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January 25, 2008

ULM faculty awarded more than $100,000 in service-learning grants

Faculty at the University of Louisiana at Monroe secured $100,948 to fund four projects that will advance student service-learning and benefit the greater community. The University of Louisiana System awarded the funds to ULM and to seven other universities today in Baton Rouge.

UL System Associate Provost and Vice President for Student Affairs Brad O’Hara praised faculty at Thursday’s ceremony.

“Service-learning is simply good teaching. The best faculty make clear the tie between education and citizenship and each of you are to be commended for that,” he said.

In a later statement, ULM President James Cofer commended ULM’s faculty. "Once again, I have reason to praise ULM’s remarkable and talented faculty. On this occasion, their tenacious efforts resulted in four service-learning grants that will directly benefit area students and communities. Our university is determined to enrich the region that is our backbone, and our proactive, enthusiastic faculty will see it done with projects like these. I am exceedingly proud of them, and the outstanding work that they do."

ULM’s service-learning projects include:

Other universities received:

The grants are made possible through a three-year, $1.2 million grant to the UL System from the Learn and Serve America division of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Awards presented today are the second phase of the three-year grant program. Last year, the UL System awarded $606,918 to 29 projects.

More than 3,000 students participated last spring in the start of the first round of programs. In one semester alone, they generated over 14,000 volunteer hours with 95 community partners in service-learning efforts.

Service-learning provides numerous benefits to the student. According to UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, student participation in service has positive impacts on leadership ability, grades, retention, degree aspirations, critical thinking skills and commitment to helping others in difficulty.

Furthermore, research shows at least 50 percent of students who engage in service during college will continue volunteering after they graduate.

“Higher education today must not only provide students with a competitive academic experience, we also must ensure that students led by their own faculty will link classroom experiences with meaningful opportunities to serve. The result is an improved society and a better educated student,” said UL System President Sally Clausen. “We hope these combined experiences will prepare students to make a better living for themselves and a better life for others.”

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