2016 CSUF Community Engagement Award – Outstanding Service-Learning Teaching

2016 CSUF Community Engagement Award – Outstanding Service-Learning Teaching


Dr. Jefferies has brought a passion for working with underrepresented students in our college.
He’s definitely gone out into the community and worked with parents of underrepresented
students in making them aware of rights and advocacy and ways they can help their families
succeed. The Puerto Rico International Education program started two years ago. The program has, I think, been an excellent model for the entire college of a way that
we can make this possible for the population that we serve. I look for a lot of funding and I try to keep the costs really low. So in this way we’re
able to bring students that don’t usually go abroad. As a first-generation Latina I had never really gone outside of California. It’s helped me out on the aspect of becoming more independent. It was my first time leaving
home. If you’re able to bring students that are first generation, that it’s the first time
that they leave the city or their neighborhood, then the rewards that you get, being abroad
with them — for them and for me — are much higher. In Puerto Rico they went into classrooms out there and they were able to work with those
students, and see how education might change depending on where you are, but that some
things still ring true no matter where you are and that you need to make sure that you
tap those. We work on a project called Collectivo Universitario para el Acceso, which is basically to improve
access to our education in this community. So, for Education students to go and have this experience, they really learn what it’s
like to be an educator. They learn what it’s like to work with students and what it’s like
to really get to know the families and what it’s like to be in the community. Often in higher education we are criticized for being that ivory tower and not bringing
the outer world into the classroom. Students get to experience first-hand what’s happening
out in the communities and bring those experiences back to what they may do in the classroom. This helps them to develop empathy with another Latino community, to learn about the history
of the United States and the colonies that it has, and it helps them also to start thinking
about advocating for social change. After I went to Puerto Rico and talking to the community, seeing how much their community
hurts as well as mine, I realize that, you know, instead of just being shy and just staying
quiet and biting my tongue, I gotta say what I feel and address the issues that affect
me and affect my community as well. He’s a great teacher. I’ve known him for like four years and every semester I take a course
with him, regardless if it counts or it does not count. He inspires critical thought. When he’s teaching a class, he likes to ask a student questions,
as opposed to him just telling you what to do and what to think. I’m the example of a Study Abroad student from Argentina who came to the United States.
The rewards for being two weeks in Puerto Rico are immense, both personally and professionally.

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