Eighth Annual National Gathering of Service Learning Educators

Posted on April 26, 2002

EDUCATORS FOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT announces the Eighth Annual National Gathering of Service Learning Educators

Educators for Community Engagement (formerly The Invisible College) is a national organization dedicated to service-learning. We are university faculty and staff, community partners, and students working toward a common goal: increasing the practice of service-learning across the U.S.

**National Gathering 2002**
When: June 27-29, 2002
Where: Salish-Kootenai Tribal College – Pablo, Montana
This year’s theme: HONORING COMMUNITY, HONORING PLACE (read below for more details)

For more information and online registration, please consult our website, http://www.e4ce.org or contact the Coordinator of Educators for Community Engagement, Melissa Butala, at melissab@e4ce.org

Message From the Eighth National Gathering
Program Chair, Bill Macgregor

Faculty, Students, Staff, Community Partners-welcome to the Eighth National Gathering of Educators for Community Engagement, from June 27 – 29, 2002, at
Salish-Kootenai Tribal College, in Pablo, Montana.

The National Gathering is not your usual sort of national academic meeting: no paper presentations, no symposia, no panel presentations of campus programs-although space is provided for poster displays of campus / community programs. The term Gathering invokes the unique character of this event. The heart and soul of the Gathering is its learning circles-safe spaces where individuals gather to engage in profound conversations around an evocative topic or issue in service learning (see topics listed below).

The National Gathering’s multi-day learning-circles require participants to commit to one central discussion: all participants attend all scheduled sessions of the learning circle chosen, from Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon. Participants thus leave the Gathering with a much richer understanding of their chosen topic than is possible in the usual academic conference format.

The National Gathering of Educators for Community Engagement embraces learning circles as opposed to more traditional meeting formats because the learning circle embodies those democratic principles at the heart of effective service-learning college/community partnerships: principles of equal participation, of give and take, and of honoring collective wisdom. Effective service-learning partnerships also ground their relationships in the realities of the communities involved-and this is the basis for the theme and the location of the 2002 National Gathering.

With the theme of Honoring Community, Honoring Place, the Eighth National Gathering will be hosted by Salish-Kootenai (Tribal) College (SKC), which is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Northwestern Montana. In this ethereally beautiful setting we will gather to teach and to learn in a community-and in a place-that embodies issues that are found throughout the rural West.

Just as a successful service-learning program begins by learning about its community’s history and its needs, the 2002 National Gathering begins Thursday afternoon with members of SKC’s community introducing National Gathering participants to the realities of the community through its stories that tell of the human and the natural character of the place. Listening to the stories of this place and this community will prepare participants for the heart of the Gathering-the learning circles which take place all day Friday and half of Saturday-in which participants’ own stories of struggle to build community in their own spaces begin in and of themselves to plant the seeds of a new community.

Join ECE in Montana to honor community and place in a setting that helps explain why those in the region refer to this as “the last best place.”

One last note: ECE’s National Gathering, the Salish-Kootenai community, and the place of this event are all family-friendly. Please consider making this a family event.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Learning Circle Topics
* Engaging Dispersed Communities through Service Learning
* Reflection
* “Places” for Service Learning: urban / rural; east / west
* Campus-Community Partnerships
* Institutions of Higher Education as Agents of Social Change
* Service Learning and Community-based Economic Development
* Community as Home vs. Community as Laboratory
* Service Learning beyond the Humanities and Social Sciences
* Successful Careers through Service-Learning: Vocation, Spirit, Work
* Diversity and Power

[ed note: I *highly* recommend this conference. It’s one of my favorites.]


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