Service-Learning and Community Engagement: Dr. Sulentic Dowell Presents in Ireland


School of Education Professor, Dr. Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, recently traveled to Galway, Ireland, to present her research on service-learning at the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) annual conference.

Her presentation, entitled, A Twice-Told Tale of Access and Ethics: Going Deeper with Provocative Issues in K-12 Service Learning, examined equity issues within service learning, specifically the enactment of the Community Service Diploma Endorsement, authorized by Act 295 (2012) of the Louisiana legislature.

Sulentic Dowell was led to this investigation because of the scarcity of research addressing the topic of equity in access of service-learning pedagogy and civic engagement curricula in K-12 schools.

“The opportunity to reflect on the emerging ethical concerns around access inequities to effective/high-quality service-learning and civic engagement opportunities for K-12 students is an important issue,” Sulentic Dowell said. “Presenting at IARSLCE on the campus of the National University of Ireland was a career highlight.”

Sulentic Dowell’s attendance was partially supported by a grant from LSU’s Office of Research and Economic Development, and she co-presented with research and writing partners, Dr. Tynisha Meidl of St. Norbert’s College and School of Education and LSU alum, Dr. Leah Katherine Saal of Loyola – Maryland.

“Dr. Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell is well-qualified to be presenting internationally on a topic about which she is highly passionate, associated with the ethical and access concerns surrounding service-learning and civic engagement opportunities for PK-12 students,” said Dr. Neil Mathews, Director of the School of Education. “The international community recognizes her wealth of experience in this arena given her Pk-12 leadership and teaching experience.  She has brought credit to the School, College, and University as a result of this presentation at the IARSLCE Annual Conference.”

IARSLCE is an organization of scholars and practitioners in the fields of service-learning and community engagement who seek to build and expand the understanding of the maturing field of research in many nations worldwide. Since 2001, IARSLCE has sponsored annual conferences which highlight critical discussions and debates in service-learning and community engagement research and scholarship. This year’s conference in Ireland was the association’s first global conference.

Dr. Marybeth Lima, Director of LSU’s Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership, stated, “It is no surprise that Dr. Sulentic Dowell’s insightful research was selected for presentation at IARSLCE, the premier research conference in service-learning and community engagement.

Dr. Sulentic Dowell is Coordinator of the Grades 1-5 Teacher Education Program and teaches in the program as well as teaching graduate courses in literacy and teacher education. Her research agenda focuses on literacy in urban settings, specifically service-learning as a pedagogical pathway to preparing pre-service teachers, providing access to literature, writing, and the arts, and the complexities of literacy leadership. Sulentic Dowell also directs the LSU Writing Project.

About SOE
The LSU School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership and Research, and Counseling, including two completely online master’s programs. SOE offers a range of professional and academic degree programs that focus on preparing students for careers in education, research, policy formation and implementation, as well as program oversight. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues. SOE is part of the College of Human Sciences & Education.  

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About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree programs, enrolling more than 2,020 undergraduate and 879 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.

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