Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

October 2011

Western Oklahoma State College Instructor Honored by Campus Compact


WOSC Instructor Honored
John Phelan, Western instructor received Campus Compact's Communtiy Engagement Professional of the Year Award for the state of Oklahoma. Lisa Greenlee, vice president for academic and student support services, nominated Phelan for the honor.

John Phelan, WOSC psychology instructor and social science coordinator and coordinator for service learning, community service and engagement, was honored with Oklahoma Campus Compact’s Community Engagement Professional of the Year Award on September 23 in Oakland Park, Kan. at the Heartland Regional Campus Compact Meeting. The meeting includes Missouri and Kansas and Oklahoma.Each state nominated and presented the award to a deserving instructor. Phelan was nominated by Lisa Greenlee, vice president for academic and student support services. The award recognizes one professional from a Campus Compact member in Oklahoma who has worked toward the institutionalization of academic service-learning and/or service, created and strived toward a vision of service for his or her campus, promoted higher education as a public good, provided exceptional support to faculty and students and has been instrumental in forming innovative campus-community partnerships.

Phelan has been an educator for 33 years. He spent seven years in the public school system and 26 years instructing at Western, first in instrumental music and then in psychology. He has served his community in numerous capacities including the Habitat for Humanity and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) boards where he was president for both. Phelan is the music director for Highland Heights United Methodist Church in Altus, and still performs on the French horn from time to time.He has also worked with local band programs as a conductor and performer. One of his favorite events was providing a band for the local Special Olympics. “I would not ask my students to do something I would not do. Therefore, I mentor and do service in civic organizations and the community,” said Phelan.
Presenting programs on service learning at major conferences including the American Psychological Association in Washington D.C., the HLC/NCA Conference in Chicago, the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges and the Oklahoma Campus Compact Regional Conference have kept the instructor involved.

“The main concept of academic service learning contends that students give back to the community by using skills or services that can be connected to the college. Students should be able to complete a required amount of hours of service during the semester, journalize their experience and then present a reflection project or essay linking their experience to the class service objectives. Academic service learning is a teaching method that incorporates community service experiences into academic courses. Students learn through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that are directly related to course content as stated by Oklahoma Campus Compact. It should be clear that service learning is not simply volunteerism and internships”, related Phelan.

Students in Western’s behavioral science classes are required to complete 20 hours of service learning each semester. This amounts to approximately 600 students a year times 20 hours equaling 12,000 hours of service a year.

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