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Service learning gets shot in the arm with $15,000 grant
Photos and Story by James Hill
The Grants Office at PCC has announced the award of $15,000 from the American Association of Community Colleges to the college’s service-learning program.
The Service-Learning Program at Portland Community College is a lead institution in the American Association of Community Colleges Community Colleges Broadening Horizons through Service-Learning program. In a national competition, Jennifer Alkezweeny, PCC service-learning coordinator, became one of four mentors in the AACC Horizons project.
As an AACC mentor, Alkezweeny will disseminate successful program models and provide training and technical assistance to Horizons mentee institutions. Alkezweeny is recognized for her experience with creating and institutionalizing a formal Service-Learning program. The PCC Service-Learning program will receive $15,000 during the next three years. The grant will also include a promotional DVD to highlight the PCC Service-Learning program and enhancements to its Web page. www.pcc.edu/servicelearning
“It’s an honor to be selected as a mentor,” said Alkezweeny. “The AACC Horizons program is well-respected in the service-learning field. I’m proud to join this network of scholars and professionals.”
Service-learning combines community service with classroom instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking as well as personal and civic responsibility. Service learning programs involve students in activities that address local needs while developing their academic skills and commitment to their community.
“Community colleges have unique strengths in the service-learning field that many universities do not have,” said Gail Robinson, AACC Service-Learning Manager. “The institutions are grounded in the community. Our students live and work and play in the same community in which they go to school and in which they serve.”
In 2005-2006, the PCC Service-Learning program engaged nearly 1,060 students in 15,671 hours of service to the community, with an economic impact of $282,704.
“Portland Community College can serve as a model and a mentor to institutions around the country because of the community partnerships they’ve built and because of the work done to develop their faculty,” said Robinson. “It’s a wonderful model for other colleges to follow.”
The Service-Learning Program unites PCC with the greater community through civic participation, service-learning and volunteerism. The service-learning program focuses on cultivating community partnerships, facilitating course development and supporting faculty. The college was honored as a Learn and Serve America Higher Education sub-grantee through Oregon Campus Compact from 2003-2006 and recognized in the 2006 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, responding to the call of President Bush to support the mission of civic engagement at our nation’s colleges and universities
For more information, contact Alkezweeny at 503-977-4419.