Through the Smart Communities Initiative, UT faculty and students in twenty courses have spent this academic year working with the City of Cleveland, Tennessee, on thirteen projects ranging from branding research to revitalization efforts throughout the community.
UT has chosen the Southeast Tennessee Development District to be its 2015–16 Smart Communities Initiative partner.
The Provost’s Service-Learning Office is working on a plan to give an “S” designation to approved courses with a service-learning component. The application process was piloted this spring by nine faculty members, each representing a different college. The university already has many courses that employ service-learning, and the service-learning office is developing mechanisms to enhance the support and recognition of faculty who do this work.
The city of Cleveland, Tennessee, has been chosen as the first partner city for UT’s new service-learning program, the Smart Communities Initiative. The partnership begins this fall. The goals of the SCI are to help students gain real-world experience and make valuable contacts in the community. It is a component of UT’s new Quality Enhancement Plan, which in turn is an important part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges reaccreditation process.
Anna-Claire Daniels, a senior studying social work, was one of nine UT students who went to northern Uganda for five weeks last summer for the Gulu Study and Service Abroad Program. She returned to Uganda over winter break—on her own dime—to continue her work helping recovering addicts incarcerated in Gulu Prison. After observing the program, she realized a problem many of the inmates were facing—they couldn’t read the English materials in front of them.
As UT moves toward establishing a service-learning program called the Smart Communities Initiative, the campus community is invited to learn more about a similar, and very successful, program operating in Oregon. Representatives from the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative will be on campus Monday, December 9, to discuss their cross-disciplinary Sustainable City Year Program with faculty, staff, students, and members of the public sector.
Interested in adding a service-learning component to your course, but unsure how to do it? The provost’s office now has resources to help. Under the auspices of the Office of the Provost, UT Service-Learning has been created to support and increase the level of course-based service-learning across campus.