The one-year term, which is supported with faculty release time, provides professional development training and support for faculty members interested in creating or enhancing a service-learning course.
Chris Fiorentino, director of the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, announced the selection of Hays, who heads the MCJ Department’s public relations program.
She follows Dr. Benjamin Boone, an award-winning music professor and service-learning advocate, who served as Fresno State’s Faculty Service-Learning Scholar from fall 2011 to spring 2017. Boone received a Fulbright Fellowship and will be teaching and working in Ghana, Africa during the 2017-18 academic year.
“Professor Hays’ extensive experience in developing and leading model service-learning courses, as well as her many other skills, will be a huge benefit to our campus and the larger community through the service and learning generated by her work,” Fiorentino said.
The Scholar’s primary duties include:
- Preparing and leading the annual Faculty Service-Learning Seminar
- Preparing and leading the annual Service-Learning Summer Course Redesign Intensive
- Serving on the service-learning subcommittee of the Academic Senate
- Mentoring individual faculty members interested in learning more about service-learning, or those faculty members interested in enhancing their courses through high-quality service-learning approaches
- Assisting and advising the director of the Richter Center and other University administrators regarding service-learning and related topics
Hays has implemented service-learning into three public relations courses and her students work with more than two dozen community benefit organizations each semester on a variety of projects tied to the curriculum.
At Fresno State, service-learning is a method to enhance students’ learning and foster civic understanding through active participation in meaningful service linked to academic study through structured reflection, Fiorentino said.
“The service may include improvement of community resources, direct service to people in need, applied research, community outreach and education, or policy analysis and advocacy,” he said. “The academic study may be in any discipline or combination of fields.”
Fresno State’s Richter Center helps expand the culture of service at the University, ensuring that all Fresno State students take advantage of the opportunities afforded them through service. The Richter Center is the central program at Fresno State that helps support and promote programs that engage Fresno State students in providing over 1 million hours of service to the community each year.
“I am extremely honored to have been chosen to work with our wonderful faculty to further the service-learning culture on Fresno State’s campus,” Hays said. “Service-learning has so many benefits for our students. And it makes the world better. What’s not to love?”