Eastern Michigan University
Jessica "Decky" Alexander
Director, Office of Academic Service-Learning
203-D Boone Hall
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti MI 48197
The Academic Service Learning (AS-L) Office was launched in 1994 by Dr. Dale Rice, a special education professor through a learn and serve grant.
His primary motivation for establishing an Office of Academic Service-Learning was to engage college students in service. Dr. Rice wanted to provide resources to the community, help students feel more connected, and increase students' civic mindedness. As a professor, he saw a need to get students and faculty involved in community service activities and as a member of the Ypsilanti community he knew there was a need. In short, he wanted the University community to become active members in their community.
In 1994 the University began to support the office by providing resources for faculty to receive course release time in order to participate in a semester-long AS-L faculty fellow seminar. The AS-L Faculty Fellow Seminar continues to be the foundation of the AS-L office. It has provided through previous directors, Kathy Stacey and Dr. Dale Rice, over 240 faculty members with training and resources in integrating and creating AS-L experiences in courses, curriculum and creative/scholarly work. Below is a list of more AS-L facts:
- The Office has partnered in two Eisenhower grants to increase the use of academic service-learning in k-12 mathematics and science curriculum in Romulus and Ypsilanti school districts.
- The Office has trained over 80 full-time faculty members at Eastern Michigan University (over 10% of the entire faculty) in the teaching methodology of academic service-learning.
- Conservatively more than 10,000 Eastern Michigan University students have been engaged in a community service experience through an academic service-learning course.
- On average faculty integrate approximately 10 hours of service per student, therefore community agencies have received over 100,000 hours of service.
- The Office was a technical assistance provider for Learn and Serve-Michigan and provided academic service-learning training and technical assistance to 16 school districts in southeast Michigan.
Since its inception the Office of AS-L has become a community and University leader in the development of community centered programming
In its first year, the Office was a technical assistance provider for Learn and Serve-Michigan and provided academic service-learning training and technical assistance to 16 school districts in southeast Michigan. Past projects also include YYEA (Ypsilanti Youth Empowered to Act), the Community Youth Mapping project, and Building Community and Building Lives with Young Detroit Builders.
Current and recent grant-funded programs, initiatives and programs of the Office of Academic Service-Learning include:
The B.Side incubates ideas and projects of youth to foster a culture of entrepreneurship. These projects are supported through enterprise, business education and mentor relationships, which teach self-sufficiency, and the initiative in realizing their self-defined goals. Through us, youth are promoted as an asset within the local business landscape.
Digital Inclusion is a program striving to reduce the technology gap that exists in low-income communities. We provide basic computer refurbishment training to low-income and at-risk youth, low cost to no cost technical support and most importantly access to affordable technology
CrossTown Theatre Troupe (CTT) is made up of local middle and high school youth from surrounding Washtenaw and Wayne counties. We work to create a platform for youth voice and seek to increase community engagement, access to youth perspective and generate community dialogue. CTT strives to recognize what issues the youth community deems most important, provide a safe place for teens and young adults to share their experiences, highlight the diverse nature of our neighborhood and help establish a greater sense of accomplishment for the youth community.
Across the country, many college students volunteer through their post-secondary institutions to work with K-12 youth as mentors, tutors, event-specific participants, etc. College Positive Volunteers (CPVs) are those college students and their administrators who are aware of how they impact the college enthusiasm and readiness of the K-12 youth they interact with as they volunteer in local communities.
The Michigan Service Scholars Program [MSS] provided over $350,000 annually in education awards state-wide to students attending Michigan Campus Compact [MCC] member campuses through a grant from The Michigan Community Service Commission and The Corporation for National and Community Service.
Art Around Town
A new social enterprise partnering with the AS-L (Academic Service-Learning), B.Side ( The Business Side) and Ypsilanti community school district in order to assist the Ypsilanti community school district with their art funding.'