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wvwc-annual-report

Page history last edited by Bonner Office 11 years, 8 months ago

West Virginia WesleyanCollege

 

The Community Engagement Initiative

The Community Engagement Initiative is a chronological register of the news and events that have occurred at West VirginiaWesleyanCollege since the spring of 2007 as a result of the newly adopted Community Engagement initiative as outlined by President Balch.

 

April 2007

 

1st Annual “Celebration of Service” 

The Upshur County Family Resource Network held the first annual “Celebration of Service” in April in Wesley Chapel recognizing Wesleyan’s involvement with UpshurCounty and community service agencies. 

“We know how important Wesleyan is to us,” says Joyce Harris-Thacker, Director of the Upshur County Family Resource Network.  “The service organizations and agencies in UpshurCounty have had the opportunity to benefit from Wesleyan.”

Dr. Balch addressed the gathering, describing her vision for service and leadership and outlined the steps needed to move from our institution from GOOD to GREAT.

1)   Provide a structure at Wesleyan that informs and supports service.

2)   Support students with logistical help and training.

3)      Make community service and civic engagement a growing component of the academic mission.

May 2007  

International Service Trip: Atenas, Costa Rica

            In May 2006, faculty, staff, and students traveled to Bolivia and Russia to gain global perspectives utilizing a service-learning component in the class syllabi.  With the success of those trips, another service related international trip was developed for May Term 2007: a travel course to Costa Rica that focused on the study of two communities: Atenas, Costa Rica and Buckhannon, WV.  The students gained insight into the workings of each community, with attention to civic life and social networks. 

 

Review of Federal Community Service Work Study Program

The WVWC Federal Community Service Work Study Program places students with several community agencies in semester long placements based on identified needs.  Each community partner is asked to participate in the program in ways that benefit the student/s in their placement through learning opportunities, as well as meeting service goals.

With new revisions in place, each partner receives a detailed handbook with background information, placement forms, service agreements and job descriptions work sheets that result in providing a more stable environment for the students to learn about and participate in the mission of the agencies.  At the end of each semester, there is an evaluation process that allows for discussion of service goals and student performance.

 

June 2007

First Annual Community Engagement Retreat: The Mountain Institute

            Located in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, the Mountain Institute served as a welcoming retreat site for 24 Wesleyan faculty, staff, VISTA staff, campus administrators and representatives from the community to consider Wesleyan’s history and future implementation of service and community engagement.  With President Balch’s commitment to community engagement becoming an integral part of the strategic planning process, the retreat provided a venue for all participants to exchange ideas and develop a common vision for our campus.  The Vice Presidents of Finance and Student Development, as well as faculty representing multiple disciplines, such as education, nursing, political science, communication, math, english, sociology, and business were in attendance.  The staff also represented different departments, such as Student Development, Bonner Scholars, Housing and Residence Life, Advancement, and Church Relations.  Community partners from the Family Resource Network and the Upshur County Cooperative Parish were also present and assisted in the planning process.  At the June Retreat, members discussed the implementation of community engagement initiatives within Academics, Student Life, and the infrastructure of WVWC as a whole, and developed learning outcomes for students, WVWC, and the community.

 

July 2007  

Community Engagement Learning Outcomes

            As a result of the planning at the CE Retreat at the Mountain Institute many ideas initiatives regarding the community engagement movement at WVWC came into focus.  The Community Engagement Learning Outcomes document captured the main ideas generated by all retreat participants.  These outcomes begin by defining outcomes for students: cognitive development, intra- and inter-personal skills, cultural and social perspectives, and student leadership.  Also listed in the document are outcomes for the community – local, regional, national, and global – and WVWC as an institution.  These outcomes were presented to and adopted by the WVWC Strategic Planning Committee at their July meeting. 

  

VISTA Network Expands 

            In the summer of 2007, the VISTA Network in UpshurCounty expanded to include partnerships with community agencies and WVWC.  Working together, the VISTA Network supports agency goals and student learning through hands-on service experiences.  Currently, VISTAs can be found at the following locations: 

-          Jessica Auxier ’07 – UpshurCounty Cooperative Parish 

-          Leslie Batove ’06 –StockertYouthCenter

-          Lesli Beavers ’06 – Office of Community Engagement (WVWC) 

-          LaShawn Lewis ’07 – UpshurCounty Literacy Volunteers

-          Brooke Rawson ’07 – Institute for Social and Community Research (WVWC)

The intentional goal setting with the community provides the opportunity for WVWC to collaborate closely with the Family Resource Network, and other community agencies associated therein.

 

Community Asset Mapping Project Completed

Last year, the West Virginia Wesleyan College Sociology Department created a research institute that shared the college’s educational resources with the local, regional, national, and global community.  The Institute for Social and Community Research (ISCR) engaged in a number of projects directly related to the research needs of both service agencies and organizations and the community as a whole.

A major initiative, the Community Asset Mapping Project (C.A.M.P.), was conducted in conjunction with the Upshur County Family Resource Network.  The mapping project identified all service agencies and organizations in UpshurCounty and collected as much information as possible on how these organizations work and what services they provide.  Information was compiled and disseminated into a comprehensive handbook and computer database which is accessible to all community agencies and the public at large.

 

September 2007

Faculty Colloquium: Arianne Hoy from the Bonner Foundation

Ms. Arianne Hoy, senior program officer from the Bonner Foundation, presented at the September 2007 faculty colloquium titled “Forging Next Steps for Civic Engagement.”  This presentation was a follow up from Hoy’s visit to campus last year when she facilitated a discussion with faculty, staff and administration regarding the connection of higher education institutions to the national civic engagement movement.  While on campus, Ms. Hoy met with faculty members and campus administrators to discuss the implementation of community engagement initiatives across campus.

 

Four First Year Seminars to Utilize Community Engagement

            This fall semester, four first year seminars integrated a community engagement component into the course work:

-          The ABC’s of Appalachia – Drs. Deborah Bush and Lynn Rupp (Education),

-          Leadership – Dr. Susan Aloi (Education),

-          Exploring Community Engagement – LeeAnn Brown (Director of Community Engagement) and Angela Gay Kinkead (Dean of the Chapel), and

-          Women in Leadership – Julie Keehner (Dean of Student Affairs) 

Dr. Debbie Bush commented: “Students were able to apply what we learned in class about the characteristics of Appalachians to the people whom they served at the Parish House.  Some students have continued working with the Parish House this (spring) semester.”

 

Goal Setting and the Site-Based Plan

            The office of Community Engagement developed a planning model this fall to increase the effectiveness of student service efforts through goal setting. The Site-Based Planning Model is a planning tool, which has been used extensively by student leaders on campus and by non-profit agencies in the Buckhannon community. The model includes identifying goals, setting strategies, making task assignments, designing training needs and utilizing guided reflection.  The model is continually being revised and will be disseminated to additional campus organizations for use as a campus-wide model for use with service projects, events and collaborations. 

 

October 2007 

 

Conference Travel for Students

 

Student attendance at national and regional conferences was a goal of the office of Community Engagement this year. Thus far, Bonner Scholars and other WVWC students have attended two different social justice conferences, and two more are scheduled for this spring.  In the fall, students traveled to Spartanburg, South Carolina to attend WoffordCollege’s “Engaging Our World Conference.”  At the beginning of the 2008 spring semester, a group of Bonner Scholars attended a regional conference in WashingtonDC, sponsored by the United Students for Fair Trade.  Later this spring, students will be attending two more conferences: WVU’s “MovingMountains”, and the Bonner Foundation’s “IMPACT Conference” located in Boston, MA.  In all cases, students returned with resources and ideas for projects regarding leadership on campus, site management, as well as connections with student leaders at other colleges.

 

December 2007

 

Community Engagement Course Development Grants

 

This past fall, Dr. Deborah Bush, Assistant Professor of Education and Interim Director of the Institute for Social and Community Research, announced the availability of a course development grant opportunity for faculty members at West VirginiaWesleyanCollege.  A grant from the Bonner Foundation made this course development program possible.

 

With six funded opportunities, the grant invited faculty to design a new course or revise an existing course to include a community engagement component.  The six funded courses address identified community needs and provide a benefit to the surrounding UpshurCounty community.  Bush announced the six individuals awarded grants in mid-December 2007: Dr. Susan Aloi (Education), Dr. Kimberly Bjorgo-Thorne (Environmental Science), Dr. Kathleen  Long (Communication), Dr. Shauna Popson (Nursing), Dr. Robert Rupp (Political Science), and Professor Thomas Schoffler (Theatre).  Each individual received an award of $1000 for support of their course development.

The first grant funded was implemented for January Term, 2008.  MBA students had the opportunity to sign up for Dr. Susan Aloi’s course, “Management for Non-Profit Organizations.”  The course surveyed local non-profit organizations about operating budgets, numbers of weekly clientele, annual volunteer participation, and organizational strengths and weaknesses.  The results of the survey will be added to the Community Asset Mapping Project initiated by the Institute for Social and Community Research, and will be used for a comprehensive database from which faculty can access information related to community engagement opportunities.

           “Parties and Elections”, a course redesigned by Dr. Robert Rupp, launched this 2008 spring semester with a focus on two major political events in the state: the WV Republican Convention, and the 2008 Primary Election.  At the end of the semester, students in this course will construct a snapshot of issue priorities in WV, a voter information website on the 2008 Primary Election, and a study of the WV Republican Convention.  The course is also collaborative effort with the League of Women Voters, located in UpshurCounty.

Dr. Kimberly Bjorgo-Thorne’s “Natural Resource Conservation” has also been redesigned and launched for this 2008 spring semester.  Students of the class are creating 5-minute movie “shorts” that illustrate the issues surrounding conservation and communities.  Partnering with the Upshur County Watershed Association, the students are conducting interviews with those working at the UCWA as an additional resource for their films.

Starting in the 2008 fall semester, Dr. Kathleen Long will be teaching a course, “Public Relations Principles and Practices”, which involves students working with Upshur County Watershed Association towards specific public relation goals.  Students working in four teams will collaborate with the UCWA to develop four different proposals.  At the end of the fall semester, students will present their proposals to the executive director and board of the agency.  

Also in Fall 2008, Professor Thomas Schoffler will direct the Mockingbird Project; a theatrical adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird staged on the porches of popular streets in Buckhannon, WV, eventually culminating in the legendary courtroom scene at the Upshur County Court House.  With assistance from WVWC student actors, Buckhannon Community Theatre actors, and a number of municipal offices, the play is scheduled to perform during WVWC’s Homecoming Weekend.  The project will create a unique forum for dialogue about the real racial tensions faced in the past, and those of today. 

  

 

Dean of Community Engagement Announced

            The WVWC administration announced a dean position for Community Engagement to be filled this spring.  The position is designed to promote quality community engagement experiences in the academic program, as well as through co-curricular opportunities and will report to the President.  

January 2008

 

Community Engagement Recommendations to Strategic Planning

A joint sub-committee of the Academic and Student Life Task Forces was created to develop community engagement recommendations for consideration by the WVWC Strategic Planning Committee. 

The Community Engagement Initiative Committee, comprised of faculty, staff, students, and community partners, developed four recommendations: Formalize a Center for Community Engagement; Create a Community Engagement Advisory Council; Integrate Community Engagement into the Academic programs and; Integrate Community Engagement into Wesleyan Student Life programs. Each recommendation included a timetable and budget for implementation. The recommendations were submitted to the Strategic Planning Committee for inclusion in the Board meeting in February.

 

The Mellon Grant and International Service

West Virginia WesleyanCollege was awarded a Mellon Fellow Community Initiative grant, as part of the International Study Program of the Salzburg Global Seminar.  The winning proposal was submitted by Dr. Kathleen Long, Professor of Communication, Dr. Melody Meadows, Professor of Music, and Dr. Robert Rupp, Professor of Political Science.

 

The grant funded GAINS (Global Awareness for Infusing Networks of Service) program that links Wesleyan’s international travel courses with the institution’s new initiative in community engagement to advance its mission of world citizenship.  In addition, WVWC will receive up to $5,000 for the initial two years of the implementation of the project.  The total value of the Mellon grant is $17,400.  Drs. Long, Rupp, and Dr. Larry Parsons, Academic Dean of the College, traveled to Austria in early January as the first team for the project.

  

The Martin Luther King Awards

In conjunction with the Chapel Office, the office of Community Engagement initiated a Martin Luther King Celebration of Service and Service Awards.  The awards ceremony recognized members of the campus community who have demonstrated a commitment to service and civic engagement and positively represented the institution through actively living the mission of the college.  The nomination process was open to all members of the campus community and the recipients were selected by a committee consisting of a mix of student leaders, faculty and staff.  

 

February 2008

 

VISTA Network Continues – Positions Open for August 2008

 

Evaluating the VISTA positions and the partnership needs of the community resulted in a revision of the VISTA work plans for next year.  The revision supports the goals of the newly developed Community Engagement Learning Outcomes and re-emphasizes the focus on student learning. The community partners will continue to work in conjunction with Wesleyan faculty, staff and students to build strong programs that advance the mission of the agencies and increase students’ knowledge of civic responsibility.

   

Community Engagement Website

            As WVWC plans for implementation of the new initiatives of the Wesleyan Strategic Plan, the office of Community Engagement is designing an updated web resource. The current website will be renovated to include resources and applications for faculty, staff, students, and community partners including the Site-Based Planning Model, examples for Community-Based Research courses, and information regarding Community Engagement course development grants.  The website will also serve as a center for celebration of WVWC service.  Photographs, news, and January’s MLK Awards will be just some of the features listed on the website.

   

Community Council and Service Recognition

            Wesleyan Community Council, the student governing body, has developed a system to capture the many service experiences that are being completed by students and student groups. Working with the office of Community Engagement, a tracking form will be added the Community Council Handbook and will allow the office of Community Engagement to gather information about service sites, accomplishments, partnerships and projects on campus and off campus. 

 

March 2008

 

Bonner Scholars Spring Preview Day

 

            Wesleyan’s Bonner Scholars Program, in conjunction with the office of Admission, hosted the annual Bonner Preview Day for prospective students and families. The applicants traveled from Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to participate in a day of service, interview sessions and informational presentations. As a result of the day, seventeen prospective students will be accepted into the four-year Bonner Scholar Program at WVWC. 

 

April 2008 

Community Engagement Course Development Grants Update

This past fall, Dr. Deborah Bush, Assistant Professor of Education and Interim Director of the Institute for Social and Community Research, announced the availability of six course development grant opportunity for faculty. A three-year grant from the Bonner Foundation provides funding for the community engagement initiative.Three of the six funded proposals were implemented this spring beginning with Dr. Susan Aloi’s January Term MBA course, followed by Dr. Robert Rupp and Dr. Kimberly Bjorgo-Thorne’s spring semester offerings.

 

Aloi Presents Findings of Community-Based Survey 

Dr. Susan Aloi, director of the Masters in Education Program, presented the results of an UpshurCounty community-based survey to the Buckhannon Rotary Club on March 21, 2008. The survey project led by Aloi and 14 MBA students from the “Management for Non-Profit Organizations” course canvassed 29 local non-profits and collected information pertaining to annual budget size, volunteer management, program administration, and strategic planning. The students then analyzed the data received and compiled databases, tables and graphs to illustrate organizational strengths and weaknesses to be used by the cooperating agencies and the office of Community Engagement. The information will be available for future service-learning projects and community engagement opportunities.

Aloi noted, “Incorporating the community-based research project into the course provided these MBA students with an alternative perspective on the potential usefulness of the MBA degree in a variety of professional and community settings through their lives.”

   

“Parties and Elections” Surveys Republican Delegates

 

            For the 2008 spring semester, Dr. Robert Rupp, professor of Political Science, introduced his newly redesigned course, “Parties and Elections”. Rupp incorporated various community engagement components into the course for students to gain a deeper grasp of current political issues and processes as the nation prepares for the 2008 Presidential Election. As well as studying political issues, students in the course studied research and survey methodology leading up to the WV Republican Convention in February 2008. At the convention, located in Charleston, WV, students surveyed numerous Republican delegates on current economical, political and social issues, as partial fulfillment of the final research project for the course.

 

Rupp and two students of the course presented the results of the survey at a state social studies conference located in Pipestem, WV. 

 

Students Produce Film for Watershed Conservation

 

            “Natural Resource Conservation,” a course taught by Dr. Kimberly Bjorgo-Thorne, was designed in partnership with the Buckhannon River Watershed Association. Students of the course produced a short, informational film highlighting the importance of conserving natural resources, especially within UpshurCounty. The film will serve as a promotional tool for the Watershed, as well as a means to raise awareness of watershed and natural resource issues.

   

2nd Annual “Celebration of Service” 

            On April 23, 2008, the Upshur County Family Resource Network (FRN) sponsored the 2nd Annual “Celebration of Service” to recognize the Wesleyan community for its dedicated support and service efforts. Wesleyan’s President Balch was among those in attendance to speak at the celebration, emphasizing the solid commitment to community engagement that Wesleyan has to UpshurCounty and beyond. Furthermore, Joyce Harris-Thacker, director of the Upshur County FRN, presented President Balch with a gift in her name to the Children’s Abuse Awareness Fund, in honor of Child Abuse Awareness Month.

   

“Engaging Our World” Conference Announced 

            It was announced in April that West VirginiaWesleyanCollege will host the 2008 Oxfam “Engaging Our World” Conference – a convergence of students from multiple colleges and universities to discuss current social justice issues and strategic planning. Wesleyan faculty, staff and students will be invited to attend workshops and activities that highlight various social justice topics and best practices of those working within the social justice field. 

The conference is supported in various ways by a number of organizations including the Bonner Foundation, Oxfam America, WVWC Change and the WVWC Green Club.           

 

May 2008

Dean of Community Engagement Position Filled

 

Dr. Kimberly Yousey has accepted the position for the Dean of Community Engagement. Dr. Yousey has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from New YorkUniversity.  

 

Planning for Community Engagement Retreat

Planning for the 2nd Annual Community Engagement Retreat has begun. In June 2007, the Mountain Institute served as a welcoming site for 24 Wesleyan faculty, staff, VISTA staff, campus administrators and representatives from the community. Participants will again gather to consider Wesleyan’s implementation of service and community engagement.  With President Balch’s continued commitment, community engagement has become an integral part of the strategic planning process.

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