Service learning Faculty Fellows
Pedagogical approach to Service Learning
I firmly believe that most learning is only possible through active experiences, including the
application of knowledge to solve real-world problems and communicating knowledge to others. As a scholar and teacher in the disciplines of marine ecology and biological oceanography, I also strive to provide students with opportunities to develop into young marine scientists who practice the process of scientific research. Many opportunities exist in San Diego for my students to enhance their learning by applying their knowledge and research activities to local environmental issues. Furthermore, because many K-12 students have limited exposure to the process of ecological or oceanographic research, opportunities also exist for my SDSU students to further their learning by serving as research role models and mentors for younger students.
As part of a 2007-2012 CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, I developed a
year-long course (“Marine Larval Ecology Research Experience Parts 1 & 2”, Biol 516A in fall
semesters & 516B in spring) in which SDSU undergraduates learn about the ecology of marine invertebrate larvae, develop and peer review research proposals, conduct a subset of those proposed experiments as small-group projects, and present the research in five formats: a written paper designed for a marine ecology journal, a 15-min oral presentation and a poster presentation designed for a scientific conference, a video that documents all aspects of the research project, and a 45-min presentation to a high school biology class. That last assignment is designed with service learning (SL) in mind, and I named the program Larval Ecology And Research Networking (LEARN).
Over the years, students in Biol 516B have presented their work to classes at four different high schools in San Diego County, usually bringing buckets of live marine invertebrates and cultures of microscopic larval stages as engaging components of their presentations. The high school students certainly experience aspects of marine biology and ecological research that are entirely new to them, but as importantly they also use their interactions with my SDSU students as an opening to ask questions about life as a college student. That service provided by my SDSU students is especially valuable in schools where many students do not plan to attend college. Reciprocally, this experience has inspired a few Biol 516B students to pursue teaching careers.
As SDSU expands efforts to promote SL courses, I am interested in developing a new course in which ecology students focus their attention on managing human impacts on San Diego Bay by collaborating with various government agencies such s the Port of San Diego and Regional Water Quality Control Board. A major challenge, however, is that such a course would have a lower enrollment than many in the Department of Biology, which has been forced to decrease the frequency of laboratory classes with enrollments of 20-25 and replace them in the curriculum with lectures to 120+ students. In fact, my Biol 516B course was canceled in Spring 2010 explicitly because enrollment was less than 15. My efforts to develop additional SL courses will depend on whether the University’s increasing commitment to SL courses and related high-impact practices is sustained as a priority, even though these educational opportunities require a much lower student-faculty ratio than large lecture courses.
Education and training
Ph.D. 1995 University of Washington, Seattle, WA (Biological Oceanography)
Dissertation: “The nutrition of juvenile deposit-feeding polychaetes:
ontogenetic diet changes and food-related recruitment bottlenecks”
P.A. Jumars, advisor
M.S. 1991 University of Washington, Seattle, WA (Biological Oceanography)
B.S. 1988 University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC (Marine Sci. & Honors College)
Senior Thesis: “Quantifying proventricular evacuation time of juvenile
Penaeus setiferus using gravimetric and immunoelectrophoretic analyses”
R.J. Feller, advisor
SL courses taught
Biol 516A “Marine Larval Ecology Research Experience Part 1”
Biol 516B “Marine Larval Ecology Research Experience Part 2”
Publications and presentations related to SL
2006-2018 Larval Ecology And Research Networking (LEARN) visits to 4 local High School classrooms by students enrolled in Biol 516A & 516B to demonstrate sea urchin spawning and discuss 516B research projects
2002-2004 Organized and led an annual rocky-intertidal field trip for a Cub Scout
(student volunteers from Biol 515 “Marine Invertebrate Biology” also participated as Guides)
Service activities related to SL
2017-2018 SDSU SL Faculty Fellow
2017 Research seminar presentation to two natural science classes from Valley Center High School. “Hydrodynamic mediation of killifish predation on infaunal polychaetes.” 25 April 2017.
2015 Led a rocky intertidal field trip for four classes of 24 1st and 2nd graders from
the San Diego Cooperative Charter School. 25 February 2015.
2013- 2015 Regional Partner and Mentor for K-2 teachers from Lakeside, CA as part of
the IDEAS 2.0 Project.
2014 SDSU Coastal & Marine Institute Laboratory (CMIL) Annual Open House.
Research presentation. “How do Tidal currents affect food webs in salt marshes?” 10 March 2014.
2014 Research seminar presentation at SDSU Coastal & Marine Institute
Laboratory (CMIL) to 36 students from San Diego’s High Tech High.
“Hydrodynamic mediation of killifish predation on infaunal polychaetes. 10
2012-2015 Assisted with the set-up and maintenance of an aquarium displaying local marine invertebrates at the SDSU Children’s Center.
2013 Led a rocky intertidal field trip for a group of 10 students from the San Diego Cooperative Charter School. 15 December 2013.
2010-2013 Annual visit by SDSU Children’s Center Pre-School class to Marine Invertebrate Biology Classroom
2012 Led a rocky intertidal field trip for the SDSU Children’s Center’s Outdoor
Group. 18 February 2012
2010 Mentor for Student Intern from High Tech High, Brielle Rainney
2009 Summer Research Mentor for a Teacher from Patrick Henry High School,
2008 Mentor for Student Interns from High Tech High, Jennifer Zarzoso, David Dominguez-Gadson, Anthony Wong
2007 Mentor for Student Intern from High Tech High, Jennifer Zarzoso
Awards and grants related to SL
SEAWaRD: Stewardship, Education, and Advocacy through Wetlands Research Data
PI: D. Ross, co-PIs: B. Hentschel and M Grant (CSUF)
CSU-COAST Collaborative Incentive Award Program-Fall 2009 semester. 2 wtu release.
CAREER: Consequences of short-term food variability during the development of marine
PI: B.T. Hentschel. $503,415 total from NSF Biological Oceanography OCE-0548190. Award
Period: 04/01/06 – 3/31/11.
South Bay Power Plant Impingement Study.
co-PIs: T. Anderson, B. Hentschel, K. Hovel, M. Edwards (all SDSU). $42,575 from Tenera
Award Period: 12/15/02 - 12/31/03. This contract was set up to allow SDSU graduate and
undergraduates to participate in the invertebrate sampling at the power plant.
Overview of pedagogical approach to SL (Service Learning Teaching Philosophy):
The class Blurring Borders is created to get SDSU and UABC art students to interact, collaborate and get to know the cultural scene in San Diego and Tijuana.
This class’ program is currently being developed by UABC professor Martha Cíntora and SDSU professor Carlos Castro. In the class students will visit museums, art galleries, independent spaces and artists’ studios on both sides of the border. Students will also collaborate by creating a mural in Tijuana and organizing an Art Exhibition in San Diego to display their work.
The class will meet once a week and visit both cities intermittently to do visits and develop the practical projects.
Education and Training:
2010 MFA San Francisco Art Institute USA
2010 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture USA
2002 BFA Jorge Tadeo Lozano University. Bogota Colombia
Artistic/creative works related to Service Learning:
Mural in SDSU Art Department (Spring 2017)
Mural at SDSU’s Love Library (Fall 2016)
Creation of LACUNA Gallery at the lobby of the School of Art and Design and Mural in front of the Art Building and. (2018 - 2014).
Awards related to SL:
Award from SDSU’s University Grant Program to develop the project: Cuentos para Dormir (Bedtime Stories). Involving the disciplines of Painting, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Translation, this project will be completed and printed in Fall 2018.
Award Common Experience (2015 – 2016)
Overview of Pedagogical Approach to Service Learning (Service Learning Teaching
I am committed to service learning as a systematic instructional approach through which
students gain real-world experience as well as academic training as an integrated part of their education. Service learning is one model of experiential learning that occurs when students are supported in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world community-based problems or authentic situations. As an instructor of service learning, I guide and facilitate student learning in the TE362 course (Fieldwork in Community Settings). The goals for this course require activities that exemplify the five stages of service learning as stated by Kay Berger: Investigation, Preparation, Action, Reflection, and Demonstration. Service learning requires a relatively long-term commitment to a community service which reaps reciprocal benefits for both the students and the community agency or institution where they are placed. Goals of service learning should include building understanding and perspective of community-based issues and how other people live, increasing self-awareness, assisting students develop their future plans, and supporting students appreciate their varied talents and interests based on the theory of multiple intelligences.
Education and Training
1966: George Washington University - B. A., Psychology/Economics
1972: University of Kansas - M. A., Linguistics, Child Language Acquisition
1981: University of Kansas - Ph. D., Educational Psychology and Research
Service Learning Courses Taught
Fieldwork in Community Settings (TE 362), San Diego State University Fall 2000 – Present.
Service Activities Related to Service Learning (Community Activities, Service to the
The TE362 service-learning course I teach aims to make a difference in students’ professional options by giving them the opportunity to positively influence the lives of children, families, and communities as they help teachers provide children with individualized learning experiences.
Students work collaboratively with teachers to tutor elementary, middle and high school
students attending underserved schools in reading, math and science. Students may participate for TE 362 credit for two semesters and may also volunteer for the opportunity if not work-study eligible.
Students’ academic preparation follows Kay’s five stages of service learning. They
inventory of student interest, skills, and talents, and the social analysis of the issue being
addressed. This analysis requires gathering information about the identified need through
action research including use of varied approaches: media, interviews of experts, survey of
varied populations, and direct observation/personal experiences (Investigation). Continued
acquisition of knowledge that addresses any questions that arise from the investigation;
academic content; identification of groups already working towards solutions; organization of a plan with clarification of roles, responsibilities and timelines; and ongoing development of any skills needed to carry the plan successfully to fruition (Preparation). The implementation of the plan that may take the form of a combination or any one of the following: direct service, indirect service, advocacy, or research (Action). Consideration of how students’ thoughts and feelings regarding any overarching essential question or inquiry that is a driving force of the total experience (Reflection). A demonstration to a specific audience of what the service-learning experience entailed, what students have learned, and the local and national problems in public education they have discovered (Demonstration).
Awards and Grants Related to Service Learning
• America Counts: A work-study opportunity for students to tutor mathematics in
underserved middle and high schools
• America Reads: A work-study opportunity for students to tutor reading in underserved
elementary schools grades k-3
• Educational Talent Search
Department of Education, Award No. PO44A160785 9/1/16 – 8/31/21
Annual Award $487,680.00
• Talent Search Mentoring: Meaningful Mentoring to Build a College-Going Culture
Department of Education, Award No. P044A160881 9/1/16 – 8/31/21
Annual Award $240,000.00
Selected Past Grants:
• Gear Up to City Heights 2009 – 2016, Seven-year award $5,467,206
As the principal author of the grant proposal, the programs I direct under the Pre-College
Institute Umbrella collaborated with the City Heights Educational Collaborative to provide
tutor training and in-class tutoring to GEAR UP students through service learning.
Awards Which Included Service Learning as one of the Dimensions of Merit:
August 2012 SDSU Alumni Association Award, (the “Monty Award”) for Outstanding
Faculty Contributions, College of Education Representative.
May 2012 SDSU Presidential Leadership Fund Excellence Award for exemplifying
principles such as, innovation, entrepreneurship, and excellence and for
making significant strides to encourage student success and academic
excellence, and to attract the best and brightest students to SDSU.
September 2010 Council for Opportunity in Education’s Walter O. Mason Award. Established
to honor outstanding educational opportunity professionals who exemplify his sense of leadership and his ideals.
September 2008 Selected as a faculty member of SDSU’s Center for Research in Math & Science
June 2007 “SDSEA University Level Award.” San Diego Science Educators Association
(SDSEA). For outstanding contributions to K-12 science.
2006 Selected as a member of the National Advisory Board for the Louis Stokes Institute for increasing opportunity in science, technology, and engineering and mathematics education among low-income and underrepresented students.
July 2002 “TRIO Trailblazer Award.” To recognize persons in various fields who are
committed to their specific area of interests as well as the continued educational success of students. Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Reunion of the University of Southern California Upward Bound Program, “Educational Excellence From One Millennium to the next,” USC Los Angeles, CA.
March 1999 “The Steve Holman Award.” This award recognizes the lifetime career
achievements of Directors of TRIO programs from the Western Association of
Equal Opportunity Personnel.
May 1998 “Top 25 Award.” San Diego State University, Presidential Award for Outstanding Contribution to the University.
April 1996 “Unsung Hero” Certificate of Appreciation. San Diego County Commission on Children, Youth, and Families.
Why I teach SL classes:
I believe that, where possible, connecting students to first hand experiences of the sociological issues they are studying is a crucial component of their learning. Real world connections not only give students a more complex and nuanced comprehension of social problems, but elicit feelings of interest and empathy on a much deeper level than is possible in the classroom context. While in larger classes I bring in community leaders to speak with students, in all classes of 30 or under I send students out into the community. In these classes I incorporate Service Learning and/or Community-Based Research projects as major components to further this goal of enriched and lasting comprehension.
Besides enhancing subject matter understanding, I believe that service learning also builds students’ skills. Students become more comfortable with and adept at specific tasks that translate into preparation for many future endeavors. For example, when students in my classes do intakes for a local employee rights group or surveys on wage theft they learn how to approach strangers, elicit information, listen closely, focus the client/informant back to the needed the information, etc. These skills are helpful for students going into any job but particularly research, customer service, and non-profit work. My students who tutor refugees and those who create and teach new curriculum on labor rights learn how to break down complex information, how to engage students, and how to manage classrooms or study sessions. These skills obviously help students going into K-12 teaching or graduate school where they will work as TAs, but again help with any job where students will train others, present material, etc.
Finally, and most importantly, I believe that students build their civic capacities through community engagement. I use a civic-capacities building rubric that students must reflect on in their journaling in my SL classes. These capacities go beyond the specific topic of the course or particular hard skills. Students are asked to reflect on their development of open-mindedness, community building, leadership, working collectively, and many other important characteristics. I believe that it is these capacities that may have the largest lifelong impact on improving the lives of our students and our world.
- Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, Comparative Ethnic Studies, May 2001. Dissertation: The Social Accountability Contract: Private Monitoring and Labor Relations in the Global Apparel Industry.
- M.A. University of California at Berkeley, Comparative Ethnic Studies, 1995, with distinction.
- B. A. Brown University, American Civilization, 1986, with honors, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa. Honors thesis: Chicana Feminism: Women in the Farah Strike, UFW and Chicano Student Movement.
SL Courses Taught
- Soc 480: Internship (as supervision to individual students)
- Soc 531: Working and Society
- Soc 555: Immigrants and Refugees in US Society
- Soc 740: Sociology of Immigration
- Soc 796: Field Practicum (Community-Based)
- Honors 413: Lived Experience of Immigrants and Refugees
- GenSt 480: Engaged Citizenship and Social Responsibility
Community Service Learning activities in my classes (as of 2018) include:
- 6 semesters of incorporating internships into honors course (HON 413) on immigration
- 6 semesters of organizing joint field trips with 40-70 SDSU and refugee high school students (HON 413)
- 6 semesters of incorporating internships into sociology courses on immigration (SOC 555)
- 1 semester of incorporating community service learning collaborative projects with local NGO in Work and Society (SOC 531)
- Individual internships and practicums through our independent studies (16 in last 3 years)
- 7 semesters of community-based research field practicums collaborating with local NGOs (SOC 796)
- 4 semester of Engaged Citizenship and Social Responsibility (GS 480) in which students spend 5 hours a week in various community service learning activities (conducting Employee Rights Center intakes, phone banking, attending community-worker protests, advocating for worker rights on campus, teaching high school students), research and curriculum development
- Field trip for over 100 King-Chavez high school students to SDSU for tour and presentation led and organized by my students
Publications with students participating in Community-Based Research:
Peer Reviewed Articles:
Esbenshade, Jill, Elizabeta Shifrin and Karina Ryder, “Leveraging Liminality: How San Diego Taxi Drivers Used their Precarious Status to Win Reform, “Labor History, forthcoming March 4, 2019.
Esbenshade, Jill and Elizabeta Shifrin, “The Leased Among Us: Precarious Work, Local Regulation, and the Taxi Industry” Labor Studies, first published April 12, 2018.
Esbenshade, Jill, Matthew Vidal, Gina Fascilla and Mariko Ono. 2016. “Customer Driven Management Models for Choiceless Clientele: Business Process Reengineering in a California Welfare Agency,” Work, Employment and Society, 30(1): 77-96.
Esbenshade, Jill and Barbara Obrzut. 2007-2008. "Local Immigration Regulation: A Problematic Trend in Public Policy," Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, (20), 33-47.
Esbenshade, Jill with Erica Morgan, Micah Mitroky, Marilisa Navarro, Matt Rotondi, and Cynthia Vasquez. 2006. “Pain, Profits and Pillows: Hotels and Housekeepers in San Diego,” WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society, 9: 265-292. (Lead article).
Jill Esbenshade, Peter Brownell, Alor Calderon, Susan Duerksen, Amanda Hendrix, Elizabeta Shifrin, Christopher Conner, Charlene Eivaz, Raquel Funches, Susan Gates, Kelly Gmeiner, Ian Larson, Leandra Lococo, Amina Mohamed, Thuan Nguyen, Lauren Pon, Arely Sanchez, Alicia Salinas, and Brady Stanton. “Confronting Wage Theft: Barriers to Claiming Unpaid Wages in San Diego.” San Diego State University Department of Sociology and Center on Policy Initiatives. https://www.cpisandiego.org/reports/confrontingwagetheft/
Esbenshade, Jill (PI) and Peter Brownell, Susan Duerksen, Matt Phutisatayakul, Juan Flores, Kat Durant, Sonia Rodriguez, Lisa Riccardi, Charlene Holkenbrink-Monk, Amy Ash, Natalia Beshquoy, April Brenner, Maria Caballero, Phillipp Dembicki, Jackson Faber, Thomas Haberer, Lucas Lacerda, Mayra Lopez, Jennifer Renner, Jarrett Rose, and Brianna Lundgren. 2015. Shorted: Wage Theft, Time Theft, and Discrimination in San Diego County Restaurants Jobs. San Diego State University Department of Sociology and Center on Policy Initiatives. Available at: http://www.cpisandiego.org/shorted_media
Distribution and Impact: Distributed 1200 hard copies (plus over 250 online downloads and unknown shares); distributed 7,000 English and 800 Spanish copies of pamphlet summarizing Know-Your-Rights information from report; and an unknown number of 2-page summary of report. Presented report to California Labor Commissioner Julie Su and California State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and City Councilmember Todd Gloria, as well as 100’s of community members in various presentations. The report was also cited by California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León in op-ed successfully advocating for a state bill to strengthen government’s ability to collect on wage theft judgments. Report widely covered by local English and Spanish language media.
Esbenshade, Jill (PI) and Muna Aden, Andy Anderson, Amy Ash, Linzi Berkowitz, Roberto Danipour, Lea Marzo, Janelle Perez, Andrew Quinn, Rebecca Quinn, Karina Russ, Helga Staalhane, and Carolina Valdivia, with Susan Duerksen and Peter Brownell. 2013. Driven to Despair: A Survey of San Diego Taxi Drivers. San Diego State University Department of Sociology and Center on Policy Initiatives. Available at: http://onlinecpi.org/reports/driven-to-despair/
Distribution and Impact: Distributed 1200 hard copies (plus unknown number of online downloads and shares). Invited to join Mayor’s Taxi Advisory Committee as only academic expert. Full report presentation to City Council Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhood Services and to individual council members. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith distributed report to all members of Union-Tribune editorial board, which took a position supporting reform. Testified to full city council in hearings, which resulted in successful reform of the industry. Report widely covered by both English and Spanish language media.
Overview of pegagogical approach to SL (Service Learning Teaching Philosophy)
I am a strong adherent of the “teacher-scholar” model. To this, I would add a third component to create a “teacher-scholar-practitioner” model. Ideally, practice, research, and education mutually inform and form one another. The “practitioner” side is embodied by service learning, which I view as a mutually beneficial partnership between the university and the community, advancing the development and growth of both. Service learning provides an invaluable experience for students, reinforcing and enriching their understanding of the concepts and theories they learn in the classroom. Students learn about the problems applying this knowledge and acquire strategies for overcoming these and other challenges. Most importantly, students gain a deeper understanding of the real-world issues that will shape their future fields, in research, practice, and education. Classroom learning tends to focus on the past and present, but service learning prepares students for a dynamic and changing future.
In psychology, practical experience is particularly crucial. As a cultural psychologist, I am especially committed to the study of human development in context. The mind is indeed inseparable from this context and content on which it operates. In my Psy 499 class, I work with a team of students on research related to health and healthcare at the US-Mexico border. We are currently studying beliefs and practices related to cancer. This involves collaborating with community organizations to interview clinical populations. I try to guide students through the research process using the scientific method, while emphasizing the complexity of applying this method in the real world rather than in a controlled environment. I also mentor students on how to build rapport with their participants and the importance of giving back to the community by sharing their research findings.
I am presently expanding my efforts through a binational collaboration with a faculty member at the UABC, School of Medicine. We have been developing a student research exchange that will include data collection and lab meetings on both sides of the US-Mexico border. In addition to my work on cancer, we plan to conduct similar studies on HIV/AIDS among migrant populations. Such collaborations take service learning to another level by incorporating an international perspective. This perspective is central to the reality of our students at the Imperial Valley campus, and it will become more important to the rest of the country as economic and environmental issues heighten the migrant crises both at and within our borders.
Education and Training
Ed.D. in Human Development and Psychology, 2010
Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
Dissertation title: Words and Worlds: Spatial Language and Thought among the Tseltal Maya of Chiapas, Mexico
Ed.M., in Mind, Brain and Education, 2002
Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
M.S. in Elementary Education, 1997
Hunter College of the City University of New York, NY
B.A. in Philosophy, 1989
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
SL Courses Taught
Psy 499, Special Study in Psychology. Students engage in research with a strong community component. Current projects investigate health and healthcare at the US-Mexico border.
Psy 495, Field Placement in Psychology. Students complete at least 60 hours of volunteer work with the community organization in the Imperial Valley.
Publications and Student Presentations related to SL work (* denotes students)
Abarbanell, L. & Figueroa, F.* (2018, November). Explanatory Models of Cancer and Treatment Choices at the US-Mexico Border. Individual paper to be presented at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Jose, CA.
Figueroa, F.*, Kishimoto-Quan, M.*, Perez, M.*, Vasquez, A.*, & Abarbanell, L. (2018, April). Explanatory Models of Cancer and Treatment Choices among Mexican-Americans at the US-Mexico Border. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Portland, OR.
Figueroa, F.*, Kishimoto-Quan, M.*, Perez, M.*, Vasquez, A.*, & Abarbanell, L. (2018, March). Cultural Explanatory Models of Cancer: from the Imperial Valley to Okinawa, Japan. Poster presented at the Student Research Symposium, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.
Winner of the 2018 SDSU-IV Provost’s Award for Best Poster
Figueroa, F.* & Abarbanell, L. (2017, October). Cultural Beliefs and Contextual Factors Affecting Cancer Treatment Choices at the US-Mexico Border. Poster presented at the SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference, Salt Lake City, UT
Coronado, M.*, Figueroa, F.*, Godinez, L.*, Hurtado, D.*, & Abarbanell, L. (2017, March). Cultural Beliefs and Contextual Factors Affecting Cancer Treatment Choices at the US-Mexico Border. Poster presented at the Student Research Symposium, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.
Winner of the 2017 SDSU-IV Dean’s Award
Avendano, G.∗, Murga, E.∗, Reyes, O.∗ & Abarbanell, L. (2016, March). Cultural and biological models of reproductive health among migrant women. Poster presented at the Student Research Symposium, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.
Blanco, D.*, Cordona, E.*, Jovel, G.*, & Abarbanell, L. (2016, March). Experience and locus of control among Mexican migrants with diabetes. Poster presented at the Student Research Symposium, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.
Service Activities related to SL (community activities, service to the profession
In my Psy 499 class, students work on research projects that have a strong community/clinical focus. One project involves conducting interviews with individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer on both sides of the US-Mexico border (Imperial Valley/Mexicali). This work examines how cultural and structural factors in this binational and bicultural region shape individuals’ experiences with the healthcare system, their causal models of illness, and the treatments they seek. We have worked with community organizations that have helped us recruit participants in the Imperial Valley. With my collaborator at the UABC, School of Medicine, we are working on expanding this into a binational research exchange with students from SDSU-IV and the UABC. We also plan to expand our research to include the topic of HIV/AIDS, which is my collaborator’s area of specialization. He directs a peer-to-peer education program, Programa Amigo, at the UABC, which is focused on education for the prevention, detection, and treatment of HIV/AIDS. As this collaboration advances, I hope to incorporate more service learning activities, including having students help give presentations or workshops at the community organization that have assisted us with research.
In Psy 495, Field Placement in Psychology, which I have taught for the past five year, students complete at least 60 hours of volunteer time at a community organization that they select and arrange themselves with my assistance. We hold regular group meetings where students share and learn from each other’s experiences. We also explore general topics related to their field experience, including the biopsychosocial model, ethics in helping and the helping professions, working with special population, cultural awareness and sensitivity, and self-care.
Awards and Grants related to SL
Borderlands Institute Grant, San Diego State University, Imperial Valley, awarded 2018. Summer stipend ($2,000) for research, mentoring, and preparation of research for publication related to cancer beliefs and practices at the US-Mexico border.
Summer Undergraduate Research Program Grant, San Diego State University, awarded 2018. Merit-based award ($3,000) to sponsor one student for the project, “Explanatory Models of Cancer and Treatment Choices at the US-Mexico Border.”
Summer Undergraduate Research Program Grant, San Diego State University, awarded 2017. Merit-based award ($3,000) to sponsor one student for the project, “Cultural Beliefs and Structural Factors Affecting Cancer Treatment Choices at the US-Mexico Border.”
Pedagogical approach to Service Learning
I believe in the pedagogical importance of connecting students’ learning with their community. I strive to motivate students to translate their skills to practice through community engagement. I have successfully orchestrated opportunities for students to do this in formal ways by integrating service learning practices into my courses. After learning about my teaching and research pedagogy that emphasizes community embeddedness, I was invited as a member of the SDSU Service Learning and Community Engagement committee. I serve as a faculty voice for student learning and community engagement initiatives across campus. My area of specialization on the committee regards United States– Mexico cross-border opportunities for service learning course partnership.
In collaboration with communication faculty at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC), I have enthusiastically worked to design an in-depth binational special topic course in social science research methodology that will be conducted in the field at the border region in Spring 2019. This service learning class (Communication Research Methods in the Field; COMM 496) will take place both at SDSU and in Baja California, Mexico. Students from SDSU and UABC will be in the course together. We will employ service learning as a pedagogical tool to help students deepen their understanding of course material.
Students will participate in service learning activities with community partners to respond to social problems both on or off-campus. For example, my faculty partner and I are developing collaborations with journalists who report on border issues and organizations who work to translate border research to the public in efforts to inform public policy. Students conduct site visits outside of class as well as interact with community partners in class. They articulate how their service to and with these partners affirms, expands, integrates, or calls into question the academic content of the course. By considering these issues through the process of structured reflections, this form of experiential learning is mutually beneficial to the student as well as the community partners. These aspects create a collaborative space for learning to take place by students, faculty, and partners.
Cross-border course opportunities like this are an innovative way to integrate an international experience with academic and community engagement for students. The Mexican border communities of Tijuana and Mexicali are ripe with research opportunities for students. The model I am employing looks beyond the traditional study-abroad experience by creating a unique international student learning experience that enables access to more students, particularly low-income and non-traditional.
Education and Training
Doctor of Philosophy (Communication), 2012 – Arizona State University
Areas of Emphasis: Health and Interpersonal Communication, Health Communication Campaigns, Persuasion/Social Influence, Quantitative Methods, and Statistical Analyses
Master of Arts (Speech Communication), 2008 – University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
Bachelor of Arts (Speech Communication), 2006 – University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
SL Courses Taught
COMM 496: Communication Research Methods in the Field
Service activities related to SL (community activities, service to the profession)
SDSU-UABC Meeting in Tijuana at UABC on March 22nd
SDSU-UABC Meeting in San Diego at SDSU on April 26th
Awards and grants related to SL
eLearning Innovation Initiative (eLII) Innovation + Design Lab ($4000), Competitively selected for the Online Track Cohort II to advance online pedagogy, University of Kentucky, – September, 2014 to August, 2015. Used for implementation of SL course.
Pedagogical Approach to Service-learning
One of the biggest challenges undergraduate students experience with regard to learning is a reason for learning course content beyond the need to pass a test. Unlike traditional pedagogical approaches to learning, service-learning provides the bridge between the textbook/course materials and the world beyond the classroom. Hands-on learning in the community makes the course content more than relevant to the next exam; the content [hopefully] becomes relevant to their lives within the local community and their futures. My approach to providing students with service-learning opportunities is to give them an opportunity to connect their classroom skills with local organizations that they feel passionate about.
Students in my service learning course spend time researching local organizations that are seeking to improve the health of the San Diego community. Through this research, students select organizations whose mission and values with which they connect. They then reach out to their selected organization to set up a chance to volunteer with that organization throughout the semester. Students complete a set number of volunteer hours and detailed timesheets reflecting on the volunteer experience as it relates to course content. This approach achieves a number of learning and life objectives.
Learning objectives can be accomplished and demonstrated in a number of ways. In my service-learning course, the learning objectives surround recognition of the application of textbook concepts within their community volunteering experience. This includes recognizing the process of community organizing currently going on in the local community, examining the effectiveness of community efforts in achieving specified community health outcomes, and analyzing and demonstrating effective community communication between organizations and publics. Achieving these learning objectives is measured through detailed timesheets, where experience and relevance to course readings are explored, and through project presentations, where students share their experiences—including relevance to the
course materials—with the class.
Life objects are less explored in a traditional college classroom. Yet, that is where they often begin. Beyond gaining an education, students have life goals that require skills—especially communication skills—in order to achieve them. My approach to service-learning seeks to provide students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the community. This includes seeing workplace environments, interacting with professionals, and contributing to important and timely health challenges. Their volunteered time is an altruistic experience for these students, who often don’t realize the health challenges just beyond the border of campus. The opportunity to give back at food banks, shelters, associations, and events inspires students to realize what their major can contribute in order to better society.
PhD, Communication, University of Kentucky
MA, Communication, University of Kentucky
BA, Communication, SUNY University at Buffalo
COMM 421, Health Communication & Community-based Service Learning
Service Activities Related to Service-learning
2017-present, Advisory Committee, Fulfilling Destiny (San Diego Non-profit)
2017 Summer Undergraduate Research Award to mentor an undergraduate student through a hands-on independent research project. The student designed a research study to improve health communication among a target San Diego group, gathered data, and analyzed the findings.
Overview of pedagogical approach to SL (Service Learning Teaching Philosophy)
My pedagogical approach to service learning is informed by my time as a practitioner in the field of early care and education (ECE) as a Head Start teacher, administrator, literacy coach, and consultant. I am deeply committed to exploring evidence-based practices that can improve the quality of the ECE workforce and view service learning as a way to bridge theory to practice and enhance student learning while providing a valuable service to the community.
In CFD 380, Language and Learning for a Diverse Society, students spend 10 weeks at a local ECE program providing language and literacy experiences for children that are based on the latest research and theory about teaching and learning in the early years. They work closely with the classroom teacher to make sure that activities reflect the curricular goals of the program as well as the interests and developmental levels of the children. An important aspect of my pedagogical approach to service learning is the power of reflection, and each week students are required to reflect on their experience, considering what worked in their lesson plan, what they would have done differently, and what they would like to do next. We use class time to discuss these reflections, and my goal is to create a community of learners whose ideas and experiences are valued and used to construct and expand students’ understandings related to the field of ECE. I create these positive learning experiences for my students by, in part, working to ensure that they feel valued, supported, and intellectually challenged; and I try to model practices that they can take into the field as ECE professionals.
I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in two study abroad trips to
Guatemala via the GEN STUD 350: Global Cultural Experience Guatemala course. While in
Guatemala, students work in rural areas to improve primary school infrastructure, visit a local
market, teach a lesson to local children, and working on local community development projects while learning more about regional history, culture, and sustainability efforts. Because much of our work takes place within a school setting, I am able to share my knowledge of child and family development to help students explore and reflect upon the socio-cultural and linguistic contexts in which teaching and learning take place and how cultural practices serve to socialize children to become competent members of their own cultural community.
I am excited to have been selected as a Service Learning Faculty Fellow, and look
enhancing my pedagogical strategies related to service learning and sharing my experiences with others.
Education and Training
University of California, San
Diego/California CSU San Marcos
San Diego State University
Child and Family Development
University of Pittsburgh
Bachelor of Arts
English Literature and Economics
SL Courses Taught
CFD 380: Language and Literacy for a Diverse Society
GEN STUD 350: Global Cultural Experience Guatemala
Publications related to SL
Ritblatt, S.N., Garrity, S., Longstreth, S., Hokoda, A., & Potter, N. (2013). Early care and
education matters: A conceptual model for early childhood teacher preparation
integrating the key constructs of knowledge, reflection, and practice, Journal of Early
Childhood Teacher Education, 34 (1), 46-62.
Service activities related to SL (community activities, service to the profession)
Service Learning Faculty Fellow, Fall 2017-present
Awards and grants related to SL
IP Development Grant: Creating International Experiences that involve Serving Learning in
International Programs, April, 2017. Award amount: $1,200.
IP Development Grant: Creating International Experiences that involve Serving Learning in
International Programs, January, 2014. Award amount: $1,935.
President’s Leadership Award, SDSU Children’s Center Library Project, April, 2012. Award
Pedagogical Approach of SL
Women’s Studies as a discipline highly values linking scholarship with community activism.
The field developed in the late 1960s/early 70s when the Second Wave Women’s Movement
brought a critique of gender relations and a demand for scholarship that centered diverse
women’s lives and epistemology. At SDSU we believe that academic knowledge is most
meaningful when supplemented with community involvement that works to materially improve the lives of girls, women and female-identified people.
Through my year-long survey course in American Women’s History (pre-colonization to the
present) students can self-select for one of four community/campus-based service learning
internships. In total, this involves approximately 70 General Education students per semester
enrolled in the classes. These include: The Young Women’s Studies Club at Herbert Hoover
High School in San Diego where weekly 16 SDSU undergraduate and graduate students mentor 60 Hoover students in discussions, creative activities, film analysis and panels around issues that aim to create a most just feminist, race-conscious and social class aware world. The second placement is with the Women’s Museum of California (San Diego) where students work to create traveling exhibits, organize and stage the annual San Diego Country Women’s Hall of Fame event, and offer regular speakers and in-house exhibits. Two on-campus SL opportunities are also possible. The first is placements with [email protected], an LGBTQ+ social justice and ally training program that works to make the SDSU campus proactive, welcoming, knowledgeable and safe for all LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff and administrators. The final placement is the Womyn’s Outreach Association-a student-led intersectional feminist activist group that offers discussions, events, speakers and consciousness-raising programming.
Within the upper-division General Education class students learn about the historical context of women’s lives: how race, ethnicity, social class, place, age, physical ability, sexual orientation and gender identity, religion, marital status, life expectancy and economics inform diverse women’s lives. Intersectionality is the governing lens. We consider all aspects of someone’s multiple identities and how these create unique life circumstance, privileges. oppressions and ways of knowing. This lens is brought to all the SL placements as well.
Students commit to a thirty-hour workload, twenty of which are on site conceptualizing events with site volunteer organizers and planning and staging these events. Students keep intellectual journals in which they respond to professor-given prompts that tie their course work into their SL work. These journals, along with their end-of-semester Reflection papers that require them to evaluate their own efforts, insights gained and interwoven connections with course material help determine their final course grade. They are exonerated from writing a final annotated bibliography, but are required to plan and present an in-class oral presentation that articulately portrays the main elements of their SL internship, their instrumentality in it and its relevance to the course material.
The journals, Reflections papers and journal entries serve as assessment tools for the professor and graduate assistant who each semester adjust and hone the mechanics of the placements. High school students with the YWSC fill out assessment intake surveys and end-of-semester surveys that evaluate the relevance, impact and value of the programming to them.
Education and Training
Ph.D. Brown University. American Civilization: American Women’s History, Africana U.S. and
Latin American Race Relations, History of Medicine and Medical Sociology, American Urban
History, American Literature.
MA, Brown University. American Civilization.
MA Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY. Women’s History, History of Medicine, Race
University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Women’s Studies, Honors, African-American Studies, History.
Georgetown University Institute of Bioethics.
Service-Learning Courses Taught
WMNST341A American Women’s History, pre-colonization-1870
WMNST341B American Women’s History, 1870-present
WMNST360 Women, Sexuality and the Body
WMSNT565 Women, Health and Healing
WMNST606 Narrating Lives
WMNST608 Body Politics
Publications related to SL
Cayleff, Susan; Herron, Melissann; Cormier, Chelsea; Wheeler, Sarah; Chávez-Arteaga, Alicia;
Spain, Jessica; Dominguez, Cristina. “Oral History and ‘Girls’ Voices: The Young Women’s
Studies Club as a Site of Empowerment,” Journal of International Women’s Studies vol.12 no. 4 (Summer 2011): 22-44.
“Women Who Dare: Shaping the Americas, Through Challenge & Action, San Diego, CA: The
Women’s History Museum and Educational Center and the California Council for the
Humanities,” 2008. Published Curated Museum Exhibit.
Cayleff, Susan E. and Groterria, Angela. “Putting Gender and Multi-Cultural Competence at the Center: The Young Women’s Studies Club at Hoover High School; a Community-Based Service Learning Collaborative Project with an SDSU Undergraduate Class in Women’s Studies.” In Gender, Equity and Violence: Multidisciplinary Perspectives through Service Learning, ed. Geraldine Stahly, Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, 2007; 121-138.
Susan E. Cayleff, Hobson, Roberta A. and Schmitz, Roberta J. “Breaking Into Print: Strategies
for Publishing in Women’s Studies as a Grad Student.” In The Grad Students Guide for Being
Published. Eds. Alida Allison and Terri Frongia. New York: Prentice Hall, 1992. 57, 63-69.
Manuals: (Used in Community-Based Service Learning Cultural Competency Trainings
Cayleff, Susan E. The Young Women’s Studies Club at Herbert Hoover High School: A Cultural Competency Training Manual, 2007 onward. With the assistance of Graduate Coordinators over the years.
Cayleff, Susan E. [email protected]: A Cultural Competency Training Manual, 2007 onward.
With the assistance of Graduate Coordinators over the years
Conference and community papers related to SL
2016. Feminist Research Justice Symposium, “Assessment Tool for SafeZones101,” Department of Women’s Studies, San Diego State University, May 2016.
“How to be an Activist,” Jewish Teen Girls’ Leadership Council, Jewish Family Services, San
Diego, Ca. November 5, 2016.
“The Young Women’s Studies Club at Hoover High School, San Diego, California,” Girls’
Issues Feminist Research Justice Symposium, February 27, 2015, San Diego State University.
“The Young Women’s Studies Club at Hoover High School, San Diego, CA.: A Site of
Empowerment and Resistance; The Girls’ Voices Project,” Re-Imagining Girlhood:
Communities, Identities, Self-Portrayals Conference in Cortland, NY. at SUNY Cortland,
October 22, 2010.
“Young Feminist’s Identities and Social Change: Mentoring the Young Women’s Studies
for Girls ‘Coming of Age,” Southwest Texas Popular and American Culture Association
Conference, Albuquerque, NM, 2008.
Moderator, “Women’s History in the Community: Triumphs and Challenges at The Women’s
History Museum, San Diego.” Western Association of Women Historians University of San
Diego. May 4-6, 2007.
Organizer of panel, “Women’s Studies in the Community: Making a Difference in Local
Activism,” Feminist Research Colloquium: Feminist Crossroads; Bearing Witness and building
Social Change, The Bread and Roses Center of the Department of Women’s Studies, November
AWARDS related to SL
2017 Ashley L. Walker Social Justice Award by the Human Relations Commission of
the City of San Diego. The award recognizes individuals who believe in and have
taken action toward the equality and humane treatment of every member of our
community and whose good works have had a significant impact in the growth of
respect, inclusion, and civic engagement of all groups.
2003 San Diego State University Senate Excellence in Teaching Award. Selected by
the Faculty Honors and Awards Committee. One faculty so honored per year from
among a faculty of 900-plus.
2001 Dean Carole Robisciotti Outstanding Faculty Community Service Learning
Award, Aztec Achievement Awards, SDSU. Nominated by the Women’s
Resource Center, The Graduate Women Scholars of Southern California and the
Women’s Studies Student Association.
Grants Related to SL:
2016 College of Arts and Letters Micro-grant, Archiving Young Women’s Studies Club Documents, 1995-2016.
2015. Feminist Research Justice Symposium, “Assessment Tool for the Young
Women’s Club at Hoover High School, Dept. of Women’s Studies, SDSU.
2007 Presidential Leadership Fund, Service Learning Project Between the Young
Women’ Studies Club at Hoover High School and General Education/Honors
Classes in Women’s Studies at San Diego State University: A Five-Year Plan.
2000-01 City Heights Educational Pilot Grant, “A Collaboration between Women’s
Studies 341B, ‘Women in American History, 1890-present,’ and Students at
Hoover High School,” a community service learning project.
2000-01 Women’s History Educational Pilot Grant for Collaborative work between
WS341 B, “Women in American History, 1890-present,” students and the
Women’s History Reclamation Project for SDSU students to create traveling
exhibits, for K-12 public schools.
2001 SDSU Center for Community Based Service Learning Grant, for curricula
collaboration with Hoover High School on, “Shared Women’s Studies Curriculum
between Hoover High School Seniors and SDSU Students: Eight Historical
Novels as a Window into Women’s Diverse Lives, 1792-1975.”
Pedagogical Approach to SL
Community service was developed nearly 100 years ago and is one of the key attributes of
the art and science of Community/Public Health Nursing. It promotes population health and disease prevention in diverse individuals, families, and groups in a community. Community-
focused and community-based nursing practices at SDSU have been designed to approach a target population in a community; assess needs; and develop strategies for the population
obtain or retain optimal health through articulation of theories learned in class. This way, the
students’ competency in knowledge, attitudes, and skills to take care of community’s health can be enhanced.
Recently, the term of “service learning” has been employed by the conjunction of
community service, nursing practice, and the national health agenda, Healthy People 2020 in the Community Health Nursing course. However, I have utilized the concept of service learning through Gerontological Nursing course more than a decade at SDSU.
My pedagogical approach in Community Health Nursing has been actively articulated with
the SDSU strategies of service learning by being officially registered as a Service Learning
Course from Spring 2017. Community/Public Health Nursing is a required course for all students in the nursing program, and approximately 70 students are enrolled. Each student spends 40 hours for service learning projects with topics including Oral Health and Nutrition,
Emergency/Disaster Preparedness, and other topics, which are based on the national health
agenda of Healthy People 2020. These projects have been implemented to diverse populations including students in Walter J. Porter and Mary Lanyon Fay Elementary Schools, Victoria Summit and Lindsay Blended Schools, and at affordable senior housing sites (Garden Villas and CASA Familiar). Grading criteria for the students’ work includes significance of the topics and the target populations, developing pre- and post- assessment tools, teaching performance, evaluation tools, reports to the community, dissemination of a description of the project for other class groups and five reflections of service learning activity. Among the presentations, best presentations were selected and recognized for their work.
In the Gerontological Nursing course between 2005 and 2016, approximately 60 to 80
students per semester were enrolled in the class. Each student conducted two clinical activities involving related service learning for approximately 20 to 30 hours a semester. Two activities included: (1) Interviewing an older adult aged 70 years or older who lives in the San Diego Community for 20 hours on five different days regarding individual health and healthy lifestyle issues and (2) Community Health Fair as a group function in senior centers, churches and other San Diego County health fair sites. The topics were varied based on the needs of the community and its members. These included fall and fracture risk assessment, increased public awareness of high blood pressure, depression, and other topics essential to older adults.
In the interview project, each nursing student selected an older adult and conducted
depth interviews with 12 valid assessment packets asking physical, mental and social health questions, reviewing all prescriptions, diet, and status of physical activity. During debriefing
meetings, each student identified the gaps between healthy lifestyle, developed individualized strategies targeting behavioral change by stimulating their motivation toward healthy lifestyles and providing a report to the interviewee. Students contributed significantly toward improvement of older adult health. One example is the following: Compliance of medication in older adults is challenging, in particular when the number of medications is more than 5. Students reviewed their medications and provided a medication table with the purpose, time and dosage of each medication. At times they found overlapping medications from different doctors or unnecessary medication. Through this process of community service work, students can increase their communication skills as well as empirical experience for what comprises common issues in older adults.
Second, Community Health Fairs are the basis for a group approach at diverse senior
communities with a purpose of increasing public awareness and education about common
health issues. Each semester, one to three health fairs were organized and approximately 25
students participated in the experience. When the events were scheduled, the students worked from recruitment to analysis of the results and rehearsals in mock situations. During the health fair with seniors, students prepared two forms: Assessment form for students and report form for participants (result of assessment and education materials). The assessment forms were completed and collected. Later students analyzed and presented the information at the SDSU Student Research Symposium (SRS). Five groups of students presented their reports at SRS and the Western Institute of Nursing Annual Conference. These activities bridge not only learning and practice of knowledge but also learning as a part of the research process at the undergraduate level, where the opportunity to do so is rare in nursing programs.
Education and Training
Hartford Institute Geriatric Nursing Research Scholar for Summer 2010, Hartford Institute for
Geriatric Nursing, New York University, NY.
Recipient of Summer Institute on Aging Research, National Institute on Aging (NIA), The
National Institutes of Health, Queenstown, Maryland, 2009.
“Health Literacy: Teaching Clear Communication in Geriatrics and Gerontology,” California
Geriatric Education Center, Los Angeles, CA
Trainers training by the Geriatric Nursing Education Consortium (GNEC), Faculty
Development Institute training, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN),
San Antonio, TX
PhD from University of Texas, Austin. Gerontology Portfolio and Integrated Scholarly Portfolio
MSN Seoul National University, S. Korea, Adult Nursing
BSN Seoul National University, S. Korea, Nursing
SL Course Taught
NURS 415 Community/Public Health Nursing
SL Related Student Presentation
Bone health and Calcium Supplement Intake among Adults Living in San Diego County”,
Elyssa Aguirre, Joy Gao, Mengqi Zhang, BSNc, and Young-Shin Lee, PhD, RN, 2016. Poster presentation, the 49th WIN Conference, Anaheim, CA.
“Nutritional Health Status of Homeless Veterans in San Diego” : Jenna Arguelles, BSNc,
Maricris Cruz, BSNc, Christopher Garcia, BSNc, Giyeon Han, BSNc, Young-Shin Lee PhD, RN Poster presentation, the 46th WIN Conference, Anaheim, California.
“Awareness and Treatment Related to Blood Pressure in San Diego Community” Katherine
Nicole O. Padiernos, BSNc, Jessica Salas, BSNc, Shaina Bongato, BSNc, Charlene Dela Cruz, BSNc, Young-Shin Lee, PhD, RN
“Bone Health and Acculturation of Korean-American Women” Hyeran Seo, BSNc, Yeongri
Kim, BS, RN, Young-Shin Lee, PhD, RN
“10 year Fracture Risk and Related Preventive Behavior in the Independent Living”, Jennifer
Acosta, BSN, Erin Aazmi, BSN, Rosalinda Ruezga, BSNc, Danielle Koren, BSNc, Young-Shin Lee, PhD, RN
Service Activities Related to SL
Korean-American Dementia Caregiver Support Group: Founder and facilitator of the group.
Awards and Grants Related to SL
Recipient of “Assigned Time for Exceptional Levels of Service to Students” from San Diego
State University, 2015 - 2016
John Hartford Foundation/ OHSU Hartford center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence/Western
Institute of Nursing Regional Geriatric Nursing Education Award” at the 47th Western
Institute of Nursing (WIN) Assembly, Seattle, Washington, 2014.
Funding for N415 Community Health Nursing, Service Learning projects from Undergraduate Studies, SDSU, 2017 Spring and Fall
Mini-grant for Undergraduate student research presentation, Undergraduate Studies, SDSU