Kernodle Center for Civic Life announces new Communities of Practice program

The Service Learning Faculty Scholars program for the first time will include two cohorts of faculty and staff members ready to further integrate the service-learning pedagogy into the Elon curriculum.

The Kernodle Center for Civic Life has announced its newest class of faculty and staff to be included in the 2020-21 Service-Learning Faculty Scholars program.

For the first time, in lieu of the Service Learning Faculty Scholars program, the Kernodle Center for Civic Life along with Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Communication Design Phillip Motley will host two communities of practice with faculty and staff members investigating ways to incorporate service-learning and community engagement into the Elon curriculum or into their own research agenda.

Phillip Motley, Faculty Fellow and associate professor of communication design (right), at the 2016 iMedia Showcase.

Traditionally, the program brings faculty and staff together in a series of seminars in the fall and spring focused on issues related to service-learning and community-engaged pedagogies. In the past, faculty have learned about ways to incorporate service-learning into coursework, and then constructed a course syllabus that includes the integration of a service-learning project. This year, the program has been modified and will facilitate two separate communities of practice.

Though the scholar program typically includes a single cohort of faculty members, the program has been expanded for the 2020-21 academic year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. This year, 16 faculty and staff members have registered for two new communities of practice – Community-based Participatory Research and Teaching Community-based Courses.

Community-based Participatory Research is co-facilitated by Assistant Professor of Public Health Studies Stephanie Baker and Executive Director of Healthy Alamance Ann Meletzke. This community of practice focuses on how to conduct research through authentic partnerships with equity and shared involvement at every stage. The research taught in this community of practice relates to identifying problems in the community and sharing findings that help address those problems. The scholars selected for the Community-based Participatory Research community of practice are:

  • Lauren Walker, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science
  • Lisa Buchanan, Associate Professor of Education
  • Brian Pennington, Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society and Professor of Religious Studies
  • Kaye Usry, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies and Assistant Director of the Elon Poll
  • Katie Baker, Assistant Professor of Education
  • Erica Thomas, Assistant Professor of Wellness
  • Melissa Murfin, Associate Professor and Research Coordinator for PA Studies and Director of Educational Strategies for the School of Health Sciences
  • Anne-Marie Iselin, Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Lauren Guilmette, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  • Sylvia Ellington, Elon Service Year Graduate Fellow

The Teaching Community-based Courses community of practice is facilitated by Assistant Professor of Public Health Studies Katherine Johnson with help from Motley. This community of practice aims to build successful community-based partnerships and encourages members to create courses that benefit students as well as community partners. The group’s work will focus on the study of research and practice related to teaching community-based courses and creating sustainable and mutually rewarding community-based partnerships. The scholars selected for the Teaching Community-based Courses cohort are:

  • Leyla Savloff, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
  • Susan Anderson, Professor of Accounting
  • Chris Nelson, Assistant Professor of Marketing
  • Bob Frigo, Associate Director of the Kernodle Center for Civic Life
  • Joan Ruelle, Dean of the Carol Grotnes Belk Library and Associate Professor
  • Kelsey Bitting, Assistant Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

Members of each community of practice meet three times in the fall and three times in the spring to discuss their service-learning topics. Each scholar receives a $300 stipend to assist them in their work.

Kaye Usry, assistant professor of political science and policy studies and assistant director of the Elon Poll (right), speaks on a panel at the 2019 Intersect Conference.

For more information about the Community of Practice program or to apply to future cohorts, visit the Kernodle Center for Civic Life website.

There are two upcoming learning opportunities open to the broader Elon community through a series of lunch-and-learn events. On Oct. 13, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to hear from David Scobey, executive director of Bringing Theory to Practice, about community engagement in his organization. The session will be hosted live on Zoom from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Another lunch-and-learn is scheduled for Nov. 12 and will feature insight about ways to deliver globally engaged learning right in your back yard. Hosting the session will be Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, interim associate provost for academic excellence, director of the Center for Research on Global Engagement, and professor of psychology; Danielle Lake, director of design thinking and associate professor; Vanessa Drew-Branch, assistant professor of human service studies; and Sandy Marshall, assistant professor of geography.

To RSVP to either of these events, contact Nicole Bergen in the Kernodle Center for Civic Life at