Service Learning bringing community back to CCC

By VANESSA DWYER

Service learning at CCC has been active since Fall 2012. It was created to help students learn about their community and make education more realistic by doing “hands on” projects within their career choices.

Service learning is an interactive teaching method meaningful for students so they can take what they learn and apply it to real life settings in a community. Methods such as classroom teaching, service to the community, and reflecting and evaluating their experiences is part of the curriculum.

Students engage in opportunities for a certain amount of hours per week in an academically-centered service learning project. Students have to exhibit professional ethnics and appropriate behavior abiding to the standard rules of conduct established by CCC. Students also have to complete all assignments and training required. This experience will help students gain leadership skills and connect their classroom learning with a “hands-on” experience that betters the community.

The advantages of taking service-learning classes is personal growth and development, civic engagement, and academic enhancements. Students also increase their knowledge about their community, expand their career choices, develop contacts, and add service learning experiences to their transcripts.

The faculty engages service learning in many different ways. Faculty collaborate with local organizations so students can learn to organize outreach programs, work at homeless shelters, and tutor elementary children. Some faculty assign a service-learning project as a mandatory class project. The entire class works on the project as a replacement for an assignment.

Don’t confuse community service with participating in service learning. Community service participants volunteer for needs of a particular organization. When engaging in service learning, you’re meeting the needs for your community as well as increasing your academic achievements.

There are many opportunities coordinated by the Student Life Office (SLO) for service learning. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Service has been one project that is held every January. SLO also engages in other service learning projects to better each participating student’s experience.

Faculty and students had traveled around the world participating in planned service learning projects to broaden students’ view and experience. CCC is one of 23 charter members of New Jersey Chapter of Compact. Compact was formed in 1985 as a national organization to advance service learning in higher education. There are 1,200 campuses nationwide, across 34 states.

  Dr. Kimberly Ayres, Director, shares, “Service learning is an alternative way of learning. About 90% of feedback has been positive about CCC’s service learning projects. Some students have been offered jobs from doing service learning projects because it’s an academic reference comparable to an internship.”

Service learning is available in participating academic courses: Psychology, Sociology, Health Sciences, Freshmen Seminar, Developmental English and Communications.

Want to learn more and become involved? Visit Dr. Ayres in the Vice President’s Office Suite located on the first floor of the Academic Building. Or you can call 856-691-8600 ext. 1208 or email kayers@cccnj.edu.

 
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