Learning in the Community/Learning from the Community
Class field trips, for the class Environmental History and Culture: Nature and the American Marketplace to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge to tour the refuge and to meet with the Friends of Lake Woodruff to learn about the work of activists dedicated to preserving this beautiful piece of land and water that is just minutes from DeLand.
Further afield, Emily Mieras took her students in the course Definitions of Community in American Society to Celebration, the Disney Corporation's planned community south of Orlando; their visit included a focus-group meeting with residents and tours of model homes.
Local Color: Emily Mieras added some local interest to her Southern Culture course with a visit from Jeff Grzelek, a Civil War re-enactor who represents the 17th Connecticut regiment, and field trips to Pioneer settlement in DeLeon Springs and to Old St. Augustine Village to study how people today represent the past. She also led a field trip to the Daytona Museum of Arts, where her Consumer Culture students received a guided tour with the museum curators of the Root collection on the history of Coca-Cola.
A short walk to the DeLand House, to meet Bill Dreggors, Director of the West Volusia Historical Society, felt like a long excursion back into the history of turpentine, orange, and fern growing in the DeLand area for students of Environmental History and Culture.
Another short walk with Emily Mieras to downtown DeLand helped students to start their fieldwork on American trends in popular culture and wedding fashions as well as marketing strategies that the shops themselves use.
And closer still... Paul Croce brought students in the course American Cultural Traditions to the Cross-Cultural Center during a discussion of Malcolm X and tensions within the Civil Rights Movement. This "on-campus field trip" to the place at Stetson which is the institutional expression of the university's commitment to the multicultural legacy of Civil Rights activism was enlivened by a visit from Howard Thurman lecturer and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch whose multi-volume American in the King Years served as background reading in the course.
Field trips far and near, for the class "Darwinism and the Divine in American Culture" to the Bible Baptist Church, the Adventist Church, and the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship so students could get a feel for the theories and beliefs of conservatives and liberals that we had read about in class; and to a variety of biology department labs to get a feel for the assumptions and methods of scientific practice.
Collaboration with DeLand High School American History teachers, with our students making presentations in the High School classes based on their research in the courses American Cultural Traditions I and II (AS 361 and 362).
Students and Faculty Service at the first round of National History Day, as judges at the Volusia County Social Studies Fair, with some students in the "American Cultural Traditions" class serving as preliminary judges for DeLand High School students preparing for the Fair. Paul Jerome Croce served as a judge for the High School sections at the Volusia County Social Studies Fair. A student in AS 362 and AS 451, Jason Junkins, judged the elementary students' projects.
Lectures for adult education classes at the Orlando Humanities Center and for Elder Hostel programs, on for example, the election of 2000.
Local professional women visited with students in Emily Mieras's seminar on Women in the United States: she organized a roundtable discussion with Maureen France, Cyndi Martinez, and Ximena Mejia, who discussed their own personal and professional life experiences. Students related these stories to their knowledge of U.S women's history from the course.
Field experience included in the class "Things and Their People," and the activities have included tours led by Mark Shuttleworth, the owner of the Florida Victorian store (who is also the mayor of Lake Helen), documentation of historical buildings for the DeLand Historical Society, research and tour leadership of the Candlelight Tour of Homes.
Research trips and archeological digs with the Volusia Anthropological Society, for the class American Cultural and Intellectual History to 1880.
Collaboration with the Disney-Wilderness Preserve, for the class Environmental History and Culture: Nature and the American Marketplace: Students read The Ecology of Hope: Communities Collaborate for Sustainability by Ted Bernard and Jora Young, then met with Young herself to hear about the writing of the book and the challenges of implementing environmental goals at the Disney-Wilderness Preserve, which she was then directing. Then, after students also read about the history of social and market impacts on the environment and about the rise of the ecological imagination in contemporary culture, they attended presentations and participated in the restoration work of the preserve.
Class visits from area journalists for the class "Reading and Writing Media Culture," with encouragement for students to treat their writing in class as drafts for letters to the editor and essays for newspapers and magazines. The class visits from the journalists was also a public lecture series, "Journalism and American Culture: Six Regional Perspectives," that featured:
Mark Lane, Daytona Beach News-Journal
Barbara Shepherd, DeLand Beacon
Joni James, Orlando Sentinel
John E. Evans, Halifax Magazine
Kent Morton, WESH-TV
Bob Press, Christian Science Monitor and Daytona Beach News-Journal
Lawrence Rourke, McClatchey Newspapers
A Forum on Public Journalism, The News Media and the Community involved the students from AS 496 and Elsie Wanjohi's Bethune-Cookman Journalism class in researching and interviewing members of the community, with small groups of student researchers focusing on different constituencies: religious leaders, government officials, small-business owners, students, and journalists. At the forum, some students presented their research, and the other speakers included David Broder (Washington Post), Bill Maxwell (St. Petersburg Times), and Jay Rosen (New York University).
DeLand in Black and White. Venerable DeLand citizens, Bo Davenport (former Director of Public Works) and Bill Dreggors (Executive Director of the West Volusia Historical Society) talked about their experiences growing up in segregated DeLand and living through the Civil Rights Movement (for the class AS152, The 1950s and 1960), and they talked about attitudes of blacks and whites toward war and recruitment for the military from the 1940s to the 1970s (for the class AS370, War and Peace in American Culture). We held the "classes" at the Cultural Arts Center and invited the public, so students sat next to students of all ages from throughout the community.
America's Global Reach. In connection with the course War and Peace in American Culture, Paul Jerome Croce organized a Faculty Forum in April 2004 on America's impact on other countries; on the forum, he was joined by Margaret Venzke (talking about Iraq), Eugene Huskey (Central Asia), and Bill Nylen (Latin America). For the course the next year, he organized an International Student Forum in cooperation with the International Business Program, with representative students from around the world.
College Students and Middle Schoolers Unite--To Play Games! During the course AS152, The 1950s and 1960s, Paul Jerome Croce invited middle school students and their families to join the students from class to play with toys and games and to view footage of TV ads from the times. It was a chance to see how children have changed (and stayed the same), how companies pitch their toys to kids, and how kids make their own choices about what is fun. This was also an event for Stetson's Family Weekend.
Spring to Blue: Behind the Scenes at Blue Spring. As part of the course AS154, Environmental Issues, students visited Blue Spring State Park and toured the grounds with resident biologist Richard Harris. We heard about the challenges to the spring from human water demands and pollution and about the wildlife that the park protects, including manatees and scrub jays, and we enjoyed the beauty of the park. Some students learned about water experientially--they jumped in an enjoyed the cool clear water and saw the amazing environment below the surface.
Back to High School. After students in American Cultural Traditions gave presentations in class and endured the professor's constructive critiques, they presented their final drafts to audiences of DeLand High School American history IB students. The college students' appearance at the High School was dramatic for all involved: the college students got practice in public speaking and the high school students were able to meet some college students personally.
Viewing Old Florida. Ted Payne of the Volusia Anthropological Society and Paul Jerome Croce led a tour of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century archeological sites at Tomoka State Park as part of a segment on Florida history and culture in AS 361.
If You Want to Help the Environment, where do you begin? Students in AS 452: Nature and the American Marketplace found some answers on two field trips for the class: the first, to the DeLand House of the West Volusia Historical Society to visit with Bill Dreggors who talked about the changing landscape of the DeLand area over the last hundred and twenty years; and second, to the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge to where Kathy Barnard of the Friends of the Refuge talked about the opportunities and obstacles (and joys) involved in being an activist for wildlife.