Lisa Newland, Ph.D., Associate Professor Lisa Newland, Ph.D., Associate Professor
"The first time I go with students to the Department of Health and Human Services, they cluster around me like baby chicks - fearful of the unknown - but they quickly become comfortable there. I call that my 'proud mama' moment.
"That's what Molloy's service learning philosophy does: it enables students to confront their perceptions - and misperceptions - change how they think about certain demographics and learn to interrelate with individuals from communities unlike their own. It's also one of the reasons I love teaching undergraduate field service courses. The students are so new, so eager to learn. Once they've gotten a taste of the human services field, they're excited and see the vast potential of this profession.
"Molloy's social work department exposes students to the various facets of this career so they get a good sense of the many avenues they may pursue by the time they've earned their degree. There's a big emphasis on experiential learning here. Students may elect to participate in our annual 'alternative spring break' assisting the residents of New Orleans. In their junior year, they may elect to be a 'shadow' at DHHS where they see the inner workings of a department they may encounter in their careers, which helps them develop their professional identity.
"The connection between service and learning is core to the mission of the college and I think it helps to create a sense of community at Molloy, which is hard to do at a commuter school. The college values service to others; students really get that - it's a message that's prevalent here.
"I actually worked with a social work student, Shannaine Gordon, on a paper on the topic of service learning. It was 'Service Learning as a Pathway to Social Justice' and Shannaine presented it with me at the New York State Social Work Education Association annual conference. We are always looking for such opportunities for our students, where they can be exposed to the real world.
"There is no doubt that experiential learning is transformative learning. It crystallizes the coursework."