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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 14, 2005

UI Joins Prominent National Service Learning Organization

The University of Iowa has joined Campus Compact, one of the nation's leading advocates of civic engagement in higher education, and will host its first workshop under the group's banner Feb. 26.

"Civic engagement is more than just encouraging students to volunteer in their communities, it's a way of making those communities part of their classroom so that their community work is also a learning experience," said Michael Hogan, UI provost. "Campus Compact provides resources that will help us bring that ideal to life."

Joining the organization is one part of the Year of Civic Engagement, UI President David Skorton's initiative to build more connections between the University of Iowa and the greater Iowa community starting in July 2005. One of Campus Compact's missions is to help universities make civic engagement a part of their curricula and deepen its connection to the classroom.

"Joining Campus Compact opens up a wealth of resources the university can use to encourage civic engagement and make it a part of the curriculum," said Hogan. Among the services Campus Compact offers are training for faculty, staff, students, administrators and community partners; research on effective practices; books, journals and other print and online resources; grants and funding; leadership development opportunities and more.

Phillip Jones, vice president of student services, said membership in the group shows the level of commitment toward bringing the values of the Year of Public Engagement to life.

"Our membership in Campus Compact is indicative of the collaborative efforts between Student Services and the new Provost to broaden student learning experiences inside and outside the classroom," said Jones. "We have a long history of student volunteerism in student organizations as well as among individual students and there are a number of courses where faculty uses service learning as part of the course. This new initiative will strengthen our emphasis on service during the Year of Engagement and beyond."

More than 950 colleges and universities across the country are members of Campus Compact, including 16 in Iowa. Other Iowa schools include Coe College, Cornell College, Morningside College and Buena Vista College, as well as several community colleges.

"We're very excited that the University of Iowa has joined Campus Compact," said Sandra Hansen, executive director of Iowa Campus Compact, based at Wartburg College in Waverly. "This greatly multiplies the size of the pool of potential members in Iowa and we're looking forward to working with them."

One class the UI currently offers that includes a service learning component is Introduction to Museology, the first class taken by students in museum studies. In the class, students worked with a local museum to design, plan and implement an exhibit or program. Participating organizations included the Iowa Children's Museum, the UI Museum of Natural History, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the university journalism department.

Among the service learning projects students completed in the class are a student who organized the Art Cart at the UIHC Project Art, another student who created new graphics on a new exhibit at the Children's Museum and another who developed ideas for children's parties at the museum. One student in the class inventoried the belongings of a historic house in Decorah while another created a CD-ROM history of the journalism department to commemorate the opening of the department's new building.

"It's a good way to build bridges that lead to practical experience and internships for the students and create stronger links to our community," said Pam Trimpe, the class instructor. The service learning component was optional for the class last fall, and 11 of the 30 students participated, Trimpe said. When the class is offered again next fall, she said the service learning component will be mandatory. Additional projects will be available at the UI Art Museum, Old Capitol Museum and the Iowa African-American History Museum in Cedar Rapids.

The university will host its first Campus Compact conference Feb. 26 at the Iowa Memorial Union. The leadership conference will show student service group leaders how to connect with community leaders to determine what community needs should be addressed.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu.