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2014 ALEX Applied Learning Summit: Integrating Service Into Learning

12 noon - 5 p.m., April 4, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Campus

The overriding purpose of the ALEX Applied Learning Summit is to unite educators and community members in the exploration and development of real-world learning experiences for students, ideally within the local community. Though delivered in a variety of formats, the Summit is designed to provide participants with hands-on opportunities to design and implement applied learning experiences in their organization or classroom. Many of the Summit's expenses are underwritten by a Title III Alaska Native-Hawaiian Native (ANNH) Serving Institutions Grant.

'Service Learning'

The focus of this year's Summit is on service learning. Service learning is a method of teaching that offers students immediate opportunities to apply classroom instruction to support or enhance the work of local organizations - often those that exist to effect positive change in the community - through meaningful community service. This form of learning emphasizes critical thinking and personal reflection while encouraging a heightened sense of community, civic engagement, and personal responsibility. In sum, it involves students in community service activities and applies the experience to both personal and academic development in a way that few other activities can. 

Plenary Speaker: Dr. Janet Eyler

Dr. Janet EylerJanet Eyler is Professor Emerita of the Practice of Education, Vanderbilt University.  In 35 years at Vanderbilt she served as associate dean and as department chair, directed several masters and undergraute programs and taught a variety of service-learning courses including integrating a week long alternative spring break program into her public policy class. For the three years she facilitated a faculty development seminar on service-learning in which about a dozen colleagues a year worked to develop new service-learning courses for the Vanderbilt curriculum.

Her scholarly work has focused on experiential learning. She is a recipient of the Thomas Ehrlich Award which honors outstanding work in service-learning in 2003 and the Outstanding Research Award of the National Society for Experiential Education in 1998 and 2008. She was keynote speaker for the First Annual Conference on Service-Learning Research held in Berkeley, California in 2000. With  Dwight E. Giles, Jr. she  co-directed two multi-year national service-learning research projects which led to publication of 'Where's the Learning In Service-Learning" by Jossey-Bass  and "A Practitioner's Guide to Reflection In Service Learning: Student Voices and Reflection."

Professor Eyler has been actively involved in national efforts to establish service-learning as a core pedagogy in higher education.  She served as host of the second annual International Conference on Service-Learning Research which brought 400 participants to Nashville. She has worked with faculty at colleges and universities across the country to help them develop service-learning programs, and to improve skills in reflection and program evaluation.  She has also given experiential education workshops for professional groups including conferences or programs for educators of nurses, dentists,  physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, business students, engineers and educators. And she has served as a consultant and speaker for programs in Canada, Austria, Kuwait, China, Singapore and Mexico as well as the US.

Professional Development Certificate

All educator participants who complete the summit will receive a professional development certificate (not good for academic credit) which can be used to supplement your development portfolio.

ALEX Applied Learning Summit Agenda

Time Events
11:30 a.m Registration - Outside the University Classroom Building (UCB)

12 noon - 2:00 p.m.

Opening Plenary Session: 'Where is the Learning In Service Learning?" (UCB 100)

Janet Eyler, Ph.D. - Professor Emerita of the Practice of Education, Vanderbilt University

Dr. Ehler will explore the virtues of service learning, the extent to which service is important to learning, the reflection process, and how to organize and plan for integration of service into courses. The session will be very hands-on, with opportunities for discussion between educators and community members alike.

2:00 - 2:15 p.m. Refreshments and Transition to Breakout Sessions
2:15 - 3:30 p.m.

Breakout Session I: The Mechanics of Effectively Managing Service Projects (UCB 101)


Dr. Sulma Gandhi - Director for Student Health and Wellness Programs, UH Hilo


This nuts and bolts session will address the practical steps that can be taken to effectively manage the service project process, including identifying prospective community project partners, using a reflection log, helping students to become independent project managers using project time lines and to-do list, and the monitoring of student progress and the facilitation of communication using the triage system. Dr. Gandhi's session will be based primarily on her experience at Kamehameha Schools in the capacity of lead Health and Wellness faculty member.


Breakout Session II: Service Learning For Beginners: A Case Study (UCB 103)


Dr. Michelle Shuey, Geography and Environmental Studies, UH Hilo


Dr. Shuey was tasked with working with her Introduction to Environmental Science students to create activities to entertain and educate school children participating in the UH Hilo/HCC Earth Fair. Learn about how she seemingly 'backed into' service learning and what her students learned about themselves and the world around them while designing their activities.

3:30 - 3:45 p.m. Refreshments and Transition to Breakout Sessions
3:45 - 5:00 p.m.

Breakout Session III: Helping Students To Understand the Why? and What? of Service Learning (UCB 101)


Drew Kapp, Geography and Environmental Studies, UH Hilo


A true community partner and practitioner of service learning in his geography courses for many years, Drew will discuss how he helps students to understand the 'Why?' of service learning, develop course learning objectives that reflect the underlying principles of service learning, and the identification of course projects (What?) to deliver on those learning objectives.


Breakout Session IV: Experiencing Service on Different Levels - The Integration of Volunteerism and Experiential Components (UCB 103)
Dr. Celia Bardwell-Jones, Philosophy, UH Hilo


This year, Dr. Bardwell-Jones experimented on the development of a course with a service-learning component. The course, PHIL 316 - Science, Technology, and Society, involved two components of service learning: the actual service act itself (students had to volunteer up to 10 hours of service to an organization or community project in the area), and an experiential component, which involved the creation of a dish in which the ingredients had to come from a 10 mile radius of where they lived. Dr. Bardwell-Jones, shares her experiences in designing and executing this course, including the all important reflection piece and the creation of a philosophy garden.


Summit Registration

The deadline for event registration is Sunday, March 30. Click on the registration link that best represents you.

Accomodations for Individuals with Disabilities

Anyone requiring auxiliary aids or special accommodations to participate in the above trainings should contact Tom DeWitt at or at 808.987.6551 at least 7-days before the event date.