June 04, 2015

Reese, Knapp named service-learning faculty fellows

Two faculty members will serve as fellows in a new program designed to improve student learning and community engagement. 

Dona Reese, associate professor of social work, and Bobbi Knapp, assistant professor of kinesiology, will be the Service Learning Faculty Fellows during the 2015-2016 academic year. The fellowships, administered through the Office of the Associate Provost for Academic Programs and the Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism, offer experience and skill development for university faculty members interested in service learning. 

The program provides an opportunity for selected fellows to engage in ongoing activities of the associate provost and the service learning and volunteerism center. Fellows will assist and collaborate with colleagues on their service-learning courses. They will also collect and analyze data from the campus and community about outreach and partnerships between the university and the region. 

James Allen, associate provost for academic programs, said the criteria for recognition by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching have expanded beyond research to include community engagement, such as service learning. “It is important that when we report to the Carnegie Foundation we demonstrate progress in service learning and volunteerism. Our hope is to create a richer campus culture of community engagement,” Allen said.  

Outstanding faculty members with this special expertise in service learning makes starting the new fellowship program much easier. Reese, the fall 2015 fellow, has a national reputation in community engagement in the social work of hospice care. Reese has demonstrated this research interest through her teaching based in the community. 

“Reese’s commitment to eliminating homelessness in Carbondale by helping to develop a community collaboration, the Sparrow Coalition, will allow her to assist us in building a campus culture of service learning,” Allen said. 

Knapp, the spring 2016 fellow, developed the “Step Up Campaign” as part of her service learning course on socio-economic inequality. Everyone needs to "step up” to address poverty. Knapp believes “being a faculty fellow for service learning will allow her to grow as a faculty member while enhancing the learning experience for her students and providing valuable services to the local community.” 

Along with a direct impact on student learning, the new program also supports SIU’s larger role as a major research institution, Allen said. The university is fulfilling its commitment to the community defined by the Carnegie Foundation as “a partnership of university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; to enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; to prepare educated, engaged citizens; to strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; to address critical societal issues; and to contribute to the public good.” 

“That’s who we are at SIU; that’s just what we do,” Allen said. “I’m delighted that great faculty talent, like Dona and Bobbi, make it happen." 

Guidelines and program information are available here.

Dona Reese

Dona Reese

Bobbi Knapp

Bobbi Knapp