Service-learning courses in the department enrich our course offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. At the undergraduate level, we offer a service-learning section of the General Education Course, Art Education 2520S, The Computer in the Visual Arts, every semester. In this course, students are partnered with middle school age girls as part of the Gidget Technology for Girls program to collaborately create computer art through an asset-based analysis of their shared university neighborhood and campus. In addition to making art in a deluxe Mac lab with Photoshop, this course also involves the students and girls in learning in an Open Source community computer lab operated by the University Area Enrichment Association and FreeGeek.
At the graduate level several courses enhance our offerings. In the Online Master Degree program, students (who are practicing art teachers across the country) participating in Art Education 7670, Critical Analysis of Multicultural Art Education, implement multicultural service-learning projects in their own schools. These activities have resulted in meaningful partnerships between schools and community organizations across the country and in Jamaica, as art teachers in the course connect their learning online with teaching in their own classrooms. These partnerships have resulted in collaborative public murals, puppet show performances, school gardens, and photo collages that have represented the relationships formed between students and others.
Graduate-level service-learning courses have taken place during summer one-week intensive courses as well, including a Kids’ Guernica Peace Mural course that partnered graduate students with children enrolled in the Somali Women and Children’s Alliance summer camp. The mural, created on an 11.5’ x 25’ canvas, currently hangs in the Global Mall where services and businesses targeted to the local Somali population are housed. Another course partnered graduate students with children living in a housing project in the neighborhood next to campus, which resulted in a large pieced together mural representing the community’s assets. The art piece now hangs in the community policing substation. These collaborative learning opportunities have enriched students’ learning and understanding by connecting theory to practice in real world and culturally diverse settings.