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PSS Spring '09 - The Houghton House Renaissance

Between Theory and Practice

Service Learning

Fourteen HWS faculty and staff members have collaborated on a book, Service-Learning and the Liberal Arts: How and Why It Works, exploring ways in which the Colleges integrate community service with academics to deepen student learning and civic engagement.

Professor of Public Policy Studies and Political Science Craig Rimmerman, editor and contributor to the publication, explains that the book began as a conversation with friend and colleague Professor of Philosophy Steven Lee. "I was moved by the responsibility of building meaningful participation in the community into my coursework," says Rimmerman. "The resulting interdisciplinary book represents the best of what Hobart and William Smith have to offer."

"Service-learning is the potential opportunity to fill the gap between theory and practice in any discipline of coursework," adds Lee, who contributed a chapter titled "Service- Learning in an Ethics Course."

"With the steady rise in interest in Americorps, Peace Corps, City Year, Teach for America and many local efforts, young Americans are increasingly looking for meaningful ways to make a difference," writes President Mark D. Gearan in the forward of the book. "This collection of thoughtful essays written by colleagues at Hobart and William Smith Colleges comes at an opportune time to update scholarship and consider best practices in service learning that will foster greater civic engagement."

Commenting on the book, Mayor of Geneva Stu Einstein says: "The Colleges have recognized that Geneva is a wonderful place to put what is learned in the classroom to the test. The opportunity to immerse college students in their community is essential to these formative years. Geneva and HWS have solidified this facilitative relationship very successfully."

In addition to a foreword by Gearan and essays by Lee and Rimmerman, Service-Learning and the Liberal Arts includes contributions from: Professor of Religious Studies Michael Dobkowski, Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service- Learning Katie Flowers, Professor of Sociology Jack D. Harris, Professor of Education Patrick Collins, Associate Professor of Economics Jo Beth Mertens, former William Smith Dean and Professor of Psychology Debra DeMeis, Professor Emerita of Education Cynthia Sutton, Professor of Education Charles Temple, Professor of Chemistry David Craig, Professor of Sociology H. Wesley Perkins and W. Averell H. Bauder '81.