New position to link service & studies

Co-ordinator will work with professors, commmunity agencies

Denise Stockley is chair of the hiring committee for the University’s new service-learning co-ordinator.
Denise Stockley is chair of the hiring committee for the University’s new service-learning co-ordinator.

The University is hiring a co-ordinator to act as a link between professors and agencies students can volunteer for in the community.

The hope is to organize all of the University’s course-related volunteer opportunities under one roof, said Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker.

“Service-learning is something already happening at Queen’s but there’s no co-ordination,” he said, adding that co-ordinating volunteer time with an academic course and developing relations with agencies require a significant amount of time.

“Profs, as you know, are busy planning their courses,” he said.

The new co-ordinator will report to Laker and Joy Mighty, director at the Centre of Teaching and Learning.

Mighty said course-related volunteering helps engage students so that learning becomes meaningful.

“They’re actually seeing the difference it makes in the community,” she said.

Mighty said the co-ordinator will play two major roles.

“One, they’ll identify individuals and departments across Queen’s who are doing any community service learning, and then they would also identify agencies in the community that need students to do a service component for them,” she said.

Jean Pfleiderer teaches a practicum in women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies.

Several of her students volunteer at the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, the Cataraqui Native Friendship Centre and Kingston Literacy.

“The idea is that they volunteer with community organizations where they can get some insight into things that they have been learning about in Women’s Studies,” Pfleiderer said, adding that volunteering is the essential part of the course.

Pfeiderer said the University’s initiative is a move in the right direction.

“I think it’s very easy for students in an academic setting to get pretty far removed from what goes on in the rest of life,” she said. “So I think it’s good for students to get that connection, and it’s also good for the community.”

Malcolm Cunningham co-ordinates Queen’s Education Outreach, a unit in the Faculty of Education that is devoted to developing educational programs for elementary and secondary school students.

He said a service-learning co-ordinator will be a central point from which he can direct student service-learning projects.

“The co-ordinator … not only needs to bridge internal University groups together, which is no small feat, but they also have to bridge that with entities out in the community,” Cunningham said.

“The real magic here is that with a service-learning co-ordinator managing student teams working with the community, we have an opportunity to bash down some of the traditional academic traditions in the way that knowledge is transmitted and learned,” he said.

Denise Stockley, an educational developer at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, is chair of the position’s selection committee.

“We have a committee that represents faculty, staff and students, because with community service learning, it’s a position that goes across all areas,” she said.

Stockley will be working with four members of faculty and staff and one student to select candidates for the position. She said the most important thing the selection committee is looking for is knowledge of community service- learning opportunities.

The committee is also looking for a candidate who can do research, who has project management and leadership skills, the ability to communicate both verbally and in writing, and, ideally, a knowledge of Queen’s and of Kingston.

The three-year co-ordinator position has a starting salary of $43,867.

The selection committee will review the 54 applicants and propose a shortlist of two or three people by mid-April.

Laker and Mighty will make the final decision jointly.

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