Community-based learning is becoming a staple of many Centre courses, and this year, there is a new face behind such endeavors: Rebecca Tucker, Centre’s newest community-based learning coordinator.
As coordinator, Tucker works within the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) to assist faculty members in setting up a community-based learning course or activity. The only criterion for this type of course is that it provides a service to a local organization or group of people while connecting to the course curriculum. Tucker helps faculty connect with community groups and design activities that fulfill both the faculty member’s academic goals and the community partner’s service goals.
Tucker is originally from Valparaiso, Ind., and graduated from Purdue University North Central with degrees in business management and organizational leadership and supervision. As an undergraduate, Tucker was active in community service and student government, which led her to participate in the AmeriCorps VISTA program, a government initiative founded in 1965 designed to fight poverty in America.
The community-based learning coordinator position is partially funded by the AmeriCorps VISTA program and this became a big problem during the recent partial government shutdown.
“All of my paperwork had to be processed by the government,” Tucker explains. “None of it could be processed until it reopened. Luckily, it wasn’t shut down too long.”
Despite the slow start, Tucker has been busy acclimating to life in Danville and her new responsibilities.
“I’m still learning the ropes, but I have to say, so far, everyone at Centre has been very friendly and very willing to help me,” she says. “The atmosphere here has been my favorite part so far.”
Tucker brings valuable experience with both community service and community-based learning to her position.
“Several of the classes I took at Purdue had community-based learning components, so I’ve been on the student end of the class,” she says. “I got to see when these components were used well, but I also got to see how, when they’re mismanaged, they can turn a great experience into something a student wouldn’t want to do again. I hope to bring that perspective to this office.”
Tucker is above all excited to get to know faculty and community partners better, as well as gain some valuable work experience.
“This job will give me experience running projects, building partnerships and networking,” she explains. “If I decide to go for a government job, I get the same hiring status as veterans and Peace Corps members, which gives me a small advantage.”
To learn more about community-based learning and the CTL, visit the CTL website.
By Mariel Smith