Introduction to Service-Learning in the STEM Disciplines
SSU is one of five CSU campuses actively developing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) service-learning initiatives with help from a grant from Learn and Serve America. SSU's SWEEP program offers students a coherent educational experience by focusing projects on topics related to sustainable watersheds and by locating field work in Copeland Creek and adjacent properties. (See Place-Based Learning in the Copeland Creek Watershed.) Figure 1 depicts a popular spot along the Creek Trail in the Fairfield Osborn Preserve.
Figure 1. Copeland Creek (Fairfield Osborn Preserve)
During the 2010-2011 school year, the Learn and Serve grant supported partnerships between SSU faculty, students, and Sonoma County organizations, and at least eleven service-learning classes in biology, chemistry, ENSP, and geology. (See On-Campus Partners and Featured Service-Learning Projects and Classes.)
If we want our students to lead creative,
productive, responsible lives, we must give them opportunities
to learn in ways that have consequences for others, as well as for themselves. I know of no better way to invoke the many facets of cognitive development, moral reasoning and social responsibility than to engage students in service-learning opportunities. At its best, a service-learning experience can be
transformative. Clearly learning within
a context of responsibility is powerful.
-Judith A. Ramaley, National Science Foundation