On Tuesday, the Springfield College annual Humanics Lecture was delivered by the 2015-16 Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics, Regina Kaufman, in the Fuller Arts Center. The program celebrated the contributions of Springfield’s Humanics Professors, and is an opportunity for them to report their yearly work and perspective on the college’s humanics philosophy. Following Kaufman’s presentation, the new Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics was awarded to Dr. Sam Headley.
Beginning in 2004, Kaufman developed an idea for an on-campus clinical services program. She says it was driven by the desire to help. The volunteer program ran for about six weeks and began in the spring of the 2004-05 academic year. The hope was that both undergraduate and graduate students in Springfield’s physical therapy program would be given the opportunity to provide assistance for people in the community with chronic effects of stroke.
As Kaufman put it, this was an example of integrating service and curriculum, or “service learning.” Service learning is a credit-bearing educational experience involving deep engagement with the opportunity for reflection. This causes students to think deeply about and further understand their academic experience. “It helps [students] solidify their understanding of course content, develop an appreciation and discipline,” said Kaufman. “It helps them develop an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. In the end we hope that they become better citizens.”
Kaufman explained the importance of mutual agreement in this situation. “Partnerships have to work two ways or [else] it is not genuine and it doesn’t work at all,” she said.
Kaufman acknowledged that Springfield’s mission as an institution goes hand in hand with the efforts of the volunteer program, as Springfield directs its energy towards leadership roles and services to other people. The early actions in Humanics have helped students decide on a major. In addition to helping students find their niche, it can solidify their understanding of their studies of choice. One can study all they like about social justice, but understanding is enhanced even further when students go “on site.”
Kaufman’s vision will continue to be attributed to Springfield College. From the campus’s annual Humanics In Action Day to the future plans for a rectory dedicated to services, the care for community shines bright.
“I see service learning as essential in experiential learning education, as part of a well-rounded and diverse education experience,” Kaufman said. “I’m inspired by humanics. What better way to prepare students for leadership in service, than through service.”
Headley, born in Barbados, attended school in England, and received a master’s degree in human and applied physiology and an undergraduate degree in physical education. He earned a doctorate degree from Temple University in exercise physiology. Headley’s research has mainly focused on the effect of lifestyle modifications, specifically in exercise training, on chronic disease. He is currently researching the effects of exercise training in people whom are stricken with chronic kidney disease.
After being named the new Professor of Humanics, Headley recalled his initial reaction to the honor. “It was a shock to me, to be honest with you,” he said. “Thank you to those who nominated me, I am very humbled.”