CSU, Chico News

Professors Selected as Faculty Fellows for Service-Learning for Political Engagement Program

Date: 05-10-2007

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Deanna Berg
director of Civic Engagement

Professors Lynne Bercaw and Patrick Doyle, California State University, Chico, have been selected as faculty fellows for the California Campus Compact Carnegie Foundation Service-Learning for Political Engagement Program. Only 25 faculty members from public and private universities were selected from across the state.

As faculty fellows, Bercaw and Doyle will work with colleagues from a variety of disciplines for the next two years to create, implement and reflect on service learning in at least one of their courses. The goal is to increase students’ understanding, skills and motivation for political participation.

“This work is important and complex,” wrote Elaine Ikeda, executive director of the program, “which is why we are bringing together the most thoughtful and committed faculty to develop models of service-learning that prepare young people for political engagement.”

Bercaw is in her first year at CSU, Chico and is an associate professor in the Department of Education. She teaches various courses in the Multiple Subject Program, such as Literature for Children and Literature for Young Adults. She incorporated service learning in her children’s literature courses for several years at her previous position at Appalachian State University. “The fellowship provides the challenge to push current service-learning projects beyond civic engagement toward political engagement,” said Bercaw.

Students in Bercaw’s classes will focus on the political aspects of children’s literature, including censorship and literacy advancement. Bercaw said she is looking forward to the opportunities the fellowship will provide to collaborate with other faculty across disciplines and from across the state.

Doyle is an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and has been at CSU, Chico since 2001. His area of specialization is animal science, in particular animal breeding and genetics. He received his MS and PhD in animal sciences at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins.

Doyle plans to incorporate a civic engagement proponent in his agriculture systems and issues class. The class lends itself to this, said Doyle, because its mission is to promote critical evaluation of major issues facing agriculture, such as water (supply, rights, distribution and quality), land (conservation, preservation and urban sprawl), and food safety. Doyle plans to take students out of the classroom to the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) headquarters and the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), where they will meet with the executive director of CFBF and the secretary of CDFA. One topic of discussion will be how students can get involved in the political process.

Other service-learning opportunities will include site visits with vested parties such as conservationists, environmentalists and agriculturalists. In preparation, outside speakers will cover topics such as conflict resolution, facilitation, leadership development and the political process.

The work will begin this July with a three-day institute at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in Palo Alto.