2014-2015 News

Service-Learning High-Impact Practice Grant Program Fall 2014 Awardees

Service-Learning High-Impact Practice Grants are designed to provide funding for courses incorporating service-learning. Service-learning is considered a "high-impact practice" (HIP), or "an investment of time and energy over an extended period that has unusually positive effects on student engagement in educationally purposeful behavior" (Kuh 2010: vi). A HIP is effective with students because it allows them to interact with faculty and peers about substantive matters; increases the likelihood that students will experience diversity; provides frequent feedback about their performance; offers opportunities for students to see how what they are learning works in different settings, on and off campus; and brings students' values and beliefs into awareness, helping them to better understand themselves in relation to others and the larger world (Kuh 2008: 14-17).

Roberta Baer, Ph.D.



Dr. Roberta Baer (center) and students working at the Burmese garden.

This project will involve students enrolled in Methods of Cultural Research, in the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program of the St. Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The church is implementing a "Tampa Garden" to provide gardening opportunities to 35 newly-arrived refugees, primarily from the Burmese community. The garden consists of agricultural land, an area for chicken raising, and ponds suitable for aquaculture. A pilot garden was implemented over the last several years, with approximately 10 families. This phase of the program is a scaling up of the project to include more refugee families. The goals are to promote greater food security and financial security among the refugees, and to accelerate self-sufficiency and integration into the larger community. This class project will include collaboration with the Tampa Bay Garden and the Tampa Bay Burmese Council. The students in this class will do a follow-up project based on the last service-learning class I taught, Anthropology of Food, which focused on weekend food consumption. This project will focus specifically on elementary and high school aged youth, and what they eat during the week. We will also collect data on heights and weights of the youth, and conduct focus groups to learn about their attitudes to food, ideas of body image, etc.

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D. and Brittany Hearon, M.A.

Brittany Hearon


                       Brittany Hearon

The purpose of this course is to educate students on positive psychology applied to youth, with an emphasis on empirically-supported approaches to increasing happiness, including through implementation of a wellness promotion curriculum designed for children in schools. Positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths, talents, and conditions that promote individuals and communities to flourish. The field is founded on the ideal that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives and enhance their experiences of love, school, work, and play to experience authentic happiness. Research indicates that increased subjective well-being (i.e., the scientific term for "happiness") has a positive effect on physical health, academic persistence, relationship success, and athletic and work performance. Students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of happiness-increasing strategies learned in the course through a service-learning project with students and teachers at local Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Elizabeth A. Dunn, MPH, CPH


         Elizabethe Dunn and her students

The purpose of this course is to gain skills in how you can protect yourself, your family, neighbors, and the community in an emergency. Students will demonstrate the ability to identify hazards within our region, describe safety issues volunteers face, conduct basic disaster medical first-aid, triage, search & rescue operations, disaster assessments, and to apply physiological first-aid when working with a disaster affected population. This will ensure that students place personal safety as a priority in the work they conduct through their service-learning projects and in the event of a disaster. Students will gain an understanding of emergency preparedness, response and recovery roles in the community from the nonprofit world to private and government sectors. Students work with mentors in the field for their service-learning project to gain a strong understanding in the importance of community partnerships, logistics, identifying public health prevention and education opportunities, and conducting research in the field of emergency management. Each of these projects will increase community resilience, impacts homeland security, and strengthens our level of preparedness in the Tampa Bay area.

Andrea Lypka

This course unites the study of language – linguistics – with the teaching of English language learners (ELLs). More specifically, this course provides an overview of the components of language and then links these components directly to methods and techniques for English as a Second and Foreign language (ESL/EFL) instruction. This course is designed for pre-service and in-service teachers to support pedagogical practices and strategies for meeting the needs of ELLs in the US. It addresses issues with lesson plan modifications for ELLs, as well as working with parents and working with a diverse ELL population. Through the service-learning component at Casa Chiapas and K12 schools, ESOL students experience diversity and reflect on the role of the community in meeting the needs of ELLs and families from diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs.

Johanna Phelps‐Hillen



                 Johanna Phelps-Hillen

This course introduces students to genres associated with resource development. Throughout the semester, students work in groups and write resource development materials on behalf of their nonprofit partner organization. Students learn about their partner's organization via in person meetings, observation, service, drafting, and grant proposal writing. Students learn and develop an understanding of the discovery of appropriate grant-making organizations, how to utilize technology to facilitate resource development, how to assess long- and short-term strategic initiatives to engage with grant-making organizations, and how to best model proposals for specific grant opportunities. This course provides an overview of best practices in service-learning in technical and professional communication to complement the work done on behalf of students' partners. This course is not merely about proposal writing; instead, it spans the work done to research, develop, and write proposals. Therefore, a great deal of this course is about interpersonal communication in groups and with nonprofit partners, as teams develop strong proposals for open calls for proposals.