Faculty Fellows

Two Samford faculty received Mann Center Fellowships in Community Based Learning in June. Receiving the grants are: Dr. Elizabeth G. Dobbins, Paul N. Propst Professor of Natural Sciences; and Dr. Rachel Casiday, Associate Professor of Public Health.

The new fellowship program aims to further integrate the philosophy, pedagogy and process of service learning into the Samford academic environment. Structured as a year-long series of six workshops designed to help faculty develop a strong background in service-learning pedagogy, the Mann Center Fellows will also benefit from connections to community partners and membership in a multi university, academic service learning network. The workshops, offered through a partnership with UAB’s Office of Service Learning and Undergraduate Research, explore theories, implementation, and assessment of academic service learning as well as how to integrate this methodology into courses across disciplines.

Dr. Dobbins’ and Dr. Casiday’s newly created course, Biological and Environmental Perspectives on Community Health, will send biology and public health students together in the field to Perry County, Alabama to investigate the compounding effects of water pollution from toxic landfill, industrial, and municipal waste. Biology students will collect and analyze water samples, while public health students will consider these findings as part of a wider community health assessment. Financially, the fellowship provides $1,500 service-learning enhancement grant to each fellow to support course development and research. Mann Center Fellows will lend their disciplinary or multidisciplinary expertise to the Center's charge to develop community-based learning and scholarship, and civic participation across University departments and programs.

Technical Expertise & Support

Campus Compact is a list of syllabi used in community-based learning courses from around the United States and abroad. A second list is a sampling of some syllabi created at Samford using community based learning is currently being compiled.


Community-based research can also take the form of a collaborative effort between academic researchers and non-academic community members that aims to generate social action and positive social change through the use of multiple knowledge sources and research methods. Ideally, the research questions originate from off-campus communities and the process involves meaningful participation by all partners in every stage of the research. Both undergraduate and graduate students can be involved in this research through curricular or co-curricular approaches.