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CLINTON, Iowa, Aug. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- When Ashford University students return for the fall semester, they will find a new campus department – the Office of Service and Leadership (OSL).
"This office will give students the opportunity to take leadership roles in serving our community, said Audra Adams, service learning administrator, a recently created position. "Service learning will be a main component of this initiative. Service learning brings community service into the classroom and integrates it with established learning objectives."
John Ballheim, vice president and campus director, agreed. "Providing students with a quality education and experience is a top priority at Ashford. The Office of Service and Leadership is just one more way we're showing our dedication to our students," he said.
"The OSL will help our students become better community partners which will hopefully encourage them to become lifelong volunteers and community advocates."
The OSL will help students connect with volunteer and career exploration opportunities throughout the Ashford campus and surrounding communities.
"This initiative is very exciting for our students," Adams said. "We have very bright, intelligent students who really want to make a difference. The OSL will give our students the ability to serve others while discovering themselves in the process. The objectives of service learning are to serve and learn side by side with community members. While making a difference in the community is very important, it is also our goal to help our students with career exploration while finding service opportunities that will potentially last a lifetime."
Adams noted that there are two main ways for Ashford students to serve in the community. The first is through service learning which is administered through the OSL and facilitated by a professor of a specific Ashford University class. The student will earn academic credit for the service and there will be a formal time-tracking system and evaluation process.
"The other avenue for students to serve is through the simple giving of their time through volunteering," Adams explained. "The information that community organizations share with us will guide our students to various service opportunities. This will give students, faculty, staff and parents the opportunity to volunteer with organizations they might not otherwise have known how to connect with." Adams is asking community organizations with volunteer opportunities to send their contact information to her at email@example.com.
"The truly amazing thing about the Office of Service and Leadership is that it is student driven," Adams said. "This initiative was started to give our students a more well-rounded experience at Ashford and we are dedicated to doing just that. If a student has a service idea they would like the university to pursue, we are here to support them and allow them to take the leadership role that they most definitely deserve."
Dr. Charlie Minnick, dean of Ashford's College of Business and Professional Studies, agreed that service learning is an important addition to the university's academic offerings. "Service learning enhances student learning while promoting a sense of civic responsibility among our students. It allows our students to make a positive difference in the world in which we live," he said.
About Ashford University
Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org). The University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs online and at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable online and on-campus programs. For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.
Contact: Larry Libberton, Director of Communications
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SOURCE Ashford University