WCTC's definition of service learning: a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
WCTC has a longstanding tradition of incorporating service into curriculum. Every year, WCTC students complete thousands of service hours for the community. These experiences not only strengthen the valuable partnership between WCTC and its surrounding community, but they also provide a way for students to solidify the real world skills that will help them land jobs after graduation.
Since 1999, WCTC dental hygiene students have completed clinical rotations at several community organizations. Working with such organizations as the Waukesha County Community Dental Clinic, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Dental Clinic, the Veterans Administration Hospital, Curative Care Network, the AIDS resource center, and Waukesha Head Start, students in the dental hygiene program have provided cleanings, x-rays, and oral health education for thousands of patients from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, students involved in the Student American Dental Hygiene Association (SADHA) raise thousands of dollars every year for oral health-related causes.
Construction and Masonry
For nearly eight years, WCTC carpentry and masonry students have been working in the Waukesha community to provide homes and home improvements for people in need. Working with such organizations as the Waukesha Housing Authority, Roger's Place, and the Department of Natural Resources, these students have helped refurbish and rebuild many homes in the community while at the same time refining the skills they will need to be successful in the workforce. WCTC is very proud of these students, as they have completed some truly amazing projects.
WCTC's nursing students have been providing care for people in the community for years. These students complete clinical rotations at clinics and healthcare facilities all over Southeastern Wisconsin, including the Lake Area Free Clinic, ProHealth Care hospitals and more. For many of these nursing students, the clinical experiences they have in the community during their training help them land jobs after graduating.
BIT Connections is a student group made up of displaced workers who have come back to sharpen their computer skills. Over the course of the year, a few of these students have been working with the Hispanic Community Health Resource Center to improve the efficiency of their mailing databases. The students and their instructor, Paul Dankert, finished up the project and presented the newly redesigned database to the HCHRC. These students even put together a training program to help the administrators at the HCHRC learn how to use the new technology. The group estimates that they have saved the HCHRC approximately $250 per month in mailing costs.
Awards and Recognitions
SGA Recognizes Angela Lee and the HIT program with the Outstanding Service Learning Award
The success of a service learning project greatly depends on the hard work of the instructor, the drive of the students, and finding the right fit in a community partner. This year's Service Learning Award was certainly a success in all three categories. Angela Lee, Health Information Technology (HIT) Instructor, had been searching for a service learning opportunity that would give her students a new learning experience outside of the traditional clinical setting. This spring, an opportunity arose that turned out to be a perfect fit – St. Joe's Medical and Dental Clinic was in need of assistance in building an electronic medical records database. Students engaged in this task worked with the software vendor, clinic staff, and classmates to identify how to configure the database in the way that will best serve the clinic. The students also developed workflow processes, policies, procedures, and data dictionaries that will assist St. Joe's in keeping efficient records and better serving their clients. This project has served as a true benefit to the students in learning how to upgrade systems and improve processes – additionally, the clinic has been able to save valuable dollars and gain knowledge from the WCTC students. The partnership has been truly innovative and an overall win-win situation. The Service Learning Award was presented during the Spring 2011 Awards Program.
Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
WCTC was named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll during the 2009-2010 academic year.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using the skills gained in their classrooms. Business students served as consultants to budget-strapped nonprofits and businesses, law students volunteered at legal clinics, and dozens of others organized anti-hunger campaigns.
"Congratulations to the awardees and students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities," said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation's CEO. "Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service."
College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.