A bridge to community collaboration
On September 28 in the Ball State Student Center, faculty from the College of Sciences and Humanities and Muncie Community Schools gathered to discuss developing partnerships between their communities. Representatives from CSH academic departments met and mingled with educators from Muncie Community Schools, discussing how they might work together to improve student opportunities in the Muncie area.
The event was a collaborative effort across CSH, organized by the steering committee of Dr. Sarah Vitale (Philosophy and Religious Studies), Dr. Kristin Ritchey (Psychological Science), and Dr. Sheryl Stump (Mathematical Sciences).
“I was invited by the College to help develop this initiative this past summer. The event on 9/28 was hopefully the first event of many in which the MCS/MACC faculty and students are invited to campus, and/or BSU faculty and students visit the high school,” said Dr. Kristin Ritchey.
“I am a BSU alum. As a first generation college student and Muncie native, it is particularly meaningful to get to teach and mentor students who are in the same position I was 30 years ago, and to help them take advantage of all of the great opportunities BSU has to offer,” said Ritchey.
Dr. Sheryl Stump, who also played an instrumental role in creating the event, sees the partnership as a bridge to connect BSU faculty and MCS staff. Stump describes the potential benefits as “opportunities to learn about our common goals and interests, create and participate in two-way professional learning experiences, and to experience and appreciate each other’s daily work,” stressing the idea that this will be a mutually beneficial collaboration.
Sarah Spodek, school counselor at MCHS, is looking forward to making connections with Ball State Faculty and students to help MCHS students explore their post-secondary college and career options. As a Muncie native and Burris graduate, she sees tremendous value in the developing partnership.
“Growing up going to Burris I was able to get a first-hand experience of the benefit of having Ball State faculty, staff, and student connections for K-12 students. I am excited to expand the benefit of interacting with various aspects of the University to MCS,” – Sarah Spodek.
Jeff Holloway, Athletic Director at Muncie Central High School, came to the event excited for the opportunity to collaborate with faculty in various fields, begin fostering relationships that will be mutually beneficial, and brainstorm ideas for helping MCS students. As a graduate of both Muncie Central and Ball State himself, he is especially vested in the success of both the local and campus communities.
” I think there are numerous benefits for both sides. MCS can benefit by having access to volunteers, exploring potential careers for students, and access to professional development for teachers.” – Jeff Holloway
For some, the partnership began long ago through initiatives like BSU immersive learning projects. David Largent, Associate Lecturer of Computer Science, is excited to continue a relationship with two MCS schools that began in the fall of 2017. Through Computer Science for Middle Schoolers, referred to as CS4MS, Largent’s students have gone in middle school classrooms to introduce students to computer science. Through this program, he hopes to continue the expansion and increasing quality of computer science instruction in the MCS schools. Largent, along with many other BSU faculty and MCS staff, are eager to continue collaboration, discovering needs in both communities, and to exploring how they can support each other to improve education in the Muncie area.
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