Fontenot Named Service-Learning Mentor
August 27, 2007
Dean Fontenot, a director of the T-STEM Center, has been selected as a Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Mentor for the 2007-2008 academic year by the Texas Tech University Teaching, Learning and Technology Center.
Modeled after the service-learning fellowship program at Montclair State University, the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Mentor program is designed to enrich the service-learning community at Texas Tech. Each year, six Faculty Fellows Mentors are selected from university faculty who have exhibited excellence in service-learning and encouraging colleagues new to the pedagogy.
As a Faculty Fellows Mentor, Fontenot will provide one-on-one mentoring to Service-Learning Faculty Fellows, contribute to the dialogue of the Texas Tech service-learning community and help develop training in service-learning philosophy and implementation for the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center.
"I am excited about the chance to learn new concepts and theories about service learning, share my own research in service learning with fellow faculty members, and develop relationships that I will be able to turn to when I have questions about developing new ideas for service learning," said Fontenot.
Service-learning is a teaching strategy that combines community service with classroom learning. In service-learning projects, students are challenged to apply classroom concepts through a real-world project with a client chosen from the community.
Fontenot has been an advocate of service-learning at Texas Tech for over 10 years, and was an active supporter of establishing a service-learning community among the faculty.
"I have always been interested in finding better ways to teach a class and better ways to introduce my students to course content," said Fontenot, who teaches a Professional Communications for Engineers course in the Department of Industrial Engineering. "From students' reflection papers it is evident that they learn a great deal about the engineering profession, community involvement, and communication through service-learning projects."
This semester, students in Fontenot's class are working with the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering, an Austin-based, nonprofit organization that encourages traditionally underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in engineering. Students are working to design hands-on, educational exhibits for Trailblazer, the organization's traveling science museum.
Fontenot's Professional Communications for Engineers course was cited by Texas Tech administrators when the university received the Community Engagement Classification recognition from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Service Learning at Texas Tech
In addition to supporting faculty through the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows program, the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center coordinates workshops, hosts seminars and provides individual consultation to teachers interested in using service-learning strategies in their courses.
Texas Campus Compact
The service-learning community at Texas Tech was started as part of the Texas chapter of Campus Compact, a national coalition of universities dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education.