BY KATIE JOHNSTONE
SC STAFF WRITER
The power of one can make all the difference. Dr. Clossey is a very dedicated, passionate professor who works hard to help both her students and those within our community.
“Her passion and dedication in her work shows in her involvement with the Service Learning Initiative Committee, and she is a great example of how even just once person can help to make a difference” says Jennifer Kornecki, a student at East Stroudsburg University.
At East Stroudsburg University, there are new efforts being made to incorporate service learning within the courses and requirements. Currently, service learning is required in the course “first year experience” for students who have not yet declared a major. A strong supporter of the initiative, Dr. Clossey believes that service learning is a vital element in a student’s time at college.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Clossey calls East Stroudsburg her home of six years, as a Sociology professor and private clinical social worker. Dr. Clossey received a bachelor degree from Western Connecticut State University, a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University, and a PhD from Bryn Mawr College. Along with her duties as a professor and practicing social worker, she also serves as Co-Chair of the service learning committee for ESU.
Dr. Clossey defines service learning when saying: “Service learning means education in the ‘real world’ beyond the classroom. It means applying academic knowledge to solve real-world problems in partnership with our community.” Clossey notes that service learning is also “…more than book knowledge and can incorporate research.”
In response to “why do you encourage service learning?” Clossey said, “I believe it develops knowledge, serves both the community and the students, gives students real-world experience to draw on to obtain jobs, and promotes civic engagement.”
Dr. Clossey also draws a connection to the desire to learn when students participate in service learning by saying that students are more engaged when they are putting their work to a real problem.
Service learning affects the culture on campus and according to Clossey this effect is powerful amongst ESU students in her experience.
“I believe it creates a culture that is integrated with its surrounding community, too often, one hears of university or college towns, having members of the community look askance at the school. Community members may not see the university as disconnected from its concerns and as the students just partying. Students, professors, and community members alike feel more connected to each other” says Clossey.
Dr. Clossey has not lead any previous service learning projects at ESU but has hopes for future projects soon.
“I would like to see ESU develop research partnerships with our community. Many universities have academic partnerships like this. These Community based research partnerships (CBRP) are promoted by such funding entities as the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health. When academic institutions work with community partners to study real world problems, the research that is produced is not created in the vacuum of the ‘ivory tower.’ Instead, the knowledge that is developed is relevant and applicable in solving current problems.”
When reflecting back on a favorite experience in college Clossey says, “The thing I enjoyed most was being politically active through a student group I helped start. Then worked on issues like funding for HIV/AIDS and protesting proliferation of nuclear weapons. We had a lot of fun going to Washington to protest several times!”
Some may not know about the connections between East Stroudsburg University and community based charities.
The service learning committee has developed a helpful service online for individuals and groups to apply and search for groups in need. The list ranges from animal care, arts, culture, literature, education, environment, health and well-being, shelter and food assistance, and sports and recreation. When an option is selected, the student is taken to that organization’s information and contact. This resource bridges ESU students and the community together through service.
Dr. Clossey lives passionately for the well-being of others. Her role as a professor instills knowledge and understanding of sociology with her students. The work she does in her private practice progresses the field of mental health and impacts her patients.
By serving as co-chair on East Stroudsburg University’s service learning committee, her plans and practices help integrate the campus and students into the community through beneficial service.
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