Metzgar book addresses IU service-learning courses

Marah Harbison • July 14, 2015
Emiily Metzgar
Associate professor Emily Metzgar (Maggie Richards, BA’15 | The Media School)

Associate professor Emily Metzgar is co-editor and chapter author of a book that looks at service learning in the classroom, specifically at IU.

The Course Reflection Project: Faculty Reflections on Teaching Service-Learning, was published earlier this month. Co-editors of the book are Nicole Schonemann of the IU Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning and Andrew Libby, assistant director of IU’s human biology program.

The book is a collection of chapters written by IU instructors who use service-learning in their classrooms.

“Recognizing the need for careful reflection about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to service learning in the college classroom, Nicole, Andrew and I convened groups of IU instructors in various disciplines to discuss their experiences with service learning,” Metzgar said.

Classes with service-learning components take classroom theory to the community, usually in the form of students working with community groups. Students apply class work in a real-world situations that enhance their coursework.  Instructors devise service-learning courses in their classes. Recent examples of Media School service-learning courses are classes where students created videos of community volunteers, developed public service announcements for a local nonprofit and devised ad campaigns for a social service agency.

Metzgar said she believes the community service that is a part of service-learning is less of an option for college students and more of a duty.

“As clichéd as it may sound, my philosophy on education is that those with the opportunity to pursue a higher education have an obligation to the communities in which we find ourselves,” Metzgar writes in the book.

metzgar book cover
Associate professor Emily Metzgar is co-editor of a book about IU’s service-learning courses.

Metzgar’s chapter of the book details experiences she has gained as an educator from her own service-learning journalism class, J510 Media and Society. Students in this class perform service work at local nonprofit organizations, specifically those addressing social issues. This service is an effort to strengthen the bond between journalism and civic engagement.

“The goal was to develop a sense of civic engagement and social service among these budding journalists in order to solidify their understanding of the democratic role of the media in America society,” Metzgar writes of the class in her chapter of the book.

Metzgar became involved with CITL in 2009 as a faculty fellow of its service-learning program.

Metzgar said she has long been interested in community engagement and has gained much from the book project and her involvement.

“It was a tremendously gratifying experience to talk with so many committed instructors from IU and to learn from people who are committed to finding creative ways to connect classroom learning to the needs of the community and to the world at large,” she said of the project.

Other contributors wrote about their service-learning courses include visual art, elementary education, environmental science and athletic training projects.