Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


FORTNER, Sarah K., Geology, Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH 45501, RITTER, John B., Geology, Wittenberg University, P.O. Box 720, Springfield, OH 45501 and AUSTIN, Barbara A., Education, Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH 45501,

Wittenberg University has required students to complete a 30-hour service requirement that has resulted in sustained university-community partnerships. The recently (2011) endowed Hagen Center for Civic and Urban Engagement provided summer interns with the opportunity to engage in outreach in and around Springfield, a post-industrial Midwestern city. This included pairing interns with K-12 students and educators in scientific explorations on Buck Creek, which flows alongside the Wittenberg Campus. Interns expressed how their experiences connected them with their community and deepened their understanding of how their academic interests relate to society. The growth of service initiatives parallels shifts in pedagogical approaches at Wittenberg from content delivery to student engagement. Institutional support for engagement coupled with interests from watershed decision-makers in an on-campus Buck Creek monitoring network are foundational to the future integration of service-learning across geo and environmental science courses. Preliminary efforts to scaffold learning concepts and build service and scholarship into geo and environmental science curricula will include selecting field sites of community interest and reinforcing themes between classes. Students in introductory and advanced hydrology and biogeochemistry courses will build depth of knowledge by working at joint field sites and sharing knowledge between classes. Community issues that may be studied include partner-identified challenges (e.g. lowhead dam removal, elimination of combined sewage overflows, removing invasive vegetation) and global change issues (e.g. response of hydrology and water quality to climate change). The latter will likely have an increased importance to the community through time. Our goal is to make Wittenberg an integral part of watershed decision-making and community engagement while growing scholarship and collaboration between faculty. Assessment strategies and examples of planned curricular links between an introductory and upper-level biogeochemistry course will be discussed.