SDSU named to President’s community service honor roll


South Dakota State University  was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The recognition, made by the Corporation for National and Community Service, was granted for SDSU’s service-learning efforts to bring civic engagement to faculty and students.

The president’s service-learning honor roll program has been in place since 2006. The award marks the first time SDSU has applied and received recognition from the national program. SDSU was among 851 institutions across the country that applied last year with 641 receiving recognition.

“We are excited to be recognized for our faculty’s service-learning efforts,” said Kevin Sackreiter, director of the Teaching Learning Center on campus. “Inclusion on the honor roll is a well-deserved recognition of the commitment to service shown by our faculty, students and community partners.”

The Teaching Learning Center maintains a list of community partners willing to work with the university to facilitate SDSU’s service-learning efforts. Interested faculty work with the Teaching Learning Center to find potential service opportunities to help their students connect to community resources.

SDSU has approximately 35 to 40 faculty members who currently, or have been, involved with service-learning efforts to meet local needs that often use skills learned in the classroom.

Such efforts included modern language tutoring in English as a second language for non-English speaking residents to negotiate their new community; civil and environmental engineering help for Brookings Camelot school students to learn engineering skills needed to handle rain run-off through diversion as well as landscape planting; and nutrition guidance through travel to other countries providing healthy eating and safe havens for play for children following natural disasters.

During the 2009 – 2010 academic year, approximately 1,200 SDSU students were engaged in service-learning. The three components of service-learning are that the effort is integrated with class content, that it provides community help and that the students provide reflection following the effort about the impact the experience provided. An additional 2,400 SDSU students engaged in more traditional, goodwill community service without formal assessment. The Teaching Learning Center estimates that SDSU students and faculty participated in approximately 15,000 hours of service during the year of the award.

“As members of the class of 2011 cross the stage to pick up their diplomas, more and more will be going into the world with a commitment to public service and the knowledge that they can make a difference in their communities and their own lives through service to others, thanks to the leadership of these institutions,” said Patrick A. Corvington, CMCS.