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City Controller Laura Chick Meets at Mount to Bridge Gap in Service Learning

March 15, 2006 -- Los Angeles City Controller Laura N. Chick met with Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) staff and students recently to strategize on something they are both passionate about: service learning.

MSMU is a member of the Los Angeles Higher Education Partnership (LAHEP), which includes members from USC, UCLA, and CSUN. Others at the meeting included representatives from Alexandria House, which provides shelter and services to battered women and children, and the Superior Court of California, which places pre-law students in court-based self help legal access centers.

Bernie Robert, MSMU assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Experiential Learning vice chair, said that more and more colleges are adding volunteering to their pedagogy because it promotes citizenship, leadership, and social justice. MSMU has many programs tied to service learning including education, nursing, and sociology.

Laura Chick, who has a master’s degree in social work, told the group that she is very interested in working with local colleges to connect them with partners in the community. She said that the City of Los Angeles wants more students involved in the public sector.

Chick talked about the importance of tracking results. She said that we need to be able to show whether service learning increase literacy, grades, etc.

Mount Saint Mary’s University currently has over 200 community partners that it works with to offer service learning opportunities to its students. Freshman orientation at MSMU includes participation in community service activities. This past fall, incoming freshmen worked with children from a local elementary school, and they also spent a day in Santa Monica doing beach cleanup.

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