May 12-18, 2000
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Education students show high rate of volunteerism

By Ida Lee Wootten

Future teachers demonstrate a deep commitment to helping others, a new U.Va. poll shows.

In the first survey of volunteer service provided by students in the Curry School of Education, respondents indicated significant involvement in community activities. The 218 survey participants indicated that they contributed a total of 28,594 hours of community service over 10 months, from January through November 1999. The average number of hours of volunteer service reported by each student over the period was more than 100 hours.

The most popular areas of service included volunteering as coaches for such area youth teams as soccer, volleyball and baseball; serving as camp counselors; tutoring children and adults; engaging in church or synagogue activities; and participating in programs run through Madison House, the office that coordinates student volunteerism at U.Va. They also worked in medical settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, rescue squads and crisis centers.

"These volunteer hours are over and above the many hours each week education students spend in the local schools as part of their teacher-preparation program," said Sandra B. Cohen, director of teacher education in the Curry School, who undertook the survey as part of a pilot program exploring a new accreditation method in teacher-education programs.

Those surveyed include traditionally aged students who are in the Curry School's five-year program that leads to the simultaneous awarding of both bachelor's and master's degrees. Also surveyed were older students in the two-year Master of Teaching program, a full-time program for those who hold bachelor's degrees but who have no education background. Nearly 84 percent of the students graduating in 2000 responded to the survey, which was administered during class.

Each year about 3,000 U.Va. students contribute approximately 110,000 hours of service through the independent, non-profit organization, Madison House, its executive director, Cindy Fredrick, noted. "This survey continues to highlight the high level of commitment U.Va. students have to service in our community," she said.

In recognition of the new information about the extent of outreach performed by Curry School students, Cohen has nominated those who have contributed 100 or more hours of service for the Presidential Student Service Challenge Award. Bestowed by the White House, the award recognizes students who demonstrate extraordinary service in a year.


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