At HWS, there are many things that bring together students, faculty and staff from across all departments. One of those pervasive ties is service learning. In a recent book, titled “Service Learning and the Liberal Arts: How and Why It Works,” members of the community came together to explore and expose one of the Colleges’ best kept secrets – there’s as much to learn outside the classroom as there is inside.
Professor of Public Policy Studies and Political Science Craig Rimmerman – editor of the new title – explains that service learning provides, “an opportunity for students and faculty to apply a rigorous pedagogical framework to the work that we all do in our individual courses and how those courses might connect to the surrounding Geneva, New York community.”
In addition to a foreword by President Mark D. Gearan and an introduction from Rimmerman, “Service Learning and the Liberal Arts” includes chapters from 11 HWS faculty members and several staff members. Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) Assistant Director Katie Flowers and Professor of Education Charlie Temple team up to write “America Reads as Service-Learning: A Stereophonic Report.” Professor of Religious Studies Michael Dobkowski writes “Teaching the Unteachable: Service-Learning and Engagement in the Teaching of Genocide and the Holocaust.” These are only two of the multifaceted perspectives included in the vanguard publication.
Others include: “Service-Learning in an Ethics Course” by Professor of Philosophy Steven Lee; “Service-Learning: Process and Participation” by Professor of Sociology Jack D. Harris; “Understanding Service at the Service of Understanding: An Exploration of Service-Learning in the Arts” by Professor of Education Patrick Collins; “Service-Learning and Public Policy” and “Service Learning Lessons” by Rimmerman; “Incorporating Service-Learning in Quantitative Methods Economics Courses” by Associate Professor of Economics Jo Beth Mertens; “The Evolution of a Service-Learning Course” by Former William Smith Dean and Professor of Psychology Debra DeMeis and Professor Emerita of Education Cynthia Sutton; “Learning about Student Alcohol Abuse and Helping to Prevent It through Service-Learning Initiatives: The HWS Alcohol Education Project” by Professor of Chemistry David Craig and Professor of Sociology H. Wesley Perkins; and “HWS Responds: A Case Study of How the Civic Engagement Office and Co-curricular Service-Learning Can Enhance the Liberal Arts” by CCESL Director W. Averell H. Bauder ’81.
“I wanted to do something very serious on service learning that involved my colleagues at Hobart and William Smith who I knew were engaged in service learning in their courses,” explained Rimmerman. “It occurred to me that an interdisciplinary volume on service learning would represent the best of what Hobart and William Smith has to offer-faculty interrogating their pedagogical practices in light of what we perceive are the goals of a liberal arts education and what the literature says about using service learning as a pedagogical strategy.”
Rimmerman adds that, “…those of us who engage in it as a pedagogical strategy reflect seriously upon its relevant strengths and weaknesses in our day-to-day courses and in our scholarly work.” That made it the perfect topic for the recent HWS text.