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January 10, 2007

ULM awarded additional service-learning grants

Professors at the University of Louisiana at Monroe recently snagged over $26,500 in service-learning grants.

The two grants, awarded by the University Of Louisiana System, are in addition to the almost $64,000 granted to ULM in late November. This makes a total of six grants, which means ULM professors received 100 percent of their requested funding.

Sandra Hill, English, secured a $17,501.70 grant for "Service Learning in Technical Writing," which will provide resources for her Technical Writing students to implement a greater variety of services for their community partners. Service-learning is not new to English students, who have interviewed Hurricane Katrina survivors, wrote and edited their stories, and posted the stories online in an effort to help ULM students and community members cope with their experiences. Hill’s students also created brochures for organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Humane Society and NELA Red Cross.

The recent grant will allow her students to continue to work with these charitable groups, she said. “The project stands to greatly impact the community since many of the organizations we are partnering with are direct disaster relief and social welfare agencies,” Hill wrote in her grant proposal. “The goal of this project is to continue helping these agencies repair lives in Louisiana while providing real-world writing experiences for technical writing students.”

Ava Pugh and Mike Beutner, both of curriculum and instruction, secured a $9,000 grant for “Future Teachers: Outreach and Empowerment with Technology.” In this outreach program, local school officials will send at least 10 groups of struggling K-12 students to ULM, where ULM education students will share their technology skills with the at-risk students. Both the students and the teacher candidates will work together to create high-quality printed posters in a ULM computer lab.

The “ULS Serves” grants are made possible by a $1.2 million grant awarded to the UL System by Learn & Serve America to increase the capacity of service-learning in its eight universities over a three-year period.

"Service-learning is lifelong learning," said UL System President Sally Clausen. "Studies show that when service is a component of classroom learning, students are more likely to stay in school, graduate and become engaged in their communities throughout their lives."

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