Faculty fellow participant and graduate student David Williams sits in the Class of 1941 Studio for Student Communication with two interns.

Empowering engagement: The Pearce Service-Learning Faculty Fellows program


The Pearce Service-Learning Faculty Fellows program is an opportunity to gain the best practices for service-learning and community engagement. Open to all Ph.D. students and faculty, participating fellows receive a $2,500 fellowship award to support their commitment to service-learning excellence. With no prior experience in service-learning pedagogy required,  the program is available to anyone interested in service-learning at any rank. This year-long program encourages participants to seamlessly integrate service-learning principles into their teaching, research and public service endeavors. Through this immersive experience, faculty members gain valuable insights and skills that enable them to effectively incorporate service-learning into various aspects of their academic and community-focused work. 

Service-learning at Clemson is experiential education in action, so instructors and students apply their knowledge and skills in real community settings. By analyzing the community’s needs, they are tasked with finding and applying a solution. Fellows will develop and implement these new service-learning courses or projects. At the heart of the program is a commitment to building a community of faculty leaders dedicated to advancing their service-learning experience through collaborative efforts.

Clare Mullaney, a dedicated participant in the program, brings a significant focus to the initiative with her specialization in disability studies. 

She explains, “Both my teaching and research focus on the growing field of disability studies, which thinks about disabilities not as medical conditions but cultural insights.” Mullaney along with other fellows are challenged to develop a service-learning project Fall semester that they can later implement in the Spring. In her first semester, Mullaney highlights the program’s impact, acknowledging, “Ashley Fisk has done a fantastic job curating a range of readings and speakers that have given me (and my fellow fellows) insight not just on service-learning but teaching more generally.” 

The program hopes to continue instilling valuable skills and inspiring participants to continue their passion for learning. Mullaney’s commitment to learning and the impactful nature of the Pearce Service-Learning Faculty Fellows program are evident. 

“I look forward to continuing to think through the many ways that disability materializes in spaces both on campus and beyond.”

For this program full participation is essential, involving mandatory Zoom meetings and a commitment to developing and implementing a service-learning project. While the program doesn’t provide project funding, it serves as a valuable platform for creating meaningful projects that extend beyond the fellowship year.

This is one of the many testaments of the program’s impact in instilling valuable skills and inspiring participants to continue their passion for learning.

By: Taleah Holt