She Had A Pleasant Elevation

She’s moving out in all directions …

Like this Talking Heads song, this is how my summer has been – moving out in all directions. Though to be clear –  I am NOT taking LSD in a field next to a Yoo-hoo beverage factory in Baltimore, Maryland (thanks for this information Wikipedia), nor am I lying in any grass. I have been working with my colleagues on lots and lots of assessment projects, all simultaneously. And it’s fun and exciting and draining and cool. (And busy.)

Let me do a brief inventory:

  • Assessment of Learning in the Academic Library
  • Student Affairs Assessment
  • Academic Department Assessment Reports – 2010-2011
  • Academic Department Assessment Plans – 2011-2012
  • Preparing for rolling out Department Review- Chapter 2: Student Learning
  • Liberal Arts Core Revision (and supporting myriad assessment projects associated with the current LAC outcomes)
  • NWCCU Accreditation – Standard One
  • Hiring and welcoming our new Assessment Research Coordinator
  • Hiring and welcoming our new Service Program Coordinator
  • Teaching LRN 305
  • And, and, and … let me just say it’s been a busy summer.

And oh yeah, I almost forgot! I have been working on  my own learning in the Assessment Leadership Academy — all in context of these various projects and my day-to-day work.

I have to say that in moving in all of these directions, I am, in fact,  having a pleasant elevation. Wanna know why? Because when I am engaged in this work, I am learning. And why? Because assessment is about learning. (Not to be redundant – but have I said that before? Like HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE?)

Megan Oakleaf, in a recent article about assessing value in academic libraries, said it too in regard to why assessment in libraries is important:

Value research means hard work: hard work conducting research, hard work reflecting on results, hard work fine-tuning existing services and resources, and hard work developing new ones. However, it is certain that not engaging in the value conversation puts academic libraries in  an untenable situation. It is also certain that investigating and demonstrating library value is the right thing to do. Why? Because as librarians explore the value of library services and resources they provide, they learn. When librarians learn, they proactively deliver top-notch services and resources where they’re needed—to students completing their academic work; to faculty preparing publications, grant proposals, or tenure packages; to administrators seeking decision-making evidence. And when librarians deliver excellent services and resources, they make a difference for their users—they are valuable.

This summer has been all about learning — student learning, my learning, my colleagues’ learning, my institution’s learning — and making a difference (or at least trying to). And learning and making a difference are valuable. And *that’s* been my pleasant elevation for this summer (which has got to be way better than taking LSD in a field next to a Yoo-hoo beverage factory any old day).

(Not that I would know.)


A Destination

I recently ran across the Reach & Teach website. This organization’s tagline is “Transforming the world through teachable moments.”  They call themselves a social justice learning company.


On their website is a great collection of definitions of social justice. Please – take a tour.  May these ideas inspire!

And what’s more – they have a store!

I think we need this poster in my house:

ABCs of Living Green

And, OMG – check out their books!

I could stay here all day!

Let’s Achieve Good

Yesterday I attended the Continuums of Service conference here in Portland, Oregon.  Several hundred people from several states were in attendance — all of us focused on service-learning, social action, and social justice work within higher education. It was an amazing group to be in and I felt privileged to be in the presence of so many who care and who spend their time trying to make making a difference.

One thing I learned about — from the keynote speaker Sean Stannard-Stockton — was The Girl Effect, created by The Nike Foundation. Watch the video here:

The Nike Foundation explains:

We sought out where we could make the greatest impact. We found it in adolescent girls. Invest in them, the theory goes, and you will unleash a powerful ripple effect.

As Stannard-Stockton pointed out, true social change does not come about by doing good things; it comes about by achieving good. As we begin Spring Into Service, let’s focus on what we collectively will achieve toward understanding and reducing food insecurity in our state.

Starting with the Opening Reception on Tuesday, April 6th, please Spring into Service and join us in achieving good.

Spring Into Service

One year ago…

Only a year ago…

A year ago I wrote a grant for AmeriCorps*VISTA funding through Oregon Campus Compact to launch the Marylhurst Service Program.

We received funding.

We posted the job description.

And we hired someone great!

And now, one year later, we are launching our first major campus-wide service activity, the Spring Into Service project.

April is Spring Into Service month at Marylhurst.

Please join us to raise awareness of and support for alleviating food insecurity in the state of Oregon and beyond.

Click HERE for details about how you can participate.

Many thanks to Amanda Baker for her great work on this project!

Partners in Service: AmeriCorps & Marylhurst

AmeriCorpsmarylbigThis fall we have two new AmeriCorps volunteers working at Marylhurst, and I want to share some information about their programs as well as about our university’s partnership with AmeriCorps.

First – what is AmeriCorps? AmeriCorps helps communities meet their education, public safety, human or environmental needs through service.

Olivia Yeung is our new Alumni Mentor Program coordinator, working closely with the Career Services program. She is the third and final AmeriCorps volunteer in this position (the grant is limited to 3 years and this is its third year). Olivia’s position is in place to help us create a sustainable mentoring program for students and alums.

Amanda Baker is our other AmeriCorps volunteer this year, and she is serving as the NEW Marylhurst Service Program coordinator. In this year-long position, she will launch the start of a 3-year program development process in which we will:

  1. Integrate service-learning into our educational offerings;
  2. Create sustainable service activities for faculty, staff, students, and friends to participate in;
  3. Create service-oriented partnerships to help support 1 and 2 above.

Campus Compact – a national coalition of over 1,100 college and university presidents dedicated to promoting service-learning, civic engagement, and community service in higher education – is the organization that facilitates Amanda’s AmeriCorps position. Marylhurst’s President Judi Johansen became a member of this coalition, allowing us to work with Campus Compact to launch service-learning programs here with the aid of their incredible support and resources.

Here are the key benefits of our partnerships with AmeriCorps:

  1. The partnerships allow us to develop sustainable programs with fewer resources. The intent is that a volunteer helps provide the labor and focused attention to create a sustainable program. After three years, the university is expected to have a program that it can support on its own.
  2. The partnerships provide us access to a bank of resources  and connections to other universities that are doing similar programs; the connections to people and ideas are incredibly helpful.
  3. The partnerships are a good “match” in terms of our university’s strategic focus on service – AmeriCorps programs have a mission of service.

Both programs are focused on serving all of Marylhurst’s community – including those who may be online and/ or do not live here.

  • If you have ideas for supporting our students and alums through mentoring, please connect with Olivia.
  • If you have ideas for service-oriented projects and programs, please connect with Amanda.

Amanda and Olivia both have offices on campus – in Marian Hall – and are here in order to help all of us. They also need our support as well in order to be successful in their positions here.  So if you’re on campus, please stop by and introduce yourselves, and do what you can to help them launch these programs for our university.

Not The Kind Of Change You Find Under The Couch Cushions

I think it’s fairly safe to say that a lot of our students are service-oriented in mind and heart. I think it’s not false to say that most of you want to, in one way or another, help others in need, help improve the environment, and in general, make a difference to the quality of life of human beings and animals and other living creatures with whom we share the planet. It seems to be part of what students “get” from going to Marylhurst — or quite possibly you’ve already “had” it and Marylhurst is all the better because of what you bring with you. Or both.

In any case, this coming year Marylhurst will be initiating a program called the Marylhurst University Service  [and Social Action] Program. The name is still in flux, but the point is that we’re going to be formalizing a means to facilitate the “ethic of service” that the University and its students are known for. We’re able to initiate this program because of AmeriCorps/VISTA funding and a partnership with Campus Compact.

Come to find out, Campus Compact is also partnering with this great service as well:


Jobs for Change seeks to spark a nationwide movement toward careers in the nonprofit, government, and social enterprise sectors. The Jobs for Change website offers job listings, a blog, and career advice from seasoned career guides who are available to answer readers’ questions. Campus Compact is partnering with Jobs for Change to bring public service job opportunities to graduating students and AmeriCorps alums.

This might be a great resource for you to find ways to continue that ethic of service in your work and life, and possibly get paid to do it. N.I.C.E.!