Wesley Theological Seminary Helps to Launch Maryland-DC Campus Compact

Nov 8

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Thursday, November 8, 2012 10:43 AM  RssIcon


By Aislinn Kopp

 

The Maryland-DC Campus Compact celebrated its launch on October 26, 2012 on the campus of Montgomery College. Wesley Theological Seminary is a new member of this organization and is the only seminary. Representing Wesley at the launch of the Campus Compact were President David McAllister-Wilson, Dr. Sam Marullo, and student Aislinn Kopp. The Maryland-DC Campus Compact unites institutions of higher education that participate in service learning programs with the goal of making these programs more fruitful for both the students and the communities in which they work. The Compact allows the institutions to work together to gather and analyze data and to serve together to build “just communities,” as the theme for this year’s meeting stated. 

The meeting of the schools in the compact was a chance for the presidents and service learning coordinators to gather and share information about their programs and best practices at their institutions. The meeting began with breakfast and an opportunity for networking followed by a plenary presentation. During this time, the Maryland-DC Campus Compact video was unveiled, and a panel presented the best practices of the Montgomery College/Montgomery County Public Schools Model Program. Bill Basl, Director of AmeriCorps, spoke in appreciation of service learning programs that shape students to serve in organizations like his. 

During the lunch hour, Dr. Richard Guarasci, President of Wagner College, spoke of this time as a “Crucible Moment,” an opportunity for institutions of higher education to use engagement pedagogies to both prepare students for their futures and to keep them in school. Representatives from the Compact then broke into groups for discussion. All of the presidents met together, and the other representatives held round table discussions.

“Jesus said, ‘Whoever wants to save their life will lose it.’ It’s time for churches to stop focusing on their own salvation and turn themselves inside out seeking to serve their communities and the world after the example of Christ. This is why I am so excited about being the first seminary to join this Compact and why I serve on their Executive Committee. We have something to offer as the original servant leaders, but we will be led by the amazing students coming from these institutions,” said Wesley’s President David McAllister-Wilson.

The table groups discussed best practices, needs, and ideas for the compact institutions to work on together.  Some of the common themes were the need for more data, more communication, a centralized dashboard, and intentional participation. The representatives agreed that with the help of the Compact, they hope to see real, measurable impact. 

The final event of the day was the signing of the Maryland-DC Campus Compact by the presidents in attendance. This was an act of support and cohesion, and it was a new beginning for service learning institutions in this region, especially Wesley.

“Although Wesley has been a long-time practitioner of experiential learning through its Practice in Ministry and Mission curriculum, it is in only its second year of employing service learning pedagogy as a required component of the first year Spiritual Formation for Ministry course,” said Wesley President David McAllister-Wilson.

 Wesley professor Sam Marullo, co-instructor of the Spiritual Formation course and member of the Compact’s Senior Advisory Group for Engagement, feels that the seminary’s participation in the state Compact is a win-win-win for all participants. “As we share partnerships, resources, and reflection practices, the community partners benefit from more diverse student learners’ participation; the student learners engage in more complex reflection, including conversations as to how their faith is impacted by service; and the faculty and curriculum programs are enriched by engaging in more interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to community building,” Marullo said. 

Wesley will be able to draw on the Compact as a resource for service learning practices, and other institutions will be able to participate in some of Wesley’s initiatives, such as Heal the Sick, as an outlet for those students who want to work on large service learning projects with long-term impacts. 

 

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