University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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Dr. Katherine Rhoades Receives
State Award for Service-Learning Efforts

 MAILED:  Sept. 24, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Katherine Rhoades, dean of the newly renamed College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, was one of six Wisconsin educators to receive Service-Learning and Civic Leadership Awards at a joint session of the State Superintendent of Education's Fall Conference for District Administrators and PK-16 Institute on Service-Learning and Citizenship, held in Madison Sept. 22-23.

The award recognizes "extraordinary individuals who have helped spread high-quality service-learning programs and practices throughout the state" by incorporating service-learning into their campuses, schools and communities.

State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster has praised service-learning not only for its ability to stimulate students' civic engagement and teach them what it means to be a contributing citizen in a democracy, but also as the most effective educational strategy for applying knowledge learned in school to the real world.

"My philosophy of education has always called for extending the boundaries of student participation beyond the narrow confines of the classroom," said Rhoades, who received her doctoral degree from the department of educational policy studies at UW-Madison in 1996.

Prior to becoming Dean, Rhoades was an associate professor in the foundations of education department and also taught in the university's Women's Studies and Honors Programs. She infused service-learning opportunities — ranging from tutoring students at the local Hmong Mutual Association, to preparing meals for homeless community members, to facilitating student-led community conversations about race at a local bookstore — into all of her courses.

For these and other service-learning activities, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education named the School of Education at UW-Eau Claire (now the College of Education and Human Sciences) the 2004 recipient of the Best Practice Award for Service-Learning in Teacher Education.

Rhoades said she feels it is really her whole college that is being honored by this latest state award as well. She praised the contributions of pre-service teachers and their faculty mentors at UW-Eau Claire for the thousands of hours of service-learning they have engaged in at area schools and agencies, and she credits their success in part to a strong campus-wide commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. UW-Eau Claire is one of only five higher education institutions in the United States that require all candidates for the baccalaureate degree to complete 30 or more hours of approved service-learning activity.

Now that Rhoades is no longer in the classroom, she said her role has shifted to one of providing leadership, inspiration and vision to faculty, staff and students, encouraging them to find new ways to continue their commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.



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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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Updated: September 24, 2004