“When we human beings from very different backgrounds discover a common bond – when we link together and find a common joy – we discover that what holds us together turns out to be more fundamental, more eternal, and more important than those things which divide us.”
These words from Ernie Bursey, Professor of Religion at Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences, were part of the opening presentation at a Service Learning Day Institute held at FHCHS on October 23. The institute, entitled Service Learning in Health Care – the Life Blood of Education, was sponsored by a generous grant from Florida Campus Compact.
Attendees came from across the state of Florida to engage in a dialogue about innovative incorporation of meaningful service learning opportunities into college curricula. Presenters included representatives from Florida Hospital, FHCHS, the Grant Professionals Network of Central Florida, Miami Dade College, the Primrose Center, and the University of Central Florida.
Lively breakout sessions and roundtable discussions tackled topics including: Service Learning – the New Volunteerism, Bringing Service Learning to Life in Your Courses, Building Community Partnerships, and Writing Grants That Get Results.
“It was exciting to see colleagues from various institutions and agencies engaging in dialogue about the significance of service learning to our communities,” said Millie Prado, a member of the grants management team at FHCHS.
FHCHS was an appropriate host for such an event since service learning is an integral part of the College curricula. FHCHS students participate in service learning activities as a graduation requirement.
“We are committed to continually expanding service learning opportunities for both our students and community partners,” said David Greenlaw, President of FHCHS. “Teaching our students to find opportunities for service while seeking a college degree sets the pattern for lifetime behavior.”
A highlight of the Day Institute was a presentation by Susan Tiell-Curschman, Vocational Director at the Primrose Center. Primrose is a not-for-profit organization that provides therapy, job opportunities, and a variety of daily support services to four hundred adults with developmental disabilities. FHCHS faculty and staff spent a day volunteering together at Primrose earlier this fall.
“As educators, we have a duty to not only encourage our students to participate in service learning, but to lead by setting the example,” noted Marlene Watson, Assistant Professor of Nursing at FHCHS. “We have a responsibility to our various professions to give back.”
Karen Tilstra, Chair of the FHCHS Service Learning Committee, wrote the grant proposal and led efforts to organize the institute.
“Florida Campus Compact provided us with a wonderful opportunity. Our whole Service Learning team was energized by organizing the event as well as participating in the day,” said Tilstra. “It was an honor to have peers from other colleges and universities make presentations and host roundtable discussions. The day was full of learning, connecting, and synergy. ”