On February 22-28, DePaul University’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Charles Strain visited the University to deliver lectures in a series of seminars on Experiential Learning and Academic Service Learning (ASL) designed for faculty and students. Among the topics he discussed were How can one use ASL as Methodology in Teaching Specialized Courses and How to Choose the Subject and Integrate ASL in the Curriculum.
In an e-mailed interview done by IPPDO director Engr. Noe Enriquez, Dr. Strain expressed his insights and observations about ASL and his visit to the University.
Q: How do you assess the level of understanding on ASL of AdU faculty members? Of students?
Dr. Strain: I was genuinely amazed and inspired by the level of interest in ASL on the part of Adamson faculty. Their energy and commitment was especially evident during the workshops when we were examining syllabi pertinent to their fields of specialization. I think that there is a strong willingness to experiment with this pedagogy. The two areas where additional communication seems to me to be necessary are 1) awareness of the multiple ways in which the university has put into place forms and procedures to handle the mechanics of doing ASL and 2) the realization that while the program in Cabuyao represents an ideal form of community partnership, there are other forms of ASL that are not quite so demanding of faculty time.
I was deeply moved by the heartfelt commitment to serving the community expressed by numerous students in my workshops with them. They see working with communities as a great opportunity to learn while giving. ASL can be a great adventure for these students and one which many of them are eager to take.
Q: What can you say about the community (Cabuyao) partner?
Dr. Strain: The visit to Cabuyao was one of the highlights of my stay in Manila. The enthusiasm of the community organizers was inspiring. It was great to see how the community members themselves are taking ownership of the projects. Adamson is empowering the community instead of building a dependency relationship and this is what we hope to see happen through community service. The challenge for Adamson will be to develop multiple sustainable partnerships such as this one; some of which should be geographically more accessible to make things easier for faculty and students.
Q: What makes your visit to Adamson interesting?
Dr. Strain: The visit was a wonderful opportunity for me to see how a sister Vincentian university carries out its mission. Despite the differences in our cultural contexts, we share many core values that stem from the Vincentian commitments of our institutions. I was impressed by the sheer scope of the many projects that Adamson has undertaken to carry out its mission. I am hopeful that I will be back to assist in any way that I can in carrying forward those projects.
Q: Overall, how do you assess your short visit to Adamson?
Dr. Strain: I was deeply inspired by the energy and commitment of faculty, staff and students—really, everyone that I met—at Adamson. St. Vincent is alive and hard at work in and through all of the people that I met. I am also deeply grateful for the hospitality that everyone showed to me. With the inspirational leadership of Fr. Greg and the joyful dedication to students of the faculty and the hopeful idealism of the students, Adamson is poised to create for itself a very bright future.