“Fellows and Friends,” a new lunch series for faculty hosted by the Institute for Public Engagement is the brainchild of associate director Norma May Isakow. The second in the series, “Engaged Teaching in a Global Context,” took place Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 11 a.m.-noon in Reynolda Hall, Room 301.
“Every engaged teaching course is about illuminating the human condition,” says Isakow. “If you, as a teacher, can create a course that grows out of a connection you have seen between a community need and your own discipline then you are making students part of the world in both a macro and a micro sense.”
“Civically engaged learning can be life changing learning,” says Isakow. “I know this first hand. That’s why I want students to have these kinds of experiences.”
As an undergraduate student, Isakow volunteered in an orphanage in Soweto and at the Johannesburg Legal Aid Bureau where many disenfranchised South Africans sought assistance and relief from the effects of Apartheid Laws. “These experiences were formative in my outlook, career pursuits, and finding a sense of purpose in life,” she said
While the Fellows and Friends luncheon series grew out of the ACE Fellows Program, all faculty are welcome. Isakow’s intention is to unite faculty who are already ACE Fellows with those in process of becoming ACE Fellows, and to attract faculty who may be curious about their colleague’s strategies to include community engagement components in their courses. Small panels will initiate each discussion – raising topics related to service learning and engaged teaching and sharing experiences. Isakow hopes that greater awareness of what colleagues and the Institute are doing will inspire even more faculty to introduce civically engaged courses into the University’s curriculum.
Wake Forest’s commitment to service learning, as Isakow is quick to point out, has earned national recognition, in the form of election to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor [V] Roll. WFU has also earned the Carnegie Engaged Campus Classification through 2015.
“I feel very privileged to be a part of the work of the Institute for Public Engagement. I’d like all faculty to see the value of service learning and I’d like faculty to recognize that service learning is not a burden they have to bear themselves. I’d like them to see the resources IPE has to offer. IPE is here to take the burden off.”
Featured faculty at the IPE luncheon include Steve Virgil, Bettina Wilkinson and Ananda Mitra. Virgil and Mitra will present briefly on student work in Nicaragua and India.Wilkinson will discuss her Race and Ethnic Politics course and two of her students, Kathryne Doria and Tamara Guillen will be talking about their experiences at CHANGE and El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services.