Catherine GaborFaculty Spotlight, October 2008
Dr. Catherine Gabor advanced service learning at Sacramento State while an assistant professor with the English department. As a faculty partner of Community Engagement Center, she initiated the Writing Partners program, incorporated service learning into many of her courses, and promoted service learning through faculty development workshops.
In 2007, Dr. Gabor was appointed a Carnegie Faculty Fellow, one of two awarded to Community Engagement Center by California Campus Compact. As a fellow, she enhanced one of her service learning courses in spring semester 2008 by integrating political engagement into English 118T – Professional Writing. Continuing to serve in her role as a Fellow through summer 2009, Dr. Gabor has since brought the innovative course with her to her new position at San Jose State.
In English 118T, students worked in partnership with various political and public service agencies: California Association of Public Authorities (CAPA); Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS); Serial Inebriate Program (SIP); and City of Sacramento Youth Development Office.
Investigating the important relationship between writing, service learning, and political engagement, the students used their writing skills to create documents that enhanced community agencies’ ability to foster awareness of community resources and concerns. The projects “ranged from a website to an efficacy report to a chapter in an agency’s mission statement book.” This course was recently highlighted in the community service learning publication, CSU Impact. This article is available at CSU's website.
The student projects were highly regarded by the community partners and demonstrated excellent professional political writing skill. In the process, students developed a greater appreciation for the value of their writing, an awareness of the integral role that writing plays in political and public engagement, and a greater understanding of the systemic issues that relate to community concerns.
In a course reflection, student Loselea Naufahu wrote: “I would never have imagined that writing could be an important and critical part of being engaged in the community. This project has definitely taught us a lot about a community issue that we knew nothing about, not even its existence, yet has opened our eyes, minds and hearts to another world, and has given us the opportunity to express concern and offer help through writing. Lastly, this project has helped us to grow as individuals and as attentive citizens, to become more aware of the different layers in our communities: people in the community, businesses, social/public services, law enforcement, health care services, and politics, just to name a few.”
Each year, more than two thousand Sacramento State students, faculty, staff, and alumni participate in programs and projects sponsored by Community Engagement Center. Programs such as Alternative Break, AmeriCorps Students in Service, Sac State Serves, and Service Learning fulfill our mission to facilitate learning and engagement by linking campus and community for mutual benefit. Through Spotlight, Community Engagement Center will highlight outstanding individuals and programs advancing community engagement in the Sacramento region.