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A Service-Learning Coordinator’s Conundrum: so many needs, and so little time

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  USU faculty member  Scot Allgood directs incoming Connections students in a service-learning project at Hyrum State Park. Utah State University took service-learning to a new level in developing an academic Service-Learning Scholars program in 2004 and hiring a faculty Service-Learning Coordinator in 2005 (me). As with other campuses, the development of an official service-learning program did not “invent” community-based teaching and research at USU.  A significant number of our faculty already had been incorporating some form of service-learning in their courses, integrating course content with community action and reflection.  USU students on a spring service trip preparing a pond for taro planting in Hawaii. As I matured as a university professor, I shifted over time to a problem-based learning pedagogy, and was introduced to a refined version at a campus workshop on “service-learning” sponsored by a coalition of students, faculty, and administrators.  I actually remember expres

A year of traveling while facing a coronavirus pandemic: September - December, 2020

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Caroline stretching after a bike ride to Great Falls Park, Maryland. Before we left Utah to travel back to the District of Columbia for Thanksgiving, we continued to enjoy the fall weather. Except, of course, the rain that lasted ALL DAY during the Logan Marathon . Like a lot of racing events, the finisher medals in 2020 reflected the novel coronavirus pandemic. Note the mask on the moose head on this medal! My training partner, Wesley, was still in DC, so he ran a solo marathon the day after my race (his first). Below, he takes his first step on his 26.2 mile journey, mostly run in Rock Creek Park to the Maryland border and back. Katelin presented him with a finisher medal, and then she drove him to a country brewery for some relaxation time. Congratulations, Wes! Then our last race of the year was the annual Halloween Run in Logan, with our neighbors. We all performed well! From left, neighbors Jana, Caroline, me, Andrea, Onya, and Brent showing our place ribbons. In October, before

A year of traveling while facing a coronavirus pandemic: June-September, 2020

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Covid-19 continued its march across Utah, the US, and the world. We relaxed in Logan, gardening, reading, running, and (Caroline) playing ukulele. I retired officially from USU on 1 July, after 29 years. That milestone certainly was a casualty of the novel coronavirus. No goodbyes, no celebration, no congratulations. No mingling with colleagues, and no opportunity to reminisce. Not even a card!  Luckily, I have a thoughtful family, who brought balloons, chocolate cake, and a bottle of wine. Then, we went to feed the ducks! It gave me a better sense of what was being missed across the world... graduations, marriage celebrations, reunions, and even funerals attended by more than close family. In my case, there will be no "make-up" retirement party. At USU, I was there one day, and not the ne xt. Close out the lab and the office, and my 29-year history passed into oblivion. Remember the adage, nobody on his deathbed ever said, "I wish I had spent more time at the office.&qu