January 8, 2010
Rhoads named Director of Education and Service Learning
Julie Rhoads, elementary education instructor at Cowley College, was
recently named the school’s Director of Education and Service
Rhoads will oversee all education programming at Cowley College as well as ACES (Academic Civic Engagement through Service). While Cowley will continue its partnership with Wichita State University (the Preparing Educators Together program) the college will also have articulation agreements with Southwestern College and has one in progress with another Kansas college.
In addition, Rhoads has worked with Arkansas City High School on a Teacher Training Pathway, which will allow those students to earn credit toward their associate’s degree in Education at Cowley.
Rhoads will continue working with the Early Childhood AAS degree program and has worked with several schools on articulation updates for their Early Childhood and/or Human Services Pathways. Rhoads said Kansas State University has expressed an interest in working with Cowley on an articulation toward a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and Human Services.
“I am hoping I can pull together some additional high school programs in the future for both the Teacher Training and Early Child Development Pathways,” Rhoads said.
Rhoads has a passion for helping others and has spent much of her career as an educator finding ways to make a difference in the community. While working with high school students, she had the pleasure of facilitating a number of service projects, which allowed students to not only better understand their community and the needs of others but to also better understand themselves.
“Service allows us to meet basic human needs but also helps students better understand the interconnectedness that exists between various aspects of life,” Rhoads said. “For example: Taking an economics class provides students with a foundation of the theories and concepts. Being involved in a service project, students can implement or get a first-hand look at those theories and concepts. Students can witness the cause and effect of economic practices upon our local communities and families or vice versa: understanding the domino effect social issues within our community have upon the economy.”
At Cowley, Rhoads has worked with education majors on several projects over the last couple of years. One was collecting Children's Books to send to soldiers oversees. Soldiers record themselves reading the books then send the books and recordings home to their children.
“We sent over 150 books last year,” Rhoads said.
Another project was the recent clothing drive, which was a huge success.
“Community members are already asking for this to be a yearly event,” Rhoads said.
Another project was Careers On Wheels (COWs) for local sixth graders, which will take place again this spring.
Cowley saw its first Cowley's Best Dance Crew competition, which was a fundraiser for a local elementary school needing additional books and small playground equipment such as soccer balls. The students involved in the planning and implementing of these projects had to meet with community members and met various challenges, which required higher level problem-solving skills. Self-reflection allowed them to consider best practices and revisions for the future.
James Fry, ACES office manager, will continue to be an integral part of the service learning at Cowley.
“I look forward to working with James,” Rhoads said. “We met several times prior to the semester break and began looking at ways to involve students in a deeper level of service than just showing up to put in hours.”
Rhoads and Fry have already discussed several ideas and are looking forward to the spring semester.
“This semester will be a time of brainstorming and reflection for both James and I,” Rhoads said. “But, I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we are truly excited about the possibilities of service learning at Cowley College.”