WCU community partners to receive service-learning awards April 23

Western Carolina University will present Service-Learning Partnership Awards to a Jackson County nursing home, three administrators of Jackson County Public Schools and a Clay County social services supervisor in recognition of effective collaboration with university faculty and students on community service projects linked to the curriculum.

Award recipients are the Mountain Trace Nursing Center; Lisa Dean, Eleanor Macaulay and Peggy Ayers of Jackson County Public Schools; and Todd Goins of the Clay County Department of Social Services. They will be honored at the fifth annual WCU service-learning awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 23, in the A.K. Hinds University Center’s Grandroom.

The Mountain Trace Nursing Center, a WCU service-learning community partner since 2003, will be recognized for facilitating WCU recreational therapy students who work with residents of the nursing home, including those who have Alzheimer’s disease. The center is a 106-bed nursing facility that provides long-term nursing care, intermediate care and sub-acute rehabilitation services, including a 26-bed therapeutic Alzheimer’s Dementia Care Unit.

The Jackson County Public School System administrators assisted WCU faculty members Jamie Davis and Lori Oxford with coordinating a project designed to assist children from Spanish-speaking backgrounds. As part of the project, 174 WCU students were paired with children who attend Cullowhee Valley and Fairview schools.

“They tutored the children, helped them with homework and read to them,” said Davis, assistant professor in the department of modern foreign languages. “The three administrators encouraged the WCU students in their work with the children and demonstrated to them the relevance of their knowledge and significance of their contributions to multicultural relations.”

Todd Goins, child protective services supervisor in Clay County, will be recognized for collaborating with a WCU faculty member to develop the service-learning component of a social work course.

“Students in this course learn about the difficulties faced by children in foster care and the implications of not being prepared for school,” said Jeanne Dulworth, assistant professor of social work at WCU. “Todd and I work together to teach students about how this impacts their biological, psychological and social well-being, as well as their cultural and spiritual development. Then the students engage in advocacy for these clients.”

Awards in the form of plaques, pins and certificates also will be presented to individual students, three student organizations, and faculty members for their contributions and achievements in voluntary community service and course-based service learning. The faculty members will be recognized for their achievements in teaching, research and service.

University Provost Kyle Carter will deliver remarks, and Brenda Oliver, mayor of Sylva, will bring greetings from the town.
For more information about service learning at WCU, contact Glenn Bowen, director of service learning, at (828) 227-7184 or visit http://servicelearning.wcu.edu.