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* Learning together through one theme

A year ago, English instructor and IDS Coordinator/Service Learning Coordinator Neal Vasishth invited two professors to SCC from Seattle Central Community College to come and give a presentation about their project that supported student learning and awareness of social responsibility via a shared theme across disciplines.  More than 30 faculty and staff members attended the meeting which sparked interest and instigated the launching of a new model for student learning at Shoreline. 


“The idea,” Vasishth says, “is to support learning and understanding on a deep level via a central theme across disciplines and this could be a way to connect programs at Shoreline.”  Vasishth says that by using a common theme throughout students’ coursework and co-curricular projects and by seeing a common issue explored through various disciplinary lenses, students can understand real world applications of their knowledge and skills learned at SCC.  “The ‘One Theme, One Campus” model not only supports learning and understanding but builds community engagement and gets our students more involved here on campus and in our communities.


Many SCC employees have spent many hours doing the planning.  Judy Penn, Rachel David, Amber Skidmore, Larry Fuell, Gary Parks, Daina Smuidrins, Kira Wennstrom, Claire Murata, Rosalie Tepper, and Brooke Zimmers met with Vasishth over the last year and designed a plan to support cross-discipline learning by exploring food and hunger issues in number of disciplines. Many more instructors will be participating with the project: Donna Biscay, Tony Doupé, Tim Payne, Diana Knauf, Lauren Wilson, Steve Bogart.  Each instructor has integrated “food” into their curricula in small or large ways that promotes food literacy such as knowing where our food comes from, learning about food issues in our communities and coming up with possible solutions. 


Vasishth says that many programs have also jumped on board.  The Center for Equity, Engagement and Service, Learning Center North, the Library/Technology Center, the Writing and Learning Studio and the Math Program have already supported the goals of the “One Theme, One Campus” theme.  Claire Murata created a web site at which faculty can find libguides, resources such as books and films.  Deanna Sukkar is creating a student lib-guide.


Food literacy and hunger issues seemed not only a worthy theme and one that could be looked at from many perspectives, but Shoreline has already introduced food issues over the past couple of years with several events and projects – both on- and off campus.  Last year students in Education Coordinator Guru Dorje’s Learning Center North classes and Biology Professor Judy Penn’s new Sustainable Gardening class, Biology 126 collaborated on a community gardening project to help those in need.  That same year, students, faculty and staff supported the Center for Service Learning’s and Veteran Center’s MLK Day Food Drive held at Central Market and other locations across Puget Sound. Donations were given to local food banks.  And in 2009, the Center for Service Learning and the Global Development Project Club at Shoreline Community College coordinated a community Oxfam America Global Hunger Banquet, a unique dinner experience that highlighted the issues surrounding global hunger and its connections to our lives.  Many of these events have been happening independent of each other, but, with the common food theme, Vasishth hopes that more collaboration can happen between various parts of the campus, and we can make even more of a difference in our students’ lives and our community.  


The “One Theme, One Campus” model is kicking off the campus-wide effort with a showing of the film, “Food, Inc.” at 12:30 on Tuesday, October 11 in the Campus Theater.  Faculty involved in the project will ask students to think about a specific topic as they watch the film and then discuss it following the film. The faculty questions could be directed to a specific discipline or issues connected to a specific class, but Vasishth says that he would mostly like the questions to be thought provoking.  All students, faculty and staff and the Shoreline Community are invited to attend.


                                                                 Donna Myers/PIO

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