WMU News

WMU professor appointed to foundation post

March 9, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- A Western Michigan University faculty member has been appointed to the National Commission on Service-Learning, the critical leadership component of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Learning in Deed Initiative.

Dr. Jianping Shen, associate professor of teaching, learning and leadership, will serve with commission chairman U.S. Sen. John H. Glenn and other commission members from across the nation, including Michelle Engler, wife of Gov. John Engler. The commission is co-sponsored by the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has long been concerned with youth and community development and has a history of supporting service-learning programs. Service-learning is a teaching strategy that links community service with classroom instruction.

More than 10 years of research demonstrates that service-learning improves students' academic performance, enhances their sense of civic responsibility and reduces risk behaviors.

Building on a decade of support for service programming and the efforts of numerous service-learning advocates, the Kellogg Foundation launched a $13 million initiative, Learning In Deed, to promote service-learning as an integral part of K-12 education. In so doing, foundation representatives hope to help American schools address some of the biggest challenges in their efforts to make a difference in the lives of young people.

Those challenges include involving students in meaningful learning; helping students further develop responsible behavior; and engaging students in community problem-solving. Program organizers also hope to see schools reclaim their civic mission of preparing young people for active involvement in democratic life.

The National Commission on Service-Learning is a critical part of this effort. It is hoped the commission can give vision and voice to the field of service-learning by promoting quality service-learning throughout mainstream K-12 education, developing recommendations to support systemic changes to ensure sustainability, and promoting widespread understanding of and support for service-learning.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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