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CSUF Extends Its Volunteer Reach to Cambodia
by Susan katsaros


From Dateline (March 27, 2003)

Community service by students is the focus of a partnership between Cal State Fullerton and Pannasastra University of Cambodia.

President Milton A. Gordon and Kol Pheng, president of Pannasastra University, signed an agreement in January to establish a Center for Community Service Learning at the Cambodian university.

Supporting the effort is a $124,419 United States Agency for International Development grant.

Next month, Cal State Fullerton will host a delegation of Cambodian students and faculty and staff members as a kick-off for the volunteer service- learning collaboration.

“It's certainly part of Extended Education's mission to have an international outlook,” said Harry Norman, dean of University Extended Education, about the agreement. “We have particularly focused on working with Southeast Asian countries because of the university's strong connection with the local Asian community, as well as our own Cambodian student population.”

Luu Trankiem, University Extended Education's director of international programs, is overseeing the program, while Norman serves as co-project director.

Jeannie Kim-Han, director of the Center for Community Service-Learning, is the lead service-learning consultant. Kari Knutson-Miller, assistant professor of child and adolescent studies, is the service-learning faculty consultant. Erika Randall, director of community service learning at the California State University Chancellor's office, is a project consultant.

Cal State Fullerton will train Pannasastra faculty members to utilize community service as part of academic coursework. Students would earn credit for their community service as part of select courses.

The effort will meet community needs, such as AIDS/HIV
education and health care, increase literacy and promote education, as well as educate and advocate on issues of human rights, noted Trankiem.

The community service program also will instill better understanding of civic education and responsibility in participating service-learning students by providing opportunities to serve and participate in governance and community, Trankiem added. The program will increase student learning by facilitating mastery of course concepts, he noted.

“The California State University system is recognized as a leader in the development, implementation and growth of service-learning pedagogy, research and evaluation,” said Randall. “And this university has one of the most developed and advanced service-learning programs of the 23 campuses in the system.”


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