Notre Dame de Namur University Professors Receive Prestigious Carnegie Foundation Grants

Belmont, CA, May 21, 2007 — Two Notre Dame de Namur University professors recently received grants from the Carnegie Foundation Faculty Fellows Program to develop community based learning courses that encourage student political engagement. Only 25 faculty members from public and private universities in California were chosen for this honor

Dr. Don Stannard-Friel, NDNU professor of sociology and anthropology, and Dr. Gretchen Wehrle, chair of NDNU’s Psychology and Sociology Department, have been selected as Faculty Fellows for the California Campus Compact – Carnegie Foundation Faculty Fellows: Service-Learning for Political Engagement Program. The program is funded in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Learn and Serve America.

As Faculty Fellows, Dr. Stannard-Friel and Dr. Wehrle will be working with other colleagues from a wide variety of disciplines over the next two years to create, implement, and reflect on service learning in at least one of their courses with the goal of increasing students’ understanding, skills, and motivation for political participation. They will also attend a three-day institute at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in Palo Alto, CA from July 30 – August 1.

“It is an honor to have been selected to be a California Campus Compact – Carnegie Foundation Faculty Fellow,” said Wehrle. “As a Fellow, I hope to build a stronger and deeper relationship with my community partner, the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center; develop a psychology course that gives students a better understanding of how they can have a stronger voice in their community; and create a campus culture where NDNU students are engaged in and committed to democracy and political participation.”

Dr. Stannard–Friel looks forward to adapting his community-based class, “The Promise of the Inner City,” to include service learning and political engagement. The course which is taught in San Francisco’s Tenderloin is designed to engage students and faculty with programs in the inner city that work with residents in highly participatory ways to bring about constructive community change. Programs NDNU plans on working with include St. Anthony’s Foundation, SFPD, San Francisco Network Ministries, and the Coalition on Homelessness, among others.

“I am very excited to receive this award,” Stannard-Friel said.  “Working with like-minded colleagues at other universities will, I am sure, encourage creativity and insight into new approaches of community-based learning. I believe we learn best by actually entering the world around us. The powerful emotions that this pedagogy always produces, in the student and the professor, ensures a deep and meaningful educational experience that informs in ways that no other method can. I look forward to an exciting and productive two years as a Faculty Fellow.”