Monday, November 29, 2010
Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster College associate professor of chemistry, was published in the 15th issue of The Journal for Civic Commitment, an online journal dedicated to service learning and civic engagement.
Boylan's article, "Student Reflections on a Watershed Service Learning Project Reveal Four Key Findings," detailed a three-year partnership between Westminster chemistry students and the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (SRWC) to test sites being treated for abandoned mine drainage. SRWC used the laboratory-quality results provided by the students to assess the efficacy of the passive treatment systems.
"This service learning project on abandoned mine drainage aligns well with the objectives of our Advanced Laboratory course," the article states. "It is a cross-disciplinary investigation involving environmental chemistry. Additionally, it introduces the students to field sampling and analysis and the use of standard methods, three skills not normally taught in our chemistry curriculum."
Each student wrote a two- to three-page reflection paper that addressed what he/she learned. The four findings were: positive feedback from the partner is key to success; "seeing" results is important; unplanned learning abounds; and the discipline matters in the real world.
As one student wrote, "...for the first time the data we obtained in lab counted for more than just a grade."
The complete article is available at http://www.mesacc.edu/other/engagement/Journal/.
Boylan, a 1995 Westminster graduate who joined the faculty in 2001, earned a Ph.D. from Duquesne University.
Contact Boylan at (724) 946-6293 or e-mail email@example.com for additional information.
Boylan completed the study while she was a Service Learning Faculty Fellow through Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
"Helen is one of more than 20 Westminster faculty who have served as a Service Learning Faculty Fellow," said Dr. Patrick Krantz, associate professor of education and director of the Drinko Center. "With support from the Drinko Center, she is able to apply her academic coursework to real-world solutions through service. Helen's recent publication is evidence of her commitment to service learning."
The Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education. Visit www.westminster.edu/drinko for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.
About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College is a top tier liberal arts college, a national leader in graduation rate performance, and a "Great School, Great Price," according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 38th among liberal arts colleges, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 373 Colleges" and "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.