Gina Santoro, MFA
Associate Professor of English, Community College of Rhode Island
The Bottled Water Initiative
Through a community partnership with McAuley Ministries and the Sisters of Mercy, Santoro invited students to investigate an issue of worldwide importance: bottled water and its environmental impact. The two courses, Media Writing and Oral Communications, incorporated work with the nonprofit and the public issue as service-learning in the course curriculum, enabling students to write persuasive and educational pieces using information on the topic gleaned through research. Santoro reported being amazed and humbled at participating students’ talent in creating and executing projects to education their fellow Rhode Islanders on the topic of bottled water.
Karl Aspelund, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Design, Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design, University of Rhode Island
Creating Educational Material and Models for Action: Students Investigating Communities and Teaching Sustainability in Textiles and Apparel
Focusing on the sustainability of apparel and design – re-use, repair, and recycle – Dr. Aspelund spread the message of sustainability through strategic application of undergraduate research. As a Faculty Fellow, Karl led apparel design students in qualitative research around sustainability in the campus-community through the lens of community use of apparel resources. The class utilized the findings in collaboration with local schools to develop curriculum around the topics of sustainability and conservation; making environmental use of materials accessible to an earlier education audience. An investigation that began in a college-level classroom grew outward into a dialogue with educators, on and off campus as students investigated their environment and the impact of the life-cycle of textiles.
Autumn Quezada-Grant, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History, Roger Williams University
Community-based Learning and Study Abroad Opportunities
Dr. Quezada-Grant developed three service-learning programs and modeled a deep commitment to community engagement during her engaged scholarship fellowship. The projects include an oral history project that connects Roger Williams University and the Bristol-Warren communities; a study abroad course in El Salvador that immerses RWU students in a community through a health clinic outreach program; and a study abroad program in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where RWU students commit to serving with a community-based organization. The oral history project engages students in conducting and recording oral history interviews with the idea that students can become emissaries for RWU who can in turn teach community members how to record and document their own family histories. The study abroad experience inspired the development of a credit-bearing course mixing cultural history and public health to provide context to the student experience. All three projects established deep practices of community-based learning and continue as opportunities for community engagement and immersion.
Peter Bortolotti, MBA
Associate Professor of Marketing, Johnson & Wales University
Trinity Restoration, Inc.
As a professor at Johnson and Wales’ Providence campus, Dr. Bortolotti’s goal is to educate students to become well-rounded, highly principled leaders who are prepared to communicate effectively; analyze and solve problems; view issues from multiple perspectives; and lead with a strong sense of ethical responsibility. Dr. Bortolloti’s work as an engaged scholar helped students develop and employ such skills inside and outside the classroom in Providence. Trinity Restoration Inc. (TRI) comprised the central community engagement experience facilitated as the fellowship project. Created an opportunity for community service-learning through JWU’s Directed Work Experience program and Brand, Strategic and Direct Marketing courses. Leveraged other departments in TRI and SWAP, with whom Peter maintains a close relationship as a board member. Vision of maximizing student service to benefit the revitalization of the South Side of Providence.
Caroline Gottschalk Druschke, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric, University of Rhode Island
Writing for Community Service
This faculty fellowship project stemmed from Dr. Gottschalk Druschke’s deep commitment to practicing service-learning pedagogy and a desire to get to know Rhode Island communities and University of Rhode Island students in order to strengthen a key Writing and Rhetoric course, Writing for Community Service. Caroline engaged students, faculty, and community partners in a feedback process to inform the re-design of the course that matched student writer volunteers with a variety of non-profit organizations. Students produced several pieces of writing throughout the semester, all created for the organization with which they were matched. Caroline revamped the course according to the community and campus context and built lasting community partnerships between her, the course, the rotating semesters of students, and the agencies while advocating for the use of service-learning pedagogy across the University of Rhode Island.
Holly Dygert, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Rhode Island College
Engaged Anthropology: The Tidewater Project
Dr. Dygert supports engaged scholarship within the classroom to support and model more just modes of engaging with the community. As a faculty fellow, Dr. Dygert incorporated a community project into the course Applied Anthropology. The students in the course selected to work on “The Tidewater Project” which focuses on a 27-acre contaminated brownfield site in Pawtucket, located in a residential neighborhood. With a clean-up ongoing at the site, the students engaged in a study of potential hazards at the site and made efforts to convey that information to people living in the community. Linkages were built with multiple organizations involved at the site and student groups continue to work on advocacy around the site through Dr. Dygert’s community-based coursework.
Kelly Brooks, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Roger Williams University
Service-Learning in Applied Social Psychology
Dr. Brooks teaches courses that focus on students’ knowledge and understandings about the experiences of diverse groups of people and social issues, objectives that can be deepened by contact with the community. One course in particular, Multicultural Psychology, endeavors to help students develop cultural competence, which includes the ability to interact successfully with others with social identities different than one’s own. As a faculty fellow, Dr. Brooks deepened curricular service-learning with particular regard to addressing the community issue of college access through an upper-level Applied Psychology course. Dr. Brooks built relationships with college access organizations working in Rhode Island and created opportunities for RWU students enrolled in the course to gain immediate experience with some of the theories surrounding the psychological determinants of student success.
Allison Petro, M.A.
Associate Professor of English, Community College of Rhode Island
Service-Learning Across Contexts: Examining the Rationale and Benefits
Allison Petro utilized the RICC Faculty Fellowship to explore the rationale and benefits of service-learning in a community college context. Particularly thinking about the students served at CCRI and the opportunities for community involvement offered by service-learning, Petro learned from the statewide cohort about different approaches and applied that learning within both the CCRI context and in her teaching abroad in Odessa, Ukraine.
Robyn Linde, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Director of International Nongovernmental Organizations Program, Rhode Island College
Institutionalizing Experiential Education in INGOs
As director of the International Nongovernmental Organizations program, Dr. Linde entered the fellowship with a goal of redesigning the INGOs program to connect students’ academic interests with the needs of their local and global communities. As part of that goal, Dr. Linde developed campus-community partnerships with two organizations in order to create a service-learning component in the course INGOs and Social Entrepreneurship. This accomplished a linkage of theory and practice for participating RIC students, who typically have limited experience in the professional world yet express eagerness for involvement in community projects focused on social change. In addition, for those students unable to take an unpaid internship, the class component offers valuable and comparable experience. Linde maximized student input in the trajectory of the service-learning project and engaged students in exploring the landscape of entrepreneurship in the nonprofit community.
Mea Simanski, Ph.D. (ABD)
Adjunct Faculty in Sociology and Anthropology, Salve Regina University
Introducing Service-Learning Alongside Introductory Sociology
Mea aimed through the RICC Faculty Fellowship to coordinate the various types of public service at Salve Regina University through the construction of an annual recognition ceremony for Public Service Scholars. In addition, Mea pioneered a service-learning component in a sociology course that partnered with a middle school in Middletown, RI, around a bullying project exploring the association of bullying and teen suicide.
Lisa Sisco, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, MBA Program, Johnson and Wales University
Reciprocal Learning in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Dr. Sisco designed a course, “Strategic Communications,” to help students develop and practice business communication skills. Students act as consultants to various partner organizations and work closely throughout the course to address the organization’s’ communication needs. The course activities promote student refinement of skills, explorations of diverse organizations, and develops an understanding of organizational structure and operation. Dr. Sisco, through the fellowship, explored academic interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and offered workshops on service-learning in RI.