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Service learning excellence recognized

Monday, May 11, 2015

LAWRENCE — The Center for Civic and Social Responsibility has announced the 2015 Faculty and Student Excellence in Service Learning Awards, along with the creation of a Community Appreciation Reception to take place this week.

Faculty and Student Excellence in Service Learning Awards were conferred upon School of Music Professor Dena Register and applied behavioral science senior Jordyn Gunville, Eagle Butte, South Dakota, for their achievements in applying coursework to community concerns through the service learning pedagogy. Staff from the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility surprised each recipient with their award during class.

New to service recognition this year is a Community Appreciation Reception hosted by the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. Planned for 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, in Spooner Hall, the reception will bring together service learning faculty, students and community partners to recognize the multiple community organizations and agencies whose collaboration with KU is critical in making service learning possible. Local and regional community organizations that have hosted KU service learning students are welcome to attend. 

Dena Register, winner of the 2015 Faculty Excellence in Service Learning Award
Dena Register, at center, with CCSR Director John Augusto and Assistant Director Amanda Schwegler

Register, who is director of Faculty Programs for International Programs and associate professor in music therapy and music education, received the faculty award for her effective implementation of service learning and the effect it has had for her students.

Register says of her service learning experiences, "Pairing my students with relevant community partners allowed the course material to come to life for them. The personal and professional growth that occurs through service learning cannot be achieved by simply sitting in a classroom and discussing what life must be like for 'those people'. The Center for Civic and Social Responsibility supports the faculty in providing engaged learning that incorporates and transcends academic learning to build socially conscious, empathetic community members."

Register has taught service learning courses at KU since 2008. As a Spring 2009 Fulbright Scholar in Thailand, she created Southeast Asia’s first music therapy degree program and established clinical music therapy programs for patients with neurological disorders and children with special needs at two Bangkok-area hospitals. Register has also led five study abroad programs to Thailand, allowing students to observe and implement music therapy sessions at clinical training sites such as university hospitals, rehabilitation centers and education facilities for children.

Senior Jordyn Gunville received the student award for her positive civic commitment, community effect and personal development through volunteer work and community health courses. Gunville volunteered with a KU Medical Center mobile clinic that serves urban and reservation American Indian communities and, through service learning practicum coursework, created guides and protocols to assist and support future volunteers at the clinic.

Jordyn Gunville, winner of the 2015 Student Excellence in Service Learning Award
Jordyn Gunville, at center, with CCSR Director John Augusto and Assistant Professor Jomella Watson-Thompson

Gunville independently developed and was awarded a grant to help Native American youths from South Dakota participate in LEAD UP, a youth leadership and college access program at KU for racial and ethnic minority youths. Gunville was placed with the Center for American Indian Community Health at the KU Medical Center for a practicum experience and was instrumental in getting high school, undergraduate, and graduate racial and ethnic minority students from KU and other institutions involved in an eight-week summer internship program at that center.

After graduation, Gunville plans to become a primary care physician with a public health approach to serve American Indian and underserved populations.

"Because of service learning,” Gunville said, “I got to experience how a community can influence one’s overall health. Treating the whole person requires understanding the larger issues that impact health, which can only be understood by knowing the conditions that caused the health issue, and treating the community.”