project plan, collect data on their assigned operation, and design operations and ergonomics improvements for their assigned operation. Team deliverables included a project plan, technical project report, final class showcase, dissemination product and individual reflective journals. This paper includes a summary of student perceptions of the service-learning project, samples of student work, and advice for incorporating service-learning into the industrial engineering classroom. Title: Reflecting on Service-Learning in Architecture: Increasing the Academic Relevance of Public Interest Design Projects Conference: Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Abstract: Most architecture programs include public interest design as a form of both outreach to the community and education for their students. This is done either through design studios working with a real client, or a community design center. The majority of these endeavors reflect only on the architectural impact of the project: how it educates the students, meets curricular requirements, and fits into a faculty member’s research agenda. Rarely, if ever, do the students and faculty reflect on the actual service-learning, or the impact on the client, end-user, and community-at-large and how these unique situations affect all parties. This paper challenges the architecture education community to integrate service-learning into public interest design to further understand and develop the benefits of providing these services as part of architecture education. Title: Restoring, Invigorating and Transforming Small Towns through Community-University Partnerships Conference: The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference Abstract: Panelists will describe successful service-learning projects which have received national awards and NEA grants. These projects have improved student learning and provided people living in rural communities with new ways to govern their living environments while enhancing the larger ecosystem services. While service-learning centers are prevalent in US higher education institutions, CASLE is unique in that it partners Academic Affairs with the Extension Service to provide direct access to counties, agents, specialists, and faculty across the state. The Center enhances research being conducted in practice-based disciplines across the university but uniquely in landscape architecture. Panel members will illustrate the potential value of this collaboration in the education of the next generation of landscape architects, planners, and designers.

Spring 2014


ABBREVIATED GIFTS AND GRANTS REPORT Gifts Awarded to CASLE Gift Donated By Title Award Amount Dawn Brancheau Foundation Dawn Brancheau Service-Learning Scholarship $8,000 The Dawn Brancheau Foundation has partnered with CASLE to sponsor a service-learning scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded once annually to four undergraduate students with at least a 3.0 GPA who are either juniors or seniors enrolled full-time and show a passion for areas such as a love of children, gardening and the environment, card-making, and animals. Each student will complete a service-learning project in their chosen focus area. Award Granted By Title Award Amount MSU Extension Service Sweet Potato Innovation Challenge $50,000 The Challenge is an Extension-driven program that combines service, teaching, and research into a unified effort to find tangible solutions to a real-life problem. In so doing the Challenge will 1) increase undergraduate research opportunities (a current emphasis at MSU); 2) deliver a portfolio of new products from cull sweet potatoes for Mississippi’s sweet potato producers; and 3) provide a challenging, engaging service-learning opportunity for students and teaching faculty. Award Granted By Title Award Amount Starkville Area Arts Council Thinking Outside the Box: $300 Engineering Arts for Starkville’s Children This project was a partnership between CASLE, the Departments of Art (DOA), and Mechanical Engineering (ME). As part of the ME 1111 service-learning course, MSU students planned and executed an educational space/ resource room to be located in the MSU Visual Arts Center.

Gifts Awarded by CASLE Awarded To Title Award Amount Dr. Kay Brocato Studio School 2013: Human Body Science $3,500 Studio School 2013: Human Body Science was a partnership project between 1) local public school students, families, and communities, 2) local school districts which serve these students, and 3) faculty in the Department of Leadership and Education Foundations, the Department of Kinesiology, and the Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering and Agriculture Extension at MSU.


MSU Service-Learning

Learn. Serve. Become.

SPECIAL THANKS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS CASLE would like to thank the MSU Office of Public Affairs, MSU Agricultural Communications, Kerri Collins Lewis, and Suzanne Powney for their contributions to this publication. CASLE staff contributors to the Spring 2014 issue include Joshua “Buck” Hutchins, Kayla Varney, and Noelle Avenmarg. A special thanks to Buck and Kayla for their service as CASLE interns. Please send your questions or comments to CASLE Director Dr. April Heiselt at Discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran’s status is a violation of federal and state law and university policy and will not be tolerated. Discrimination based upon sexual orientation or group affiliation is a violation of university policy and will not be tolerated. Mississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution.

CONTACT Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence 311C Bost Extension Drive Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS 39762 Phone: (662) 325-2370 Email: Website: Facebook: Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence Twitter: @CASLE_MSU

Spring 2014


Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence 311C Bost Extension Drive Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS 39762 Phone: (662) 325-2370 Email:


Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President

CASLE Magazine - Spring 2014 Edition  
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