of The University of Southern Mississippi are applying their classroom
knowledge to situations outside the classroom through service learning,
giving them valuable experiences that can benefit them after graduation.
Southern Miss speech communication professor Dr. Richard Conville's
graduate seminar in interpersonal communication used the skills
they learned in class while volunteering at area agencies in the
spring semester as part of the class' service- learning component.
is the first term that I have used service-learning methods in a
graduate seminar," Conville said. "It has gone very well.
Students come to class each week with a new set of experiences to
share and use as concrete examples as we work our way through some
challenging theories of interpersonal communication."
the class worked in after-school programs in Hattiesburg, including
the Family Network Partnership, the Hattiesburg Public School District's
Family Education Center, and the Boys and Girls Club.
of Bay Springs, one of Conville's graduate students in the class,
said her experience working with programs for at-risk youth at the
Family Network Partnership convinced her that service learning should
be an integral part of a student's academic experience.
it should be fundamental," she said. "It totally changed
my perspective - it's a humbling experience. Service learning helps
you step outside your world and do something for someone else."
"The community gains as well as the student. It's a give-give
that when service-learning works best, students learn both in the
community and from the community. In the process, the quality of
life is enhanced in the community by virtue of the students' work.
"We seem to have been able to accomplish all three of these
goals (in this class)," he said.
heads of the agencies where students volunteered came to the second
class meeting to talk about ways they could use people like Conville's
students to help them meet their goals.
Adam Todd of
Senatobia, another graduate student in the class, described service
learning as a way to take information from the classroom and apply
it to real-life situations. "That's when true knowledge is
gained. That's what the course is teaching us to do."
For more information
about community service learning at Southern Miss, call the Office
of Community Service Learning at (601) 266-5074.