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Warren Wilson College’s Dean of Service, Cathy Kramer, Updates Students on Potential Changes to Service Requirements

by Nathan Gower, staff writer

Warren Wilson College’s Service Program Office is deep into discussions about how to revise the triad’s service requirement.

Since the start of this academic year, the Service Learning Advisory Committee and two-person subcommittee have been drafting a proposal for a possible revision.The Service Program has gathered feedback through various benchmark studies, surveys, and dialogues over the past year to take into consideration.

Dean of Service Cathy Kramer hopes to have a final draft submitted through the governance system by February. If passed, the new model would begin implementation in the fall of 2012, with the remainder of the spring semester being devoted to education and transition.

Kramer was in attendance at the November 8 Student Caucus meeting, where she updated students on the process and discussed the first draft of a revision proposal.

Though Kramer acknowledged it is difficult to comment without knowing what the final plan looks like, she was certain that changes would not negatively affect students. Kramer sees this revision as a way to make students better community leaders and more marketable job applicants.

“Warren Wilson’s service program was cutting edge. We started as a real leader [in the 1970s], and now we’re running with the pack. This is a way to distinguish ourselves again. We don’t do it for the recognition, we do it for our students and our community,” Kramer said.

Kramer added that everyone has a say in the process, and by no means is anything final.

“We want every student to know this discussion is happening. We don’t want anyone to feel like this is behind closed doors,” Kramer stressed.

In addition to students, academic faculty have been involved in the process.

“Brooke Millsaps is having meetings with individual departments to talk about, in their discipline, what possibilities are,” Kramer said.

The Service Program Office and Kathryn Burleson, who is overseeing revisions to the general education requirements, are maintaining constant communication with each other. A faculty fellows program, where one academic faculty member would receive a stipend for their overseeing a particular service-learning course or program, is one way service and academics might be integrated.


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