Jill K. Burk
Pennsylvania State University, Berks
In colleges and universities, undergraduate students often eagerly and anxiously review a course syllabus and listen to their professors introduce new learning opportunities. Many of these opportunities include traditional pedagogical methods such as lectures or discussions; however, some opportunities go beyond these traditional pedagogical approaches and include service-learning or community-based research projects. This journal celebrates these types of inquiry.
It is my pleasure to introduce Volume 4 of Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research. This volume includes a diverse group of manuscripts, and the projects the undergraduate authors undertook are remarkable. They demonstrate the vast array of service learning and community-based research occurring in our communities.
For example, Josephine Hazleton shares her experiences working with a bike advocacy group; Robert Schwartz's community-based research project involves studying an Amur leopard, an endangered subspecies of leopard; and Jedidiah Barton explains the perceived importance of anchor institutions, such as hospitals, in our communities.
Volume 4 received 54 submissions from students in higher education institutions around the world. Of these, 19 essays were published. All of the authors revised their original submissions (excluding research done in partnership with community organizations, which is published here in its original form). The articles published in this volume represent research and reflections by a very talented group of undergraduates.
All of the authors who submitted a piece to Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research worked closely with a faculty mentor on revising and editing their work. More than 20 faculty mentors from disciplines in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts and from institutions in the U.S. and across the globe worked with at least one submission and student author(s). This mentor-student relationship spanned time zones, institutional settings, and disciplinary boundaries. Faculty mentors worked countless hours with students they have never personally met or worked with before. The faculty mentors' work demonstrates their devotion to community engagement and student learning. This devotion is one that is unmatched and unwavering, and I thank all of the faculty mentors for it.
In addition, I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who helped to produce and support Volume 4 of Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research:
All of the students who submitted their writing to the journal;
All of the published writers who accepted feedback and worked diligently and professionally on their revisions;
The Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research editorial board and faculty mentors;
Editorial assistant Alexandria Yeager;
Faculty who encouraged their students to submit their work;
Jacqueline Cozma, webmaster at Pennsylvania State University, Berks
Laurie Grobman, founding editor of Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research;
R. Keith Hillkirk, Chancellor, Penn State University, Berks; Paul Esqueda, Sr. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Penn State University, Berks; and Belen Rodriguez-Mourelo, Head of the Division of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Penn State University, Berks, for the financial support and enthusiasm you give to the journal.
As a faculty member who employs these 'non-traditional' types of projects in my classroom, I can say with confidence that these projects are often met with apprehension and unease. Many undergraduate students are uncomfortable when faced with these new tasks and challenges, and often display disdain or are non-committal toward the project. It's challenging to encourage and guide undergraduate students on these new journeys.
Therefore, as the editor of Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research, I would like to dedicate this volume to the faculty who lead undergraduate students through service-learning and community-based research. While you may not be in the foreground of these manuscripts, you are always present in the background, encouraging and guiding the next generation of change-makers.