As an English instructor, Rebecca Warfield thinks outside the book.
Rather than just reading and writing about sustainability as a theme in literature, Warfield's ENG 101 students have to spend four hours a week at the campus recycling center sorting through trash and collecting recyclables. The service learning opportunity component of her current course was piloted as an eTEAL (experiencing Transformative Education through Applied Learning), supported initiative last spring with her ENG 290 class.
Warfield's course is an example of how eTEAL supported initiatives differ from other applied learning experiences in that there is a greater emphasis on the intention behind the experience and the critical reflection throughout and following the experience. She notes a difference in her students after their first day at the recycling center.
"They get preachy about the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). The experience shows them that we are in a community that is environmentally conscious and fosters a true love of place when they see firsthand what goes on on campus and how much work goes into these services."
From an ecocomposition standpoint, Warfield extols the hands on opportunity for students because it proves "what we are studying is not just a theory - it's the real world. It helps my students conceptualize their own actions and make connections - what they are doing and what others are doing for them."
Warfield is environmentally conscious by nature from living in Oregon. Her love of English was spurred by a community college teacher in Maryland before she transferred to UNCW, where she earned both a bachelor's and master's degree. She says "she got involved with eTEAL as a graduate student representative before it even had a topic or name."
Outside of the classroom, Warfield is on the Board of Directors for The Dance Cooperative, a non-profit 501c3 dance studio that provides dance classes for children with parents unable to afford dance classes. Practicing what she teaches, she "spends a lot of time outside of work outside," and walks or bikes to work every day.