Service-Learning in the News

Smart Cities Initiative Starts In Cleveland

May 07, 2014

Cleveland city staff and local experts in the fields of economic development, the arts and social sciences met earlier this week with professors from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville about a new initiative designed to benefit both the city and the university.

It was the first meeting since the March announcement that Cleveland was selected as the pilot city for the Smart Communities Initiative that begins in the fall.

SCI was founded upon the idea that universities and communities should work together to improve the health and vitality of their areas. Read more >


Provost’s Office Working on “S” Designation for Service-Learning Courses

The Provost’s Service-Learning Office is working on a plan to give an “S” designation to approved courses with a service-learning component.

The application process was piloted this spring by nine faculty members, each representing a different college.

The university already has many courses that employ service-learning, and the service-learning office is developing mechanisms to enhance the support and recognition of faculty who do this work. The next step will be designating courses with appropriate content and outcomes as service-learning courses. This will entail adding an S to the course numbers so students can easily spot them in the course catalog, and they’ll appear similarly on transcripts so employers can take note. Read more>


Smart Communities Planning Underway

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG  Banner Staff Writer

May 5, 2014

A new initiative to combine the expertise of Cleveland city officials and students at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville got underway with a meeting Monday.

Cleveland was chosen to take part in the inaugural year of a new program called the Smart Communities Initiative that will allow students to work with city officials and create proposals on ways to address city planning concerns.

Monday’s meeting was a time for Cleveland officials and university representatives to get together and discuss the projects so the university can choose which projects its students could most likely accomplish.

When applying to be part of the new program, the city proposed 19 different projects for the university’s consideration. Those who attended the Monday meeting divided themselves into groups to address different areas of concern and discuss each project, with the goal of helping narrow down the possibilities of what the university students will be able to do. Read more >


UT Launches Smart Communities Initiative with Cleveland Tennessee

April 1, 2014 2:30 pm

The city of Cleveland, Tennessee, has been chosen as the first partner city for UT’s new service-learning program, the Smart Communities Initiative. The partnership begins this fall.

“Through the Smart Communities Initiative, we’re going to partner faculty and students with cities, counties, special districts, and other municipal groups to engage in real-world problem solving aimed at improving the region’s economy, environmental sustainability, and social integrity,” said Kelly Ellenburg, campus coordinator for service-learning within the Provost’s Office.

SCI projects could be part of a course or form the basis on an independent study project. Faculty would receive funding to support the projects and needed travel. Read more >


City, UTK pair for planning program

by JOYANNA LOVE Cleveland Banner Senior Staff Writer
March 31, 2014

The city of Cleveland has been chosen to participate in the University of Tennessee’s Smart Communities Initiative Program.

This fall will be the launch of the university’s program to combine cities’ project planning needs with UTK students’ need for hand-on experience.

As a part of the program, Cleveland will receive detailed plans and data for projects that best fit with the classes being offered this semester.

“A continual problem that we have, and I think a lot of communities have unless they are really big and have a lot of staff … is that oftentimes there are opportunities that come for funding but with that funding opportunity comes the expectation that you will have planned and prepared for the projects that you want to fund. When you have staffing limitations … it’s hard to do that kind of stuff because what you wind up spending your time with is the immediate stuff that you have to get built,” planning director Greg Thomas said. Read more >


Corrected: UT adopts hands-on city sustainability course for fall

By Bradi Musil, Staff Writer
Published: Wed Jan 15, 2014 | Modified: Thu Jan 23, 2014 04:53 p.m.

Beginning next fall, UT students will be solving problems in Tennessee while earning credit hours and experience.

The Smart Communities Initiative, modeled after Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program, will engage students and faculty of UT with Tennessee cities, counties and regions to provide hands-on experience outside the classroom.

“It all started about five years ago, when faculty was sitting around talking about how every term students turn in this great work, and it just sits and never goes anywhere. These great ideas never get implemented or anything,” said Bob Choquette, the program manager of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program.

After Oregon presented their program on UT’s campus in the fall, UT adopted a customized version of Oregon’s model. Every year, the university will work with one Tennessee “host” city, or municipal partner to match projects with academic courses. Although instructors will still adhere to course curriculums, the class will primarily focus on the host city’s projects and culminate in a collaborative written report from the students. Read more >


Campus Community Invited to Learn about Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative

As UT moves toward establishing a service-learning program called the Smart Communities Initiative, the campus community is invited to learn more about a similar, and very successful, program operating in Oregon. Representatives from the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative will be on campus Monday, December 9, to discuss their cross-disciplinary Sustainable City Year Program with faculty, staff, students, and members of the public sector. The Sustainable City Year Program partners teaching faculty with city staff to engage students in service-learning projects focused on sustainability, livability, and improved quality of life in their communities. Read more >

View a web video of this presentation here.


Assistance Offered for Faculty Who Want to Add Service-Learning to Their Courses

Interested in adding a service-learning component to your course, but unsure how to do it? The provost’s office now has resources to help. Under the auspices of the Office of the Provost, UT Service-Learning has been created to support and increase the level of course-based service-learning across campus. The program’s office is in 217 Greve Hall.  Read more >


Resource Will Help Increase Service-Learning Opportunities

Students in Professor Michael Handelsman’s Spanish 494 class put their Spanish language skills to work while they’re learning about the Hispanic population in our community. The students spend one hour a week in the classroom talking about Hispanic issues in the United States They also spend thirty to forty hours during the semester in the community teaching and learning from native Spanish speakers. Some shadow interpreters at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Others work with young students at Lonsdale Elementary and with adults at Centro Hispano of East Tennessee. Service learning, such as this class provides, is hands-on learning at its finest. Read more >