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Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program

To promote the goals of VCU’s Quest 2025: Together We Transform, funds have been designated for experienced service-learning faculty to participate in the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program. This program is designed to:

  • Cultivate faculty leadership for the civic engagement and regional transformation goals of the university mission.
  • Support faculty development by advancing interdisciplinary community-engaged research.
  • Increase departmental and campus capacity to provide innovative 21st-century learning experiences through service-learning and community engagement by developing a cadre of master teachers in service learning.

Purpose

The VCU Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program enrolls faculty members who have experience in teaching service-learning classes to serve as campus leaders in teaching excellence. Fellows collaborate with the VCU service-learning office staff to deepen awareness and knowledge of service-learning pedagogy across VCU’s academic departments. Fellows are appointed for one year with the potential of extending their appointment for one additional year. Second-year fellows must apply and be accepted.

Interested in becoming a Faculty Fellow?

Applications are received each spring, and notifications are made in early May for the following academic year. For additional details on applying, contact Lynn Pelco, Ph.D., at lepelco@vcu.edu.

Visit Grant Applications and Reporting for a full application packet.

  • Devote, on average, a minimum of two hours per week (30 hours per semester) to fellowship activities.
  • Meet with a minimum of five department chairs within the assigned academic unit(s) with the goal of deepening administrators’ awareness and understanding of service-learning pedagogy within the disciplines.
  • Host a minimum of five informational presentations, workshops or brown bags within the assigned academic unit(s).
  • Introduce yourself to all of the service-learning class instructors in the assigned academic unit(s). Lists of these instructors will be provided by the service-learning office staff.
  • Hold a minimum of 10 face-to-face service-learning consultation meetings within the assigned academic unit(s) with faculty instructors, including but not limited to newly hired faculty members, novice service-learning instructors, etc.
  • Attend two group meetings of the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows (one per semester). NOTE: The first group meeting will be held during the first two weeks of the fall semester.
  • Participate in the selection of service-learning student award winners.
  • Submit an end-of-year activities report.
  • Opportunities to provide university-level leadership in promoting teaching excellence that can be included in annual reports, as well as in promotion and/or tenure documentation.
  • Visibility as a campuswide leader in community-engaged experiential pedagogy.
  • Opportunities to expand professional knowledge about higher education administration through consultation with a range of academic departmental leaders.
  • Opportunities to network with other experienced service-learning faculty instructors through Faculty Fellow meetings.
  • Opportunities to participate in service-learning scholarship with service-learning office staff and other fellows.
  • Receive an annual $1,000 professional development stipend.

VCU service-learning faculty fellows will receive an annual $1,000 stipend for their participation in the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows program. This stipend will be paid as a budget index transfer to the fellow’s department to be used for professional development and/or expenses that support the fellow’s professional work. A stipend of $500 will be paid at mid-year in January and $500 will be paid at end-of-year in July following the fellowship year. Funds awarded in January must be spent by June 15 of the same calendar year. Funds awarded in July must be spent by June 15 of the following calendar year.

All faculty, including tenure-line, term, clinical and adjunct appointments from all academic units at VCU, with at least three semesters of experience using service-learning pedagogy are eligible to apply for the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows program. Applications will be reviewed for the following required and preferred qualifications.

Required qualifications:

  • Experience successfully teaching at least three semesters of service-learning classes.
  • Strong communication and organizational skills.
  • Ability to take initiative, solve problems and demonstrate leadership.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Experience with providing faculty professional development.
  • Attendance at the VCU Community Engagement Institute or other service-learning-related professional development training/conference.

Due on or before May 1 of the fellowship year:
 Each fellow is required to provide the VCU service-learning office staff with an end-of-year report that includes details and reflections on activities accomplished as well as barriers experienced. NOTE: Activities/accomplishments that are planned/expected to occur between May 1 and August 31 can be included in the report as "Expected."

IMPORTANT: First-year fellows who wish to be considered for a second fellowship year must combine their end-of-year report with their Second-Year Fellows Re-application Form and submit both by the May 1 deadline.

Visit Grant Applications and Reporting for a full report template.

Current and Previous Fellows

2019-2020 Fellows


Geraldine Lotze
Teaching associate professor
Department of Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences

Thea Pepperl
Assistant professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Alexandra Reckendorf
Assistant professor and associate chair
Department of Political Science, College of Humanities and Sciences

Matthew Vechinski
Assistant professor
Department of Focused Inquiry, University College

Jonathan Waybright
Term instructor of Religious Studies and internship coordinator
School of World Studies, College of Humanities and Sciences

2018-2019 Fellow

Courtnie Wolfgang, Department of Art Education, School of the Arts

2017-2018 Fellows

Rebecca Tyree, Department of Music, School of the Arts
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Courtnie Wolfgang, ‌Department of Art Education, School of the Arts

2016-2017 Fellow

Lindsey Chudzik, University College

2015-2016 Fellows

First Year Fellows

Lindsey Chudzik, University College
Jay White, School of Allied Health Professions

Second Year Fellows

Melanie Buffington, School of the Arts


Kristin Caskey, School of the Arts


Robin Everhart, College of Humanities and Sciences, Department of Psychology


Tammy Swecker, School of Dentistry

2014-2015 Fellows

First Year Fellows

Melanie Buffington, School of the Arts


Kristin Caskey, School of the Arts


Robin Everhart, College of Humanities and Sciences, Department of Psychology


Tammy Swecker, School of Dentistry

Second Year Fellows

Kris Byrd, University College


Tracey Gendron, School of Allied Health Professions


Damian Pitt, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

2013-2014 Fellows

First Year Fellows

Kris Byrd, University College


Tracey Gendron, School of Allied Health Professions


Damian Pitt, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Second Year Fellows

Kim Isringhausen, School of Dentistry

Carrie LeCrom, School of Education, Center for Sport Leadership

2012-2013 Fellows

First Year Fellows

Randi Buerlein, School of Social Work


Kim Isringhausen, School of Dentistry


Carrie LeCrom, School of Education, Center for Sport Leadership