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Approaching Critical: Tool Kit for Moving Toward Critical Service-Learning: Home

The Indiana Campus Compact Faculty Fellow 2016-2017 Cohort have created this toolkit to help guide practitioners and researchers as they move from traditional forms of service learning to more critical perspectives.

Toolkit Overview

Through a one-year faculty fellowship with Indiana Campus Compact, four individuals from higher education institutions (Indiana State University, Marian University, Purdue University, and University of Indianapolis) and one from Indiana Campus Compact partnered to advance the field of service-learning and community engagement.  Critical service-learning (CSL) arose early as an area ripe for exploration and advancement. One of the key factors discovered through this Fellowship Project and its iterative process is that approaching CSL is a difficult and time-consuming task. We realized that, while we were fortunate to be part of a learning community that facilitated this journey, not everyone will have such an opportunity to engage with a group to explore these ideas in depth.  This journey has shown us that there may be many other faculty who also want to approach CSL, and we cannot understate the value of a learning community and the discussions and reflection afforded within such a group. However, when such a community is not readily available, having access to a toolkit of resources that can facilitate the process of knowledge gain, self-reflection, and, ultimately, movement toward CSL may be useful. Therefore, we assembled a toolkit of: preexisting resources, which include literature and assessment scales; reflection prompts; and personal reflections that can serve as a guide for others on a similar journey.  The purpose of the toolkit is to be a repository of resources that might help others approach CSL as we did throughout this project. For more information on the Fellowship Project or Faculty Fellows Program, contact: Laura Weaver,

Tina M. Kruger, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Indiana State University, Senior Fellow

Dr. Kruger is an associate professor in the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies and the department chair.  She earned her doctorate in Gerontology from the University of Kentucky in 2011, where her she focused on emotional and behavioral responses to a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.  She created and directed the undergraduate Gerontology certificate program at Indiana State University from 2011-2016 and teaches a variety of courses, both age-related and others.  She teaches General Honors 101, Seminar in Multidisciplinary Studies, Society and Aging, Health Promotion and Aging, Personal Health and Wellness, Family Relationships, Health Biostatistics, and Research Methods among other courses. Her research interests include health behaviors and aging, sustainability and aging, and the pedagogy of gerontology.  Her work includes several community-based participatory research studies related to physical and mental health, primarily conducted with residents of low resource areas (e.g., rural locations or low income neighborhoods).  She is passionate about promoting health and well-being for all and views access to resources and appropriate use of finite resources as a human rights issue.

Dr. Kruger oversaw the 2016-2017 Indiana Campus Compact Faculty Fellows class mentoring her fellow faculty in the practice of the scholarship of engagement and providing leadership as they collaborated on a group project and worked on their own, individual projects. In addition, she also planned and implemented a Center for Social Justice at Indiana State University. Dr. Kruger is excited to take the next steps in the development of this new Center, which will expand upon many of the partnership she has already developed within the communities in and around Terre Haute to help address inequality.

Before being named the Senior Fellow, Tina served as an Indiana Campus Compact Faculty Fellow for two years. She credits her time as a Fellow as an integral piece of her professional growth and development as a scholar. 

Mark Latta, M.A., Director of the Writing Center, Instructor of English, and Public Literacy Coordinator, Marian University

Latta's research and teaching interests focus on the intersections between composition, critical public literacies, informal learning systems, critical service learning, and resistance narratives (particularly in how these narratives are embedded within localized geographies and sociolinguistic features). This is his second term as an Indiana Campus Compact Faculty Fellow.

Latta also directs CityWrite, a city-wide memoir project in Indianapolis that has collected the personal stories of over 1,100 people since 2012. He has edited and co-created five anthologies and was honored to receive the Nuvo Cultural Vision Award (2008) and William H. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion (2012). His grant-funded narrative art projects include: I Am East 10th Street, a public art memoir installation relating the stories of those who live and work along east 10th Street; Magic #8 Bus, an examination of the influence of public transportation on transitory and personal narratives; and, No Mean Thing, a collection of street stories collected from CityWrite due out in late 2017.

In his second term as an Indiana Campus Compact Faculty Fellow, Latta continued his collaboration with the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation on a city-wide public literacy project centered around the IndyGo bus system. Committed to community engagement and service learning, Marian University is adding $2490.00 to the $3750.00 grant from Indiana Campus Compact. With this support, Latta expanded his project, Collecting Connections, which organized and trained volunteers to interview riders across all of the IndyGo public transit routes, collecting written and spoken stories about home and community. These public narratives were “published” through the IndyGo buses and murals displayed at the newly constructed Julia M. Carson Public Transit Center in downtown Indianapolis. As a visible and large-scale city-wide public literacy project, Collecting Connections served as a catalyst for promoting community narrative projects and facilitating a broader understanding of public literacy through the generation of a city-wide community writing event.

Lindsey Payne, Ph.D., Director Service-Learning, Assistant Professor Environmental & Ecological Engineering, Purdue University

Dr. Payne is the Director at the Office of Engagement where she coordinates service-learning programs and initiatives. She has a courtesy appointment in Environmental and Ecological Engineering where she teaches a service-learning course in which interdisciplinary teams of students collaboratively identify stormwater management problems, co-design solutions, maintain budgets, and evaluate impacts with community partners. Dr. Payne's research sits at the intersection of sustainability, teaching and learning, and engagement focusing on transdisciplinary decision-making frameworks in community-based design projects. She is the recipient of multiple teaching awards and is an Associate Fellow in the Teaching Academy. 

During her fellowship year, Dr. Payne focused her efforts on critically evaluating and refining the learning outcomes and activities of the Urban Water Projects service-learning course, as well as supporting a local community gardening organized through community-engaged research. Committed to community engagement and service learning, Purdue University is adding $1500.00 to the $3750.00 grant from Indiana Campus Compact. With this support, worked to assess the community impact of the course including community partner perceptions of impact, project effectiveness, impact on stormwater runoff management problems, and community partner framework. Lastly, Dr. Payne is partnered with 16 Grow Local Lafayette Community Gardens in assessing local food systems and its impact on the food security of those in Tippecanoe County.

Dr. Payne believes, “Building sustainable communities and ensuring a path to sustainability will require systems thinking and the ability to understand the multiple dimensions of sustainability in order to address society’s complex problems. Future change agents and leaders in sustainability must be able to think critically, integrate multiple perspectives, and communicate effectively across traditional and non- traditional knowledge boundaries.”

Jennifer VanSickle, Ed.D., Professor, Sport Management & Coordinator of the Undergraduate Sport Management program, University of Indianapolis

Dr. VanSickle earned a Doctorate degree from the University of Kentucky in 2004, Master’s degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from Morehead State University in 1994, and a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Health and Physical Education from Union College in Barbourville, KY in 1987. She spent 10 years coaching softball at the collegiate level and 6 years teaching physical education at the high school and middle school level before earning her doctorate and moving to Indianapolis.

Dr. VanSickle was named the Indiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD) Sport Management Faculty of the Year, University of Indianapolis School of Education Teacher of the Year and received the Faculty Achievement Award for the UIndy School of Education for outstanding service to the university. She is the lead author on over 20 articles and abstracts published in national and state journals and has delivered over 25 presentations at state, national and international conferences. She has also consulted with area sport organizations including the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, NCAA, Indy Parks and Recreation and Special Olympics Indiana, and has served on planning committees for the NFL Super Bowl XLVI, NCAA Final Fours and NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

In her second term as an Indiana Campus Compact Faculty Fellow, Dr. VanSickle focused her individual efforts during the upcoming year on the re-design of an existing University of Indianapolis sports facility and event management course so that it includes the teaching pedagogy of service-learning. Dr. VanSickle served as a past Faculty Fellow in 2013-2014 where she focused her efforts on growing a now thriving partnership with Special Olympics Indiana.

Committed to community engagement and service learning, University of Indianapolis is adding $1250.00 to the $3750.00 grant from Indiana Campus Compact. With this support, Dr. VanSickle retooled her facility and event management course to add to the traditional textbook and lecture-style structure so that students enrolled in this newly re-designed course directly collaborated with the Burello Community Center at Garfield Park to plan, organize and implement health and fitness activities during the Center’s Fall and Spring Break Camps which encourage Indianapolis youth to adopt healthy habits. Dr. VanSickle incorporated feedback on the partnership from its stakeholders into her future courses.

Laura Weaver, Director of Programs and Member Development, Indiana Campus Compact

Weaver joined Indiana Campus Compact in January 2016 as the Director of Programs and Member Development, where she provides training on and support for the institutionalization of community engagement practices at partner institutions of higher education across Indiana. In this capacity, Weaver assists faculty with their teaching and engaged research activities involving reciprocal community-campus partnerships and supports students in implementing an array of engagement activities. She directly manages the Faculty Fellows learning community, Social Innovation Microlending program, Engaged Campus Grant initiative, Pen to Paper Writing Retreat, and Connecting Campus with Communities Conference.

Weaver has served as a Research Fellow for the Campus Compact Project on the Community Engagement Professional and has published several articles related to her work on the institutionalization of community engagement. Prior to joining Indiana Campus Compact, she spent more than eight years overseeing the Center for Service Learning and Leadership at Purdue University Northwest, and spent several years working for a national nonprofit organization partnering with college students to build awareness and support for health care initiatives.

Weaver earned her M.S.Ed. from Northern Illinois University and a B.S. from Bradley University.