Message from the Faculty Director of Community Engaged Scholarship & Learning

 

Fall 2019

Picture of Nina Roberts

I hope everyone had a fun-filled and productive summer and you're ready for the start of another academic year.  I’m very happy to announce that I have renewed my term with ICCE for another 3-years!  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this position as faculty director and, as we made great strides over the last few years, I’m elated to continue our forward momentum with such a great team. 

With a new year also comes a new student assistant. Please join me in congratulating Liliana Moore who is beginning her graduate studies this fall in the Social, Personality, and Affective Science Psychology program.  Liliana has a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Music from one of our sister schools, Cal Poly, including graduating Magna Cum Laude.  She comes to us with strong credentials and experience working with faculty at UC Davis.  As mentioned by one of her supervisors, at UC Davis, it was noted that “Liliana has made herself indispensable to me and to many other faculty at the law school.  She's eager to learn, hard-working, organized, and a delight to be around.”  I’m delighted to have Liliana on the team with us starting this fall.
 
As we begin another academic cycle through the halls of higher education, SF State welcomes a new president. Dr. Lynn Mahoney joins us from Cal State, L.A. and the first woman ever appointed to serve in this new role in a permanent capacity!  ICCE looks forward to a rewarding relationship with Dr. Mahoney and will continue to work hard in attaining the vision of SF State as a premier west coast university. 
 
Regarding the need for dynamic civic engagement, there continues to be so much racist propaganda and insidious acts of violence that I sometimes cannot wrap my head around why this human destruction persists. The world is speeding up and seems to be getting more volatile. And, our environment is being destroyed daily as our natural resources and wildlife habitat is being depleted.  We must continue to strike a balance with this global instability and hold our leaders accountable.  As a nation, we can do better.  As an institution of higher learning, SF State can remain at the forefront of change and progress.  We need to be more mindful, be more “woke” in our actions. We have to immerse ourselves in more, or deeper, self-reflection and be more curious about how our own beliefs and biases could affect our relationships with individuals who live, work, play, and pray around us, as with those we have been raised to fear and even hate. 
 
On a happier note, as our faculty roll back into the classroom for a new semester, I want to share a few thoughts from my friend and colleague, Michelle Cummings, Owner/Trainer at Training Wheels on what it means to be a teacher; and, I’ll add a scholar of civic engagement and community service learning.  She alludes to the fact that we must create an ideal environment for learning as we encourage our students to pursue what they are passionate about while supporting them throughout their journey. Michelle is an advocate for teachers who seek to ensure students maintain ownership over their own learning, which means not spoon-feeding answers to all their questions, rather providing a forum for self-discovery.  As noted by Michelle, we must do all this “in a way that will not frustrate them to the point of breakdown, but to push through to the point of breakthrough.  It means helping students want to learn, and having them leave just as excited as when they arrived.”  I agree with Michelle when she states so beautifully, “this all takes finesse and experience to do well, and ironically is just as applicable to the experiential facilitator.”    
 
We appreciate our SF State faculty who are knowledge producers, we admire and respect our staff across campus, and students are the backbone of our programs.  The act of doing through experiential learning is holistic, builds skills and character, and is a perfect high impact practice to enhance our lives.  A great article posted on the AAC&U website, called “The Power of Experiential Education," offers practical wisdom, values of continuous reflection, reminders of our need for intellectual growth, commitment to community, and more.  Providing meaningful opportunities and life-changing experiences will continue to be at the core of our work.  
 
ICCE is excited for another year – our Civic Engagement Fellows are ready to spread their wings, community partners are upholding the impetus to work with our students, and faculty are converting more classes to become officially designated as Community Service Learning courses. We also look forward to an increase in faculty and student collaboration on more community-engaged research and scholarship. Of course, there’s plenty more happening across SF State, and ICCE is thrilled to be a leader among our sister CSU-wide campuses. Send us your stories, your achievements, your hopes and dreams; stop by and visit us anytime in HSS 206.   
 
 
In harmony & forward motion, 
Nina S. Roberts, Ph.D.
Faculty Director of Community Engaged Scholarship & Learning 
SF State, Institute for Civic & Community Engagement