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Central Washington University

More CWU Professors Getting Involved with Academic Service-Learning

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Ten more Central Washington University faculty, who have made yearlong commitments to incorporating Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) into their course curricula, will be introduced by CWU President James L. Gaudino during a reception at the University House on Monday, November 4, at 5:15 p.m.

AS-L is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets community needs. The service activity allows students to gain a greater understanding of the course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. 

“Student success reports on higher education tell us that we have to make [student] learning realistic and relevant,” said Jan Bowers, CWU’s AS-L project director. “When you give students a real-life situation to work on, they’re much more excited and motivated to apply their knowledge because they can see that they are making a difference in people's lives and in our communities.” 

The new faculty members, who represent a broad cross section of university departments, are among 130 former and current faculty—from 46 academic departments—named AS-L faculty fellows during the past 13 years. Those already involved in AS-L serve as mentors and advisors for their new peers.

Since the program’s inception in 2000, CWU AS-L faculty fellows have overseen a wide variety of student projects, from copywriting, to community economic development, to water-quality analysis.

“Students can repeat their projects for up to 12 credits, so they can work on it for two years,” Bowers pointed out. “Each quarter it has to be more progressive. That’s the exciting part; they can take a project and keep working on it, and grow with it.” 

A program goal this year is to quantify exactly how much AS-L is being conducted by CWU students, and the impact it is having on the various communities where it is taking place.

“Another goal for this year is to figure out how we can we can mark courses in the [university] catalog that have a service-learning component,” Bowers added, pointing out that AS-L helps fulfill the university’s strategic plan goal for community engagement.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

November 1, 2013

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