The University Record, September 24, 1996

STATE OUTREACH AND COMMUNITY SERVICE

By Janet Nellis Mendler
News and Information Services

Thirteen outreach and community service projects that will positively affect the lives of Michigan residents and offer opportunities for University students and faculty to serve the state's citizens have received funding from the University. The money comes from a one-time appropriation awarded to each state-assisted university by the Michigan legislature earlier this year.

"We assured legislators last spring that we would use the funds to support community outreach and other programs of service to the state and its citizens," says Walter Harrison, vice president for university relations. "We are very appreciative of the state's support; these projects reflect a return on investment in many corners of the state."

According to Provost J. Bernard Machen, more than 40 proposals were submitted last spring, several involving two or more units. Some projects are ongoing, others new. "We looked for evidence that students were involved in a substantive way, and for evidence that the projects would be continued once funding from the state had been expended. These proposals are extremely strong in both respects," Machen notes. "And while some submissions were not funded because they did not involve students so centrally, they did demonstrate a considerable impact on the state, so we want to be able to consider the possibility of returning to them in a second round."

 

Michigan Math Camp

Michigan Math Camp received a three-year grant to bring up to 200 Michigan high school math students and teachers to the University for one of two intensive two-week summer math enrichment workshops, to be followed by correspondence between U-M undergraduate and graduate math students and the high school alumni, whose math interests willdetermine the content. The follow-up will help improve math curricula in the high schools. U-M math faculty will pair one-to-one with the high school teachers and the department will create a Web site for participants.

The project's main educational goal, according to project director Phil Hanlon and program director Carolyn Dean, is to expose students to "exciting mathematical ideas and interesting applications of mathematics to real world problems. We ho pe that they will leave this program with a genuine enthusiasm for mathematical study. For the teacher participants, our broad goal is to establish U-M as their partner in the mathematics education of Michigan youth." Full and tuition-only scholarsh ips to high school students and teachers.

Detroit Initiative---
Department of Psychology

Two-year funding for the Detroit Initiative expands a Department of Psychology community service learning project first offered in winter 1995. The program has four major goals:

 

To provide a hands-on service and research practicum for undergraduates learning about the needs of urban children, youth and families through formal coursework in community psychology;

 

To offer the expertise of psychology faculty to six community organizations associated with the Michigan Neighborhood Partnership in Detroit;

 

To broaden departmental ties with human service agencies beyond those in Washtenaw County and to develop such ties with the Detroit community;

 

To teach community intervention methods that can positively affect multiethnic urban communities.

The Detroit Initiative, submitted by Patricia Gurin, Lorraine Gutierrez and Oscar Barbarin, will increase the current enrollment from 160 to 420 students per year. Agencies with which the Detroit Initiative currently works are eager for assistance across three terms so that they can better regularize activities involving U-M students, and several other agencies have asked to be included.

According to Gurin, student evaluations of the Detroit Initiative are very favorable; undergraduates appreciate the opportunity to meld their academic studies with urban needs.

Poverty Law Program

The Law School will use its grant to help establish the University of Michigan Poverty Law Program. The Program will provide training, research support and technological resources to 12 legal services field offices throughout the state, serving every county in Michigan, according to Law School Dean Jeffrey Lehman and clinical Prof. Suelleyn Scarnecchia. The field offices provide direct legal representation in the areas of family, housing and public benefits law to low-income clients.

The Law School, says Lehman, has a strong commitment to clinical legal education; the Program will add a site and would allow students to concentrate on legal issues facing people living in poverty. "By cooperating with volunteer attorneys, the Program will provide an opportunity to bring our Michigan alumni together with faculty and students to provide legal services to the poor."

As a resource for the legal services field offices, the new Program will provide training to approximately 100 legal services attorneys, publish legal updates, schedule and facilitate meetings of statewide legal services task forces, and provide technological hardware and software to the offices and provide computer training.

Project Outreach

Project Outreach, a community service program first offered to undergraduates 30 years ago, currently places undergraduates in 57 agencies in Washtenaw County. Its goals are to help students apply their k nowledge of psychology in human service agencies serving children, youth and adults; to integrate community service with academic learning through explicit connections between the field work and classroom; and to provide opportunities to explore careers i n human services.

It involves three groups of students---undergraduates enrolling in Project Outreach, Psychology 211; undergraduates selected to facilitate discussion sections who enroll in Psychology 306, Group Leadership; and graduate student instructors (GSIs) who teach Psychology 306 and supervise the undergraduate facilitators. Jerry Miller, adjunct associate professor, directs all three tiers, sets up the Project's relationships with community agencies and selects and supervises the GSIs. Project Outreach offers eight sections both fall and winter term, each focused on a different community population. They include Preschool at Risk; Big Sibs; Juvenile Justice; Social Justice; Intervention for Mental Health; Health, Illness and Society; Exploring Careers; and Lifespan Development.

With each undergraduate contributing three hours of community service per week, the community is receiving approximately 2,000 hours of direct assistance, Miller notes. The two-year grant will be used to expand the program to include spring and summer opportunities, to develop marketing programs to enroll more students, to attract students from other universities, and to develop evaluation research internships that would be associated with each of the projects.

 

Dance Department
Detroit Outreach Project

The Department of Dance's Dance Day program brings 100 Detroit high school students to campus to learn more about the department and attend performances by U-M undergraduates and faculty.

 

Since 1988, the Dance Department's Detroit Outreach Project, directed by Bill DeYoung, associate professor of dance, has sent faculty and graduate alumni into several Detroit high schools for eight weeks of work with advanced high school dance students. Faculty serve as a resource for high school dance teachers, consulting with them on ways to enrich existing dance programs, as well as providing several in-service resource sessions that focus on teaching technique, composition and history.

The second part of the program brings about 100 students and their parents to Ann Arbor for Dance Day. Besides talking to U-M admissions officers and touring campus, the high schoolers attend several dance performances by U-M undergraduates and faculty. Several months later, the students return to campus to attend the Dance Department's annual Power series performance.

A third component of the Dance Department's program is the Youth Intervention Project. Instructor Biza Sompa, a former soloist with the Congolese National Dance Company, has been teaching a weekly class on Congolese dancing and drumming to 6th-8th grade boys from Jackson and Remus Robinson middle schools in Detroit. The youngsters, many with severe behavioral problems, have been identified as at-risk.

Encouraged by the energy and concentration of the students, dance department faculty, in consultation with Detroit Public School administrators, teachers and parents, decided to use the class as a model for what can be accomplished in youth intervention. Students were permitted to participate in Sompa's class only if they agreed to maintain classroom behavior and attendance in their regular school activities. The carry-over to the classroom was so dramatic that teachers and parents have said they they'd never seen such attention and discipline from these particular students. The program, says Bill DeYoung, associate professor of dance, and Gay Delanghe, department chair, demonstrates that the arts can be an invaluable tool in re-engaging Detroit's young people. "Dance enhances students' self-esteem, encourages self-discipline, and offers a form of physical expression other than sports."

The program, which received funding for three years, also addresses needs of Hispanic students with a series of Detroit workshops demonstrating Latin American dance traditions.

Center for Learning Through Community Service---Alternative Breaks

The Alternative Spring Break program sends more than 350 students to 30 states to help work on volunteer projects. The additional funding will allow for expansion by five sites per year, focusing on site development in underserved Michigan communit ities.

 

A two-year grant to the Center for Learning Through Community Service (CLCS)will allow it to expand the Alternative Breaks Program. One of the most popular service learning programs at the University and one of the largest in the country, Alternative Breaks participants can choose to volunteer for spring, summer and weekend projects. The spring program currently sends more than 350 students to 30 states; many potential volunteers cannot be accommodated because of current resource constraints. Students are largely responsible for raising their own funds, according to CLCS Director Barry Checkoway, director of the Center for Learning Through Community Service. The weekend program allows students to address community issues by living and learning with residents in Flint, Detroit and neighboring cities over a series of weekends.

The new funds will allow for expansion by five sites per year, with emphasis on site development in underserved Michigan communities, will support student travel to and from sites, expand pre-service and in-service learning activities, and provide for evaluation of effects on student learning outcomes.

In addition CLCS received cost-sharing funds to support the Michigan Neighborhood AmeriCorps Program, a partnership of five professional graduate schools---Business, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Work and Architecture and Urban Planning---and 12 community-based organizations working with the Michigan Neighborhood Partnership. Working together in community service teams, students address unmet economic educational, environmental, public safety and human needs through projects that apply knowledge and skills to community problems. In addition to the federally required cash matching, the new funds will be used to strengthen student pre-service and in-service learning and increase the number of University units in the program.

Michigan Migrant Farm Dental Program

The School of Dentistry will use some of its funding to expand the 20-year-old Michigan Migrant Farm dental program, which brings dental services to workers at six sites in the Grand Traverse region.

 

The School of Dentistry will use its two year grant to for several outreach projects, including expanding its 20-year-old Michigan Migrant Farm dental program, which currently brings dental services to workers at six sites in the Grand Traverse region of northern Michigan. Two equipped dental vans, original to the program, will be replaced. In 1995, according to dentistry dean William E. Kotowicz, the program resulted in more than 1,000 treatment visits provided by 32 senior dental students. Records show that patients returning to the sites have experienced reductions in all types of restorative care and extractions because of the increase in preventive procedures such as sealants. Dental students benefit as well, as they become aware of the barriers and difficulties that certain groups have in receiving adequate dental care. Prof. Robert A. Bagramian directs the outreach programs.

A more recent outreach project, the four-year-old Geriatric Dental Service, brings dental care to residents in five nursing homes in Saline and Monroe. Reclaimed dental equipment has been placed in the homes, both private and state-funded facilities serving a cross-section of races. More modern portable dental units would allow the program to extend to other nursing homes that have asked to be included. Along with primary care, dental students provide oral health evaluations, dental consultations by physician referral and in-service training for nursing home staff.

More portable equipment also will allow the school to create a new program to extend services to public school children in Detroit and Calhoun County. Dental and dental hygiene students, under the supervision of a public health dentist, will provide health assessment, prevention and treatment services. Officials from both areas have asked the dental school to set up programs in schools where there is high enrollment in federally funded school lunch programs, an indication that many children are from homes near the poverty level. Portable dental equipment would provide a satellite clinic that could be moved from school to school as demand for services dictated.

MLink

MLink uses the resources and skills of the University to meet the information needs of Michigan citizens. Directed by Richard Hathaway, MLink provides two types of outreach: research services mediated by public libraries, and electronic information made directly available to Michigan citizens.

Each community in Michigan, through its public library and MLink, has access to material and faculty resources at the University to assist in economic and community development. Since mid-August 1995, MLink has assisted more than 170 communities; 1,000 business persons, government officials, educational administrators, health care and social service agencies have asked for and received information on topics ranging from current wage figures for community hospital employees to regulations and issues regarding operation of an adult day care center, to what tax and environmental concerns need to be addressed when a manufacturing plant seeks to locate in a community.

MLink also provides electronic information services including Internet training and the Michigan Electronic Library (MEL), already recognized as one of the premier destinations on the WorldWide Web, accessed more than 5,000 times per day. MEL specializes in business and government information, Michigan state and local in particular.MLink recently joined with the Library of Michigan to ensure that Michigan citizens will have "no cost" access to MEL, or need for an account with an Internet provider to reach MEL. The MLink funding is for two years.

School of Education/School of Social Work---Detroit Public Schools

The School of Education will use its three-year grant to help fund a collaborative project with the School of Social Work to assist Detroit Public Schools (DPS) in implementing a 9th grade restructuring plan. After several years of study, Detroit schools last fall implemented schools within schools and added block scheduling and more counselors and social workers to work with students and parents to help stem a high drop-out rate among 9th graders. Brian Rowan, associate dean for research in the School of Education, and Ron Astor, assistant professor of social work and of education, will direct a for-credit seminar that that will enroll DPS administrators, teachers from all 24 Detroit public high schools, and faculty and students from several U-M units to assess those efforts and identify other effective programs. The experiences gained from the Detroit program will be applicable to other urban areas, and accessible through distance-learning programs, according to education Dean Cecil Miskel.

School of Social Work---Michigan Human Service Internships

Under the direction of Larry Coppard, director of external relations, the School of Social Work will use its two-year grant to help launch the Michigan Human Service Internships. In contrast to current practice, whereby interns are placed individually, intern teams will be assigned to an agency or project in underrepresented areas of the state. Wherever possible, student interns from other U-M units will be paired with the social work students. Students will be expected to provide up to 912 hours of direct service in their placement agencies, many of which are being forced to reduce services because of budget cutbacks, notes Dean Paula Allen-Meares.

Geographic targets for the new program include the west side of the state and specific areas of southeastern Michigan. Because the school currently recruits a number of students from western Michigan, Coppard expects the students and communities to benefit from interns who are familiar with the placement areas. Preliminary meetings have already been held with agency representatives in Grand Rapids and Muskegon.

Division of Kinesiology---MI-EPEC

The Division of Kinesiology will work to determine the effectiveness of Michigan's Exemplary Physical Education Curriculum. The Division will ensure physical fitness, activities, motor skills, behaviors and attitudes and beliefs of youths from acro ss the state.

 

Gov. John Engler and the Michigan Department of Community Health have asked for an assessment system to track youth health status and to determine the effectiveness of Michigan's Exemplary Physical Education Curriculum (MI-EPEC). Charles Kuntzleman, a Division of Kinesiology faculty member, is co-chair of MI-EPEC and chair of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports. A three-year grant to Kinesiology, whose chair is Dee Eddington, will enable the unit to launch a statewide assessment program to measure the physical fitness, activities, motors skills, behaviors and attitudes and beliefs of youth. Ultimately, schools would receive school/district summaries permitting comparisons within and across districts; eventually the assessments would enable each child's family to receive a personalized "report card."

The assessment has potential for upgrading the way physical education is taught in Michigan, allows faculty and students extensive opportunities to conduct research, and will reach virtually every community in Michigan. MI-EPEC, whose membership includes representatives from government agencies, policy groups, professional physical education and fitness organizations, eight state universities and 10 public school districts, will work closely with the Kinesiology Division, and offer networking opportunities to its students. The assessment, Eddington says, will position the University as the strategic leader in helping solve major disease risk factors for youth and future adults. Part of the program will require training school personnel in assessment procedures through workshops, computer conferencing, interactive video and distance learning.

Department of Sociology---Community Service Learning Program

The Department of Sociology will expand its 20 year-old field-based Community Service Learning program; it currently places more than 500 undergraduates in 40 local sites. Students enroll in Sociology 389 for 2-4 hours of academic credit and are required to spend 4-8 hours per week in community organizations, generally counseling, tutoring, or performing para-professional activities, and attend weekly seminars where they integrate their field experiences with readings. They also must keep a journal and write a formal paper about their experiences, says Sociology Chair Richard Lempert. The seminars are led by specially trained and undergraduate and graduate facilitators under the supervision of sociology Prof. Mark Chesler.

The field sites include schools, day care centers, correctional institutions, half-way houses, chemical dependency programs, medical institutions, community agencies serving the frail elderly and homeless as well as in several student organizations on campus and the Program on Intergroup Relations and Conflict.

The two-year grant will allow the program to expand enrollment and sites and increase the number of GSIs, enabling them to spend more time developing site-specific readings, leading seminars for undergraduate facilitators, and making more site visits. In addition, the department plans to do a more systematic job of evaluating the service program, learning from and conducting research on peer-facilitated learning, and will assist undergraduates in publishing in journals seeking papers on innovations in undergraduate education. The department also will create a seminar for the undergraduate facilitators that will include GSIs, to provide instruction in small group leadership and teaching techniques. Eventually, Chesler says, he hopes to be able to extend the program to the spring-summer term, where student demand has been high, and to work with department faculty to help them build field service into their classes.

Community Science Connection---
Engineering, Education, Information, Public Health

The Community Science Connection: A Model for K-12 Science Education Reform, draws its support from the College of Engineering, and the Schools of Education, Information and Public Health. Working in Detroit and Flint, it will link schools and the community in discovery-based projects such as examining the lead content of playground dirt. While the local community will serve as the source for developing the questions to be examined, it also will share in the findings, through student presentations and on-line postings, according to Elliot Soloway, professor of electrical engineering and computer science who also has appointments in education and information.

Local community problems are authentic and motivating to students and teachers, and will serve as the vehicle through which science content and process are taught and learned. "Our intent," Soloway says, "is to demonstrate the viability of a model of science education reform that is based in local community public health issues; that employs an inquiry-based pedagogy; and where technology provides the integrating infrastructure though which teachers, students, researchers and the local community learn and interact. Quite candidly, there is no university in this country in which such a large number of faculty are working together on K-12 science education."

Students will use computational and communications technologies, including BlueSkies, the U-M Digital Library, ScienceWare, and instructional practices pioneered by U-M faculty. According to Soloway, focusing all these efforts in one place at one time is unprecedented. While integrating the community and the schools is a human activity, the new computing and communication technologies are the mechanisms that support the human communication and interaction. Some of the Science Connection funds will be used to provide participating teachers and students with modern technological equipment.