Pam Kiser wins statewide service-learning honor

An Elon University faculty member was honored this week by the North Carolina Campus Compact for her dedication to the practice of service-learning in higher education. Pam Kiser, a professor of human services, received the 2009 Robert L. Sigmon Service-Learning Award at a Feb. 11 campus luncheon as part of an NCCC statewide conference.

FROM LEFT: Lisa Keyne, executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact; professor Pam Kiser; Robert L. Sigmon.

The award has been given annually since 2006 “to an individual who has made significant contributions toward furthering the practice of service-learning.” NCCC is a coalition of colleges and universities collaborating to increase campus-wide participation in community and public service, and the organization is a member of National Campus Compact, which has over 1,100 presidential members and 34 state offices.

“I am a strong believer in the Jeffersonian idea of education as foundational for democracy. As educators we have a responsibility to prepare our students to tackle the difficult issues of their time,” Kaiser said Wednesday evening. “As part of this preparation, I consider it wise to provide our students with first-hand opportunities to grapple with the issues concretely as well as intellectually and to wrestle with their own understandings, values, and motivations related to pursuing ‘the common good.’”

North Carolina Campus Compact named the award to honor Robert Sigmon, a Tar Heel native who attended the ceremony and is considered a pioneer in the area of service-learning and someone whose work Kiser “deeply respects and values.”

In her time at Elon, Kiser, among other things:

Elon University President Leo M. Lambert congratulates Pam Kiser on her selection as the 2009 Robert L. Sigmon Service-Learning Award recipient.

• created and chaired the Service-Learning Faculty Advisory Committee;
• created a standard definition for service-learning and a handbook for faculty;
• raised funds to support collaborations, faculty scholars and course development;
• and has guided the creation of the Social Entrepreneurship Scholars program.

In addition, she has made an enormous contribution to the larger field of academic service-learning with her numerous articles, book, and presentations, and the development of her integrative processing model, which is used by many faculty teacher-scholars around the world.

“When asked to write a letter of support … I concluded my letter by sharing that she not only teaches extremely well, but also leads her peers toward more scholarly, engaging and civic-minded pedagogies,” said Elon President Leo M. Lambert, who made remarks prior to announcing Kiser as the 2009 award recipient. “She is a model for all of us in our efforts to provide the best possible educational community for our students.”