On Tuesday, April 19, Regina Kaufman, the 2015-16 Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics, will provide the annual Humanics Lecture at 4 p.m. in the Appleton Auditorium. Kaufman, a professor of Physical Therapy, has been working on the value of service learning, including the opening stages of a proposal for a new program connected with a community partner.
“(The selection) was more or less a surprise,” Kaufman said. “The selection was probably based on my history as a service provider. I’ve run a service learning program for 12 years, engaging students with people in the community who are dealing with long-term effects of stroke, learning how to embed the program into the curriculum, and [we have] used it to develop initiatives.”
Kaufman has worked significantly to engage students in service learning as well as connecting professors on campus who have worked individually in the past. Kaufman found that a little more than 25 percent of professors on campus have been engaged but have worked separately from one another. In the fall, Kaufman hosted a symposium that gave professors a chance to talk about their programs and to create a conversation amongst those involved.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Kaufman said of the amount of professors that were involved in service learning. “I have spent some time on service learning committees, so I knew there were folks out there engaging students in activities.”
At the Humanics Lecture, Kaufman looks to continue to spread the story and awareness of service learning at Springfield College. With so many people at Springfield involved in service learning, Kaufman feels that it is something that can expand to share the vision that she has held.
“I consider service learning one of the best-kept secrets on this campus,” Kaufman said. “I really have an interest in shining light on excellent work faculty and students are doing together in collaboration with the community. The Humanics Lecture gives the year’s Humanics Professor a unique opportunity to speak to a vision that the invividual holds for expanding the good work that we do here at the college.
“The second objective for me at the lecture is to share my vision informed by the stories and informed by my understanding and insight available.”
While Kaufman’s one-year term as Distinguished Professor of Humanics is coming to an end (with the 2016-17 successor to be named on Tuesday), she is still humbled by the opportunity to serve in this capacity.
“I have been on campus for quite a while at this point, and when I think of Humanics Professors, my colleagues who I hold in very high esteem and look at their accomplishments, I did not consider myself to be in the same playing field,” Kaufman said. “I am deeply honored. It has been a delight to have the opportunity I have had across campus. As a soon to be ‘Extinguished Professor of Humanics,’ I look forward to continuing the conversation.”