began with informal conversations and hallway meetings well
over a year ago. It took a step forward at the university's
administrative retreat in Pullman last October when Extension
volunteered to put energy into helping establish new service
learning opportunities across the state.
The concept is gelling this fall as the first formal pilot
service learning collaboration between Extension and
department is in full swing.
Lisa Shipley, associate professor of natural resource sciences,
is having students in her introductory wildlife management
course (Natural Resource Science 280) visit with private landowners
around the state to learn about the wildlife management issues
they face daily. Assisted by Extension Coordinator Janean
Creighton, and county Extension faculty in Stevens, Kitsap
and Whitman counties, Shipley has arranged visits with forest,
shore and range landowners. Students will interview the owners,
observe conditions and identify a topic to develop into an
Helping support this service learning project is a $25,000
grant from the office of the provost to enhance undergraduate
teaching and learning. The grant application, written
Brown, director of WSU's Community Service Learning Center,
will be used to offset some of the costs of developing
implementing new course initiatives involving service learning.
Brown, along with several other colleagues from across the
institution, have been meeting for the past five months to
plan the implementation of this project. They already are
looking for additional grant opportunities that would enable
an expansion of service learning in WSU's undergraduate curriculum.
Just what is Service Learning?
Melanie Brown offers this definition: "Service learning
is a type of experiential learning with both short- and long-term
goals. In the short term, service learning aims to enhance
learning by engaging students in meaningful and academically
relevant community-based projects.
vision or long-term goal of service learning is to
equip graduates, as community citizens, with the tools
to address the pressing issues of our society."
The service learning movement has grown exponentially over
the past two decades, according to Brown. In 1985, four universities
joined together to form Campus Compact, a national coalition
of university presidents committed to the civic purposes of
higher education. Service learning is one manifestation of
this commitment. Today Campus Compact boasts a membership
of more than 900 institutions.
Brown, director of WSU's Community Service Learning
Center defines service learning as,
'a type of experiential learning with both short- and long-term goals.'
has motivated Extension to become involved with this movement?
Kirk Fox, associate dean and associate director of Extension
at WSU explained: 'As part of our strategic plan, operationalizing
the concept of university-wide extension is a key element.
Creating programmatic partnerships between county extension
educators and campus-based departments is one very obvious
and powerful way to bring the resources of the university
to every county of the state.'
For the concept to be successful and sustainable, it has
to be a win-win-win situation. Students must have an engaging
opportunity to serve, their instructors must value the kind
of learning such an opportunity will bring, and the county
offices must feel that participating will help them meet
the programmatic objectives they have for their counties.
Certainly, for campus faculty who wish to enhance their
curriculum with a service learning component, the opportunity
to move beyond Pullman to become involved in service learning
projects expands the options significantly.
service learning in my NATRS 280 course provides me with
a richer and more rewarding teaching experience," said
Lisa Shipley. 'In addition, I strongly believe that the
opportunity to work with the public enhances my students'
Colville, where the first visits are taking place, Extension
Educator Peter Griessmann is knee-deep in the process.
Throughout his Extension career, he said he has been motivated to "do
the right thing," and to me "this just feels
He noted that many young people from Stevens County who
go off to college come back to live in the area at some
point in their lives. He feels that the service learning
visits he has arranged will help students make a strong
link between the theory they learn in the classroom and
the real issues landowners must grapple with every day.
"The more people who understand the natural resource issues
from many perspectives, the easier time we will have moving
forward toward common goals." Next spring, in collaboration
with Extension's Master Gardener program, students in Landscape
Architecture 363 may have an opportunity to participate
in design of a community garden for individuals with disabilities.
The future of Extension's involvement with service learning
is indeed growing.
Extension Program Leader
4-H'ers from Washington and Idaho picked up trash and
pulled weeds along a highway outside Pullman as part of
a joint service learning project in June.
Service Learning a Cornerstone of 4-H
Dressed in jeans and T-shirts, 20 teenagers
trudged along Davis Way on the west edge of Pullman
collecting trash and pulling weeds. The young people
came from all over the state, more than a few from
On the same warm June afternoon, another group of teenagers
entertained residents at Good Samaritan Village in
Idaho, while others read to children at WSU's Children's
Center. The teenagers were among more than 400 Washington
and Idaho 4-H'ers who spent an afternoon working side-by-side
on a dozen community service learning projects in Pullman
learning is community service with a twist,' said Jennifer
Hope, WSU extension adolescent coordinator. 'It is based
on the traditional concept of community service, but
within the experience, there is learning for the participants.
of our groups cleared a nature trail for Moscow Parks.
Community service would be just the clearing, but when
our objective is service learning, the participants
also learn about the natural foliage growing along the
trail, what can be removed without endangering wildlife
in that area, or perhaps the historical value of the
idea is that a service learning opportunity might
a greater appreciation for the service itself and teach
the participants who are new in the process.' The
and Idaho teens were brought together by their respective
state 4-H conferences which met in Pullman and Moscow
during the same weekthe first time in some
85 years. 'More than anything, I think 4-H is community
service,' Hope said. 'I don't think that's the image
most people have. I think most people think of animals
and home economics.' She said the 4-H pledge reflects
the organization's commitment to community service:
'We better ourselves for our club, our community,
country and our world.' As part of the youth organization's
national centennial celebration last year, Washington
4-H members and their adult youth volunteers pledged
to do more than a million hours of community service.
'One county's youth club pledged 40 hours of mowing
lawns and house cleaning for elderly residents in
community who couldn't do those kinds of things,' Hope
had a group in Lincoln County that built a computer
lab for their community. It's still running. It allows
people who don't have access to the technology to
in, take classes, and learn how to build a resumé and
search the Internet.' What do 4-H'ers get out of the
experience? 'A lot of people have helped me,' said
Chappell, Shelton. He was one of the 4-H'ers pulling
weeds along Davis Way. 'It makes me feel good to put
back into the community.'