Center for Internships & Service Learning

As part of their service-learning experience, offered through the university's Center for Internships & Service-Learning, Cal State Fullerton students work with immigrants who want to learn English.

CSUF Center to Foster Service Learning With College of Business and Economics

Activities enrich learning by engaging students in community service opportunities

April 10, 2007

By Debra Cano Ramos

Business majors will now have the opportunity to link their studies in the classroom with community service as a result of a new partnership between the Center for Internships & Service-Learning and the College of Business and Economics.

The center has received funding to partner with the college in an effort to increase the number of service-learning opportunities for students. About 25 faculty members who teach business communication courses will be targeted to develop service-learning curriculum, said Irene Lange, chair and professor of marketing. Since this is a required course for business administration majors, potentially thousands of students would be encouraged to participate in service-learning activities. A workshop will be held Friday, April 27, to train faculty in service-learning development and implementation.

“There is a need to provide business students with more learning activities that give them exposure to real-world situations and teaches them about social and civic responsibility to their community,” said Jeannie Kim-Han, the center’s director.

Service learning is a teaching methodology in which students become involved in a community-based service that ties in with the course materials, Kim-Han explained. “The service-learning component within courses provides students the opportunity to develop values, professional ethics, as well as the teamwork, leadership and citizenship skills necessary for them to make meaningful contributions to society,” Kim-Han said. California Campus Compact, a membership organization that provides support for colleges and universities to nurture students as future leaders and to become responsible partners in the community, awarded the center a $4,000 grant to develop this new venture with the College of Business and Economics.

The Center for Internships & Service-Learning, which was established in 2003 and operates under Academic Affairs, assists faculty and students in service-learning experiences at local nonprofit organizations and schools. The center also coordinates internship opportunities that give students knowledge and practical experience in a related academic field of study.

Over the last several years, internships and service-learning placements have increased every year, reaching an all-time high in 2005-06 with 215 class sections offering community-based learning programs to 6,683 students, Kim-Han said.Advisory boards for both the college and the center, made up of business and community leaders, have expressed interest in providing business majors with this type of community exposure in connection with coursework.

“Students who participate in this experiential learning are more well-rounded individuals and receive a broader education,” Lange said. “It also helps to instill social entrepreneurship and social responsibility as part of their value system.”


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