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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Symposium to focus on education's social justice impact on community

This year, the J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium at New Mexico State University is taking a new approach. Instead of focusing on the needs of a particular group in society, the symposium will focus on service learning and the social justice impact education can and should have on a community.

The sixth annual symposium?Service Learning: Social Justice in Action?will be Thursday, March 18. The conference is an opportunity for members of the community and the university to interact and reflect about both academic learning and civic responsibilities.

"Too often we get caught up with an inward focus that is concerned only with 'self,'" said Greg Fant, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Yet, when we take the time to serve someone else, then the opportunity for a new paradigm opens in our thinking. Organized service learning opportunities can help lead students to involvement in something that contributes to a more just society. These same learning opportunities give community groups extra help to achieve their mission."

The daylong event will kick off with a morning workshop led by Robert Bringle, a well-known scholar in the field of service learning. He will explore the educational rationale for designing service learning courses. Bringle also will explore how to structure a community service component into an existing course that can be available for use in the future.

"Enhancing courses with community service can play a key role in reaching learning outcomes associated with social justice," according to the Teaching Academy sponsoring the workshop event. This portion of the symposium will be from 9-10:30 a.m. in Milton Hall, Room 50. Those wishing to attend the workshop must register ahead of time at teaching.nmsu.edu. The workshop is first come, first served.

Beginning at 1 p.m., the symposium moves to the Corbett Center ballrooms. Panels consisting of professors, students and community members will present the different aspects of their individual service-learning projects. Each will include a question and answer session. Panel topics include "Border Youth Media" and "What's Art?" Participants include professors Neil Harvey, Julie Rice, Connie Falk and others.

The event is free and open to the public who can pick and choose among the different panels they wish to attend. In order to provide better service to the public, the university is asking those who wish to attend this portion of the symposium to register online at http://as-w03sb.nmsu.edu/jpts/

For more information, see http://jpts.nmsu.edu.