Gephardt Institute names service-learning grant recipients

The Gephardt Institute for Public Service has announced the recipients of its first Community-Based Teaching and Learning Faculty Grants Program.

Community-based teaching and learning, also known as service-learning, is embraced by schools and departments across Washington University.

Key elements of service-learning include faculty oversight, learning activities in service to an organization or community and course content and assignments connected to service.

The grant program was established to provide five faculty members with $2,500, which can be applied to curriculum development expenses.

A year-end gift from Congressman Richard A. Gephardt enabled the Institute to additionally offer two full grants and two partial grants.

“Our goal is to champion the work of faculty embracing this pedagogy and support their innovation,” said Amanda Moore McBride, Ph.D., institute director and assistant professor at the George Warren Brown School of Work.

“We intend to grow the program so that students can have further opportunities — at both the undergraduate and graduate levels — to learn in applied settings while benefiting the community,” she said.

Recipients for 2008 are:

Ramesh Agarwal, Ph.D., the William Palm Professor of Mechancial Engineering & Aerospace. The grant will partially fund information sharing at the National Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) conference so that the undergraduate course, “Fluid Mechanics,” can incorporate energy efficiency assessments for homes in underserved neighborhoods.

Jami Ake, assistant dean and lecturer in Arts & Sciences. The grant will fund group service projects at Lydia’s House, a transitional housing project for formerly battered women and children in St. Louis in conjunction with the undergraduate course “Service-Learning: Projects in Domestic Violence.”

Linda Cottler, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology in psychiatry. The grant will fund project delivery costs associated with “HealthStreet: Hands-On Community-Based Research,” which trains first-year medical students as community health outreach workers in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.

Ron Fondaw, professor of sculpture. The grant will fund student art proposals and projects for seven Grace Hill Health Clinics through the undergraduate course, “University City Public Art Project,” which introduces the theory of art as a way to serve the community.

Dan Koster III, visiting assistant professor of architecture and Weese Fellow. The grant will fund student’s collaborative development of an urban agriculture business through the undergraduate and graduate course, “Community Development in the Ville: Community Supported Agriculture.”

Gay Lorberbaum, affiliate associate professor in the College of Architecture. The grant will fund a problem-solving workshop about architecture, community and the environment for fourth through ninth graders in St. Louis public schools through the undergraduate and graduate practicum course, “The Alberti Program – Architecture of Young People.”

Beth Martin, lecturer in Arts & Sciences. The grant will fund community-identified research and educational projects associated with River des Peres in the “Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies,” which is required for all Environmental Studies majors.

Mungai Mutonya, Ph.D., senior lecturer in Arts & Sciences. The grant will partially fund student transportation and teaching supplies required to assist African refugees living in University City as a service-learning component of the undergraduate courses, “Swahili II” and “Swahili IV.”

Peggy Neufeld, Ph.D., assistant professor of occupational therapy and of neurology. The grant will fund student-led needs assessments and program planning at 11 community sites through two courses, “Community Health and Occupational Therapy” and “Organization and Management in Occupational Therapy.”