If you cannot view the Service Learning Seminar form above, please download a free version of Adobe Acrobat or print out a hardcopy and mail to Julie Dierberger at 6001 Dodge St. MBSC 114 Omaha, NE 68182.
Paul Sather - Director
Paul Sather is the Director of the Service Learning Academy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha overseeing faculty, supervising special projects, and serves as the main representative for the academy at all levels. Prior to his position with the Service Learning Academy, Paul was a faculty member of the UNO School of Social Work where he served as the Associate Director. ...continue
The Honor Roll's Presidential Award
The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) was honored on May 12 as a "Finalist" for the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. UNO was one of 11 finalists and one of six in the “General Community Service” category.
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to community service.
UNO’s placement as a finalist is higher than last year, when UNO was named to the 2009 Honor Roll in the “Honor Roll With Distinction” category.
"Being selected as a finalist for the Presidential Award places UNO among the top 20 universities in the nation for service learning, community service and civic engagement initiatives,” said Paul Sather, director of UNO’s Service-Learning Academy.
The Service Learning Academy has been consistently honored for the significant number of high quality service learning courses offered each semester as well as their work in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area through projects like Seven Days of Service, Three Days of Service, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and World AIDS Day.
“This recognition is a statement about all of the creative and meaningful community outreach work accomplished by UNO faculty, staff, students and our many loyal community partners for the last decade," Sather said.
Got Links? | UNO
Honor Roll with Distinction
The Honor roll's Presidential Award
The Service Learning Academy at UNO has received the Honor Roll's Presidential Award, given each year to only a handful of institutions. This award is the highest federal recognition that a college or university can receive for commitment to volunteering, community service, and civic engagement.
Presidential Award Honor Roll | UNO
Excellence in Service Learning
Excellence in Service Learning
UNO's Service Learning effors have been recognized and featured in The Guide to Service Learning Colleges & Universities. The University of Nebraska at Omaha is a member of Campus Compact and the Midwest Consortium for Service Learning in Higher Education.
Service Learning at UNO.
Service learning is an experiential, collaborative pedagogical method incorporating projects that promote academic learning. These projects are directly linked to academic curriculum while meeting the service needs of the community and providing collaborative experience between students and nonprofit or government organizations. Typically, professors design service learning projects in partnership with representatives of community organizations, planning activities that will meet genuine needs in the community and advance student understanding of course curriculum. In the community setting, students complete service learning projects to advance the mission and programs of the community partner. On campus, students reflect on their experience, considering its relationship to their reading and research as well as its impact on their personal values and professional goals.
Bridging the Gap
The University of Nebraska at Omaha is a metropolitan university committed to building bridges between the campus and the community. Service learning is one of those bridges, bringing the talents and energy of UNO students into service within the Omaha community. Students not only address community needs but also enrich their own education through hands on experience prompting students to apply their scholastic knowledge base to real world situations thus developing the inclination toward long term engaged citizenship.
Service learning is a form of experiential education aimed at enhancing and enriching student learning of course material. Service learning is similar to other forms of experiential learning in that it is student-centered, hands-on, and directly applicable to the curriculum. The critical difference is that service learning emphasizes student learning as well as s addressing the needs of the community.
It is also an effective teaching strategy that increases faculty/student contact while contributing to student development. As pedagogy, it is a departure from the traditional lecture-driven, faculty-focused curriculum. It requires student participation in developing learning goals and confronting real life in a way that challenges assumptions and fosters critical thinking.
Service learning pedagogy is commonly described as a continuous learning cycle, fostering meaning and comprehension through:
The Service Learning Academy was originally developed in 1999 as a university initiative within the Center for Faculty Development. The program was originally funded by a grant from the Nebraska Consortium for Service Learning in Higher Education. Today, the SLA is supported by the Office of Academic and Student Affairs.
Expanding its student participation from 133 students in 7 courses during the 1998–1999 academic year to 2,300 students in 121 classes in disciplines and interdisciplinary programs during the 2010–2011 academic year, the Service Learning Academy has grown impressively since its establishment. The Assessment & Statistics
page details such growth.
The UNO Service Learning Academy leads in the creation of university-wide partnerships with the community by integrating academic scholarship and civic engagement.
that integrating academic knowledge with a service learning experience in the community prepares students to work and serve in an increasingly diverse and challenging environment.
- that service learning creates opportunities for personal and professional growth.
- that service learning inspires students toward an ethic of service that leads them into increased community involvement.
- in serving students, faculty, and the community by facilitating collaborative partnerships, providing support, and offering opportunities for professional development.
- in valuing our community partner and faculty as teachers.
- in valuing the success of others.
The UNO Service Learning Academy facilitates collaborative partnerships between the university and the metropolitan community for the purpose of enhancing student learning, advancing community service and initiatives, and fostering engaged citizenship.
The service learning experience aims to benefit the students who participate by building their civic engagement, enhancing their academic experience, and supporting their personal growth. The Assessment & Statistics page details such impacts.
Service learning benefits are felt beyond the university. Over 200 organizations—from Boys and Girls Clubs to the Intercultural Senior Center—have been able to better serve the community through the efforts of UNO service learning students.
The P-16 Initiative, which partners UNO faculty with Pre K-12 teachers to create a joint service learning experience. To date, 72 Pre K-12 faculty members have attended the Service Learning Seminar and are currently in the process of planning or implementing service learning projects in their classes. During the 2010–2011 school year, these teachers involved 1,356 Pre K-12 students in service learning. These Pre K-12 teachers and students represent 25 different schools in the Omaha metropolitan areas, ranging from elementary through high school.
What is the difference between Service Learning and an Internship/Practicum or Volunteer Opportunity?
The primary focus of service learning is to provide a deeper understanding of theories and course content studied in a particular class. The goal of an internship/practicum is to provide students a practical work experience in a field of interest to them. A volunteer opportunity is the most flexible option where students spend one day per week or one day per year at an organization who mission they find interesting. Volunteer opportunities are generally unpaid positions with a local nonprofit community agency.
faces of Service Learning at UNO
Click on photo for name and contact information.