Name: David Remund, Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor of Public Relations, Drake University
What was your first experience with service-learning?
My first experience with service-learning was as a college student, more than two decades ago. We worked with community partners in three of my undergraduate courses in public relations and advertising, here at Drake.
How long have you been involved with service-learning?
I have been teaching in higher education for four years; nearly every one of my classes has involved some aspect of service-learning.
How do you incorporate service-learning into your job?
In teaching public relations, it’s important to bridge theory with practical application, or the development of tangible skills and competencies students will need to thrive professionally. Service-learning is one way in which we can help PR students gain practical knowledge and skills. Typically, I match small teams of students with community partners who need additional help with public relations. The students complete work for class credit; the community partners provide objective feedback, which I incorporate into student assessment and curriculum development.
What have been some of the most influential things you’ve come across while involved with service-learning?
Service-learning isn’t just volunteering, nor is it “free labor” for the community partner. When I engage a community partner, I make it clear that this is a partnership. In return for student ideas and input, the partner must be committed to sharing information and providing feedback.
How has your interpretation of service-learning changed since your first experience with it?
Early on, I saw service-learning as an efficient way to help students get practical experience. Since that time, I have come to realize how important service-learning can be, in terms of helping students develop a sense of citizenship and responsibility to the community. We talk candidly in class about the importance of what we are doing, with regard to community partners. It is not just a feel-good exercise–it is a meaningful contribution to the greater good of the larger community.
How do you see Drake’s service-learning program interacting with the campus and community?
The service-learning program can serve an important role, in terms of helping community partners understand and appreciate the service-learning process.
How do you hope students will get involved with the service-learning initiate on campus?
All of my students will be involved with service-learning before they graduate. It’s a requirement of our program.