Dr. Ruby Beil Assistant Professor, Division of Science and Mathematics
Sustainable Agriculture Program Coordinator
Service Learning Faculty Liaison: 2010 to current
Member of the Service Learning Advisory Committee
Began teaching with Service Learning: 2007
Service Learning Courses:
- BIOG 164 Explorations in Field Science
- BIOG 165 Introduction to Ecology
- SAGR 193 Food Systems, Society, and Global Health
- SAGR 299 Special Topics in Sustainable Agriculture – Individualized Study
- SAGR 170 Special Topics in Sustainable Agriculture – Service Learning Project
Why do you teach with Service Learning?
“When I think of service learning, I am reminded of the most powerful species interaction in the natural world, the mutual symbiosis. When considering what can be learned from nature, it is clear that relationships bringing mutual benefits are more successful than competitive interactions. Service Learning is a not only an effective teaching tool, but it is a social interaction that mirrors the mutual symbiosis of the natural world. Students benefit from real-world application of course-related skills and career networking; community partners benefit from student projects; and the college benefits by strengthening our Community Cornerstone. As a Faculty member, I benefit by seeing the power of Service Learning making a huge difference on all these levels. It just feels right!”
Students completing a Service Learning project in one of Dr. Beil’s courses may work with one of many local organizations, such as the Black River Audubon Society, Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, Early College High School, The Oberlin Project, Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio, and the Lorain County Metro Parks. Students may also contribute through on-campus service in the specialty gardens (i.e. Hummingbird Butterfly Habitat Garden). Some of Dr. Beil’s projects are required components of the course and others are optional, depending on the course. All projects provide opportunities for students to apply critical thinking and course-related skills to address important needs in the greater community.
Service Learning student, Kristin, writes about her experience with the Black River Audubon Society: “It’s also sad to know that urbanization is the main factor for birds leaving certain areas…. Going through with this project has made me take more of an interest in natural and the animals living amongst us. I’m currently in pursuit of a Criminal Justice Degree. If I could tie ecology and law together and make a career out of it, I would. I’m a firm believer that cohabitation is not just between two people, but people and the environment as a whole. It was a real honor to be a part of this project for the past couple months. I plan on attending Audubon Bird Hikes throughout the summer with Joe and Harriet. The amount of hands on experience I can obtain from these hikes is priceless and well worth the time.”
Are you a student or community organization interested in getting involved in Dr. Beil’s projects, please contact her for more information.