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Office of Community Engagement

Wilson Hall, Room 3000
371 Wilson Blvd.
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)

Service Learning Course Highlights

See highlights of the services courses offered at Oakland University.

ALS 4960/ Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Co-taught by Angela Super, Special Lecturer and Gleice Jones, Lecturer, Linguistics Dept., College of Arts & Sciences

Community Partner(s): Avondale School District; La Casa Amiga (aka as Hispanic Outreach Center). See also Linguistics homepage

Course goals: The ESL classes that the Department of Linguistics offer are intended to help English language learners acclimate to the local culture and language. The primary objective of the TESL practicum student teachers is to develop and hone skills in teaching listening, speaking, reading, and writing to a class of English language learners.

Course elements

  • Student teacher reflection
  • Student observations
  • Client evaluation, including both pre- and post testing
  • A final presentation

Student reflections  

"I would describe my ESL experience as a huge learning experience. I learned so much patience when working with my students. I learned how to plan lessons and execute a full lesson in class. I would like to say that I learned as they learned and it may not be the actual material they were taught, but I learned classroom management, problem solving skills and time management."

"The beginning of my ESL teaching felt like I was painting on a blank canvas while being blind folded. To my surprise I managed to create a masterful work of art after realizing...there was no blindfold."

ALS 4960 photo collage

DES3330 Graphic Design II

Taught by Meaghan Barry, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, College of Arts & Sciences

Community Partner (called 'Client' in this discipline): Center for Public Humanities

Students were tasked with the following challenges from the Client:

  • How to create a simple design system that will work effectively within the rules
    of the Oakland University Brand Standards (link posted on Moodle), while still
    having a unique vision?
  • How to ensure the new design system will be easy for faculty (non-designers)
    to implement in multiple formats?
  • How to communicate ideas related to the Center (humanities, art, inclusion)
    without relying on stereotypical imagery?
  • How to be budget-conscious with the promotional materials?

OU graphic design students go batty for Cranbrook exhibit, 2015

COM2403 Group Dynamics & Communication

Taught by Professor Charlie Rhinehart

Course Description: "Being a group means that people have interdependent relationships, and these relationships are the essence of being a group--no relationship among members, no group." This course will focus on educating/experiencing skills for improving your perception and interpretation of the signals produced by others, in order to develop the relationships that will create a meaningful group.

Community partners chosen by student groups with a goal of "making a difference in the community."

BIO 4338 Food Systems Biology: Ecology, Physiology & Pathology

Taught by Dr. Fay Hansen

Students spend at least 10 hours engaged in a “service learning/community engagement” activity associated with “food systems” during the course. This activity could be connected with the Campus Student Organic Farm (CSOF), a community garden, a non-profit service provider or an educational institution. Students had a diverse range of  "food related" service all across the community, including Detroit.

Course rationale

Food is a universal need. This course follows food systems from “seed to plate”. The biology and related sciences associated with the production and consumption of food is considered in the context of two overarching, and interconnected themes: environmental health/sustainability and human health. In this early part of the 21st Century the “food system” has become increasingly globalized, with economic, cultural, environmental, and health impacts. “Food security” and “food sovereignty” are being discussed nationally and internationally. In some Western cultures, including the U.S., there is a movement toward “local “and/or “sustainably grown” foods, with multiple underlying arguments. Thus, the biology of food systems will also be discussed in the context of current societal issues. The class format will include conventional lectures, readings, discussions, student research, projects and presentations, field work and service-learning/community engagement.

Hear from OU students about the OU Student Organic FarmBio 4338 Photos

PT 8355 Health Promotion and Wellness in Physical Therapy and Teaching and Learning in Physical Therapy

Health Promotion and Wellness in PT taught by Drs Sara Arena & Jacqueline Scully; Teaching & Learning in PT taught by Dr. Lindsay Brandt

Service learning is a structured learning experience that combines community service with preparation and reflection. The Oakland University Physical Therapy Program has been incorporating this learning strategy with third year Doctor of Physical Therapy students participating as a collaborative effort between their Health Promotion and Wellness course and Teaching and Learning courses. There is a specific intention to incorporate exploration and integration of health equity and advocacy, addressing health disparities, and mindfulness toward social determinants of health and social justice into each event.

These partnerships have spanned many years, most more than a decade. Some partners host events annually and others are on a biennial event rotation schedule. Here are the five events that were hosted in the Fall semester of 2021.

PT 8355 class photos