2012-2013 Annual Report


As MIAD’s Service Learning Program concludes its twelfth year, we continue to build our relationships with our community partners and to make substantial contributions to many different sectors of the southeastern Wisconsin community. Every year we get many compliments from partner agencies on the creativity and dedication of MIAD students.

Our student’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design remains a member of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The Honor Roll recognizes colleges and universities that support exemplary community service programs and best practices in campus-community partnerships.

MIAD distinguishes itself as a leader in art and design colleges by being one of the first to implement a required Service Learning Program comprising intensive courses and a minimum of 35 hours of community service per student.

During the period of time covered by this report (Summer 2012, Fall 2012 and Spring 2013), students worked approximately 4,700 hours in southeastern Wisconsin nonprofit agencies. According to research done by the Independent Sector Organization, the value of volunteer time in 2012 is estimated at 22.14 per hour. This means that over the last year, MIAD students contributed over $104,056.89 in volunteer labor to improve their local communities.

Aside from the impact on the community, the value of the program is in what if offers to each of the students who participate.  Service learning adds a rich, hands-on component to their education. It gives them the opportunity to experience and discuss the many ways in which individuals can make a positive impact in the communities they are a part of. MIAD students are discovering previously untapped skills and revealing new components of their personalities.

As the college seeks ways to distinguish its strengths, we find that our students are increasingly making use of their service learning experiences to guide their professional endeavors.

One example was a project by Tyler Potnek, who was a MIAD Painting Major at the time of his service. Potnek decided to hold a painting class in order to create a painting with interested residents of The Arboretum retirement home following his service there for his Service Learning course.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen asked about the response of the residents he stated, “Every time I got there most of them were already sitting there to get the good seats closer to the painting! They were literally at the edge of their seats! At first, most of them were apprehensive to paint … because they thought that they would mess it up or they didn’t think they were good enough, but I just encouraged them to try it because there is no such thing as a mistake in a painting.”

But the residents weren’t the only ones who learned as a result of the experience. Potnek says that participating in this project allowed him to recognize that some of the things we take for granted are the biggest part of their day. “You don’t really realize how little visitations they get, even from family members.” Having someone there just to listen was very important to them. After his required service hours, he continued to visit. “You get to know people,” he said. “It’s hard not to keep coming back.”

The finished painting, along with photos of the residents and Tyler working with them, are now hanging in the front lobby of the building.

Above Right: MIAD Service Learning student Tyler Potnek demonstrates painting techniques to residents of The Arboretum.

The Service Learning  Course

HS380 is an interdisciplinary course with a service-learning component and is designed as the synthesis of a student’s four-year humanities and social science experience. Through intensive reading, writing, research and oral assignments, students analyze social issues and topics in order to evaluate how different groups and communities function and work towards resolution. The Service Learning course topic changes periodically and is developed and taught by different members of the faculty. In addition to guiding students through their individual service experiences, each instructor introduces the students to important concepts in the humanities and the sciences. In the past year, the following courses were taught:

“Call to Service: Building Communities”

Julia Kirchner

In this section of HS380 we will be examining how communities are constructed in different ways. These constructions include a physical and geographic form in space, as well as social and cultural constructions of belief systems. The way that ideas are formed and assembled can result in ethnic enclaves, economic class differences or other community variations that may distribute resources unfairly. We will be examining how people see themselves and others through their physical, social, and cultural locations. By doing this, we will consider how the constructed webs of relationships in social life work to give some people privilege and others disadvantage. We will look at how communities break down when people in different spatial and cultural locations are not equal participants in social life. We will discuss government and business policies related to the causes of various problems, as well as consider the role of the individual in creating or resolving his or her own personal difficulties.

We will explore possibilities for solutions to social problems through community involvement by individuals and service agencies. As we do this, we will analyze the ethical questions raised by the each individual’s constructed social position, and what that means when defining the concepts of service and altruism. Through our reading, class discussion, and service experiences we will explore issues of moral concern raised by the ambiguities associated with defining and attempting to resolve contemporary American social problems.

Finally, we will be asking questions about how each of us as individuals fit into the larger picture of social life, and what responsibilities we each have to others around us. By the end of the class, we will have considered various ways to reconstruct our society to make changes that could empower both others and ourselves.

“Call to Service: Anthropology of Animals”

Julia Kirchner

In this course we will be examining the connections between humans and other animals. This will include discussions of the role that animals played in shaping human evolution, how animal domestication changed animals and how it changed human culture, and the effect of companion and therapy animals on human health and psychology. The course will also discuss ethical decisions regarding the use of animals for food and other products, the use of animals in research facilities, and the exhibition of animals in zoos. Finally, we will cover the symbolic meaning of animals in visual art, dance, and folklore. The service learning component will encourage students to consider the many ways in which animals permeate human culture in both obvious and subtle ways.

Extended course description: Humans have lived with animals from the beginning of our species. We have been shaped by the animals that hunted our ancestors — and the animals that our ancestors hunted. Eventually we learned which animals could be selectively bred to live in our settlements and to act as sentinels, draft animals, sources of meat, milk, leather, fur, and companionship. These supportive services, especially with dogs, have expanded today to include helping the blind, deaf, or physically impaired, and sniffing out drugs, bombs, or humans trapped in rubble. Today we are experiencing new challenges in our relationships with animals as factory farming, pharmaceutical and surgical testing, and the transmission of new diseases from animals to humans have become social issues. In addition, we are responsible for increasing endangerments and extinctions of animals due to habitat destruction and over- harvesting. At the same time, scientific studies are beginning to prove the physical and psychological benefits of regular contact with nature and of relationships with pets or therapy animals. Animals have become something to be “managed” not just in agriculture, but through Species Survival Plans, spay/neuter programs, wildlife management, and pest-control services. At the same time that animal management has become a contemporary science issue, animal symbolism continues to captivate humans, as it has for thousands of years, through visual art, story, metaphor, and religion. We will discuss the complex ramifications of each of these connections throughout the course.

“Topics in Social Sciences: Education in America”

Janna Wrench

This 4-credit course develops an analysis and critique of the purpose and effect of schooling, explored historically and through an examination of current issues in elementary and secondary education. Using communication and critical reflection, this section of HS 380 conducts this critique around the following issues:

  • History and Philosophy of Education•
  • Interpretive Critical Lenses
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Classism & Schooling
  • Culture & Schooling
  • Gender & Schooling
  • Racism & Schooling
  • Specific Policies
  • Stratification: Testing/Tracking
  • Curriculum & Instruction for Multicultural Students
  • School Reform Strategies

As our democratic nation becomes more diverse, a critical examination of the history and current practice of compulsory education, grounded in social critique, benefits all students.  Teaching, therefore, is a process requiring critical social inquiry, critique, and reflection. Developing that inquiry toward schooling, a concept of teaching for social justice, and level of activism to create meaningful educational change is central to this course. At the end of this course, students will have a better understanding of the complexity of schooling in today’s increasingly diverse society, of teaching for social justice, and of engaging in the activism required for meaningful educational change.

“Health and Justice—Confronting Physical and Mental Health Challenges in Today’s World”

Donna Tanzer

Students in Health and Social Justice will study global, national, community, and individual healthcare needs and concerns through readings, lectures, DVDs, and class and group discussions as well as through primary and secondary research. As U.S. healthcare reform legislation continues to dominate the political arena, this issue will offer an important source of investigation and discussion. Students will also explore the effects of physical and mental illness on social wellbeing and a productive citizenry; in particular, they will consider the impact of available healthcare among marginalized populations, both globally and in the United States. Students will examine and discuss public health issues such as global epidemics (e.g., AIDS and tuberculosis), drug and alcohol abuse, immunization, and nutrition. The course focus on mental health and justice will include such topics as bullying, stress, and mental health treatment in prisons. Class discussions will foster students’ ability to make connections between their service placements and mental and physical health.

“Self Interest and Community”

Leslie Fedorchuk

 “I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.”

Alexis De Tocqueville

Today we can look see a level of individual wealth and a conspicuous consumption of consumer goods that has grown exponentially over past several generations. At the same time the symptoms of our collective impoverishment are all around us – particularly in some of our urban areas. Broken infrastructures, failed and struggling public school systems, the unemployed, uninsured – all suggest, as Tony Judt has written, a collective failure of will.

How do we talk about this as a community? When our public discourse has become polarized and bitter – where do we begin to find our way back to a place where we know how to talk about the way to run our societies?

In this course we will examine the ideas behind the collective undertakings that make a community viable and strong. We will use our own community, Milwaukee, as a stepping off point for this study. The service experiences of each student will become the beginning of self-directed “case studies” into different aspects of how a community must cooperate for common advantage and the consequences of that not happening.

2012-2013 Service Learning  Placements

MIAD currently has more than 200 community partners throughout the Milwaukee area. There are many organizations with varying missions, and the faculty, supported by the Academic Service Learning Program Assistant, work with students to identify placement opportunities that will provide further enrichment of the curricular topics being explored in the course.

Following the name of each community partner listed below is the number of students who worked at that placement during the past academic year:

Artists Working in Education, Inc.   3

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum   1

Brewing Grounds for Change   2

Central Bark   1

Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort   1

Core El Centro   3

Danceworks, Inc.   1

Daystar, Inc.   2

Discovery World   19

Dispensa de la Paz   1

East Troy Manor   1

Eichers Kids   1

Emmanuel Lutheran Church Food Pantry   1

Gaenslen School   1

Grand Avenue Club   1

Growing Power   5

Guest House of Milwaukee   1

Habitat For Humanity Restore   1

Happy Endings No Kill Cat Shelter   4

Hartford Union High School   1

Hartland Terrace II   1

Havenwoods State Forest   1

Hmong American Friendship Association   1

Hope House   1

Hunger Task Force   1

IndependenceFirst   1

International Learning Center   1

Jacob’s Well Solutions   1

Jewish Home and Care Center   2

John Michael Kohler Arts Center   1

La Causa Crisis Nursery  10

LEGO Kids Fest   1

Lifestriders   1


Manitowoc Humane Society   1

Marquette University Student Group Tutoring   1

Marquette University Child Care Center  2

Menominee Language & Culture Commission   1

MIAD   1

MIAD Service Learning Classroom   1

MIAD – SGC International Events   1

Milwaukee Art Museum   3

Milwaukee County Historical Society   2

Milwaukee Bicycle Collective   1

Milwaukee Film Festival   2

Milwaukee LGBT Community Center   9

Milwaukee Public Museum   1

Milwaukee Rescue Mission   1

MSOE Library   1

Muskego High School Arts   1

Next Door Foundation   1

Nicolet High School   1

Northwest Catholic Athletics   1

Pan African Community Association   1

Redline Milwaukee   4

Rhine Center Vegetable Club   1

Riverwest Co-op   16

Safe Babies Healthy Families, Inc.   1

Salvation Army   1

Second Hand Purrs   1

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center   3

Springdale Vegetable Farm   1

St. Catherine’s School   1

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton   1

St. John the Baptist Catholic School   1

Student Veterans of America: UW-Milwaukee Chapter   1

Summerfield United Methodist Church   1

Sweet Water Organics   4

Tamarack Waldorf School   1

The Arboretum   1

The Cathedral Center   1

The Gathering of Southeast Wisconsin   3

Three Harbors Council Boy Scouts of America   1

Urban Ecology Center   12

Walker’s Point Center for the Arts   1

Willow Creek Ranch, Inc.   1

Wisconsin Conservatory   1


Annual Comparisons:

(By Academic Year, Number of Students, Total Hours, and Dollar Value of Labor)

  • 2001-2002: 79 students, 4,878 hours, $79,365
  • 2002-2003: 116 students, 7,000 hours, $117,180
  • 2003-2004: 110 students, 6,600 hours, $115,830
  • 2004-2005: 123 students, 6,200 hours, $111,848
  • 2005-2006: 126 students, 6,300 hours, $97,000
  • 2006-2007: 127 students, 3,080 hours, $57,800
  • 2007-2008: 149 students, 3,821 hours, $74,548
  • 2008-2009: 131 students, 3,480 hours, $70,470
  • 2009-2010: 128 students, 3,937 hours, $82,086
  • 2010-2011: 177 students, 5,667 hours, $121,047
  • 2011-2012: 148 students, 5,175 hours, $112,763
  • 2012-2013: 156 students, 4,700 hours, $104, 057
A total of 156 students enrolled in HS 380 over the 2012-2013 academic year.

MIAD students served with 77 placements in our communities during the 2012-2013 year.

37% of MIAD students served in placements related to animals, nature or the outdoors.

29% of MIAD students served in placements where they worked directly with children.

5.8% of MIAD students served in placements where they worked directly with people who were homeless.

17% of students served in placements related to health care and/or social justice.

14% of students served in placements related to the arts or museums. MIAD Service Learners spent 4,700 hours volunteering.

MIAD students contributed the equivalent of $104,056.89 during the 2012-2013 academic year.*

Most Popular Placements

The placements that hosted 5 or more students this year are as follows:

  • Discovery World
  • Growing Power
  • La Causa Crisis Nursery
  • Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
  • Riverwest Co-op
  • Urban Ecology Center

Highlights of Service Related Events:

ServiceLearning Symposium

Friday, March 29th, 2013, the twelfth annual Service Learning Symposium was held at the Todd Wehr Auditorium. This time around we invited Carrie Fitzgerald, Senior Policy Advisor for Health at  First Focus in Washington, D.C. FItzgerald advocates on behalf of children and families to make them a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. She began, as do our students, with community service. Then, she decided to build a career around it. She spoke not only to her own work, but to how compassion should be an essential component of everyone’s work. We were honored to have her celebrate community service with us at this year’s Symposium.

MIAD has been involved in many different ways in the past year with GE Healthcare and the Compassion Project. Directly, some students have been considering the specifics of how to assist people who have breast cancer through the labyrinth of their diagnosis, treatment and aftercare. Indirectly, students have been considering the idea of compassion and compassionate action. What does that mean – and what might it mean to the citizen who is also an artist or designer?

Service Learning Award

At the symposium, ID Senior Sean Simmons, was honored with the Service Learning Award for going above and beyond the required service work in HU380. Sean is a 2013 graduate who had also built the idea of “compassionate action” into his Senior Project. This year’s honoree for exemplary service, Simmons completed his service at Sweet Water Organics and was integral in the  Compassion Project.

Vice President of Academic Affairs David Martin even stated, “Sean has been a leader in the Compassion Project that has involved over 300 students…. You are not only doing good in the MIAD community, you are impacting the broader community.”

Looking at compassion as a driver for his future, Simmons noted, “I want to be someone people can talk to. I have such an interest in caring for people thanks to my family.”

 Ongoing  Dynamism  of Service Learning: Our Service Learning Website.

As an acknowledged strength of the MIAD learning experience, we continue to work on finding ways to expand the understanding of service learning and its importance in the community.

We know that MIAD faculty, staff, students, and alumni are involved in community service, and students’ service learning experiences inform and enhance their studio work. We feel our partners are an integral component of providing this learning experience to our students – we truly see this endeavor as a partnership. MIAD has the capacity and the commitment to stay engaged with its identified constituencies and communities. How better to profile this than in a website that links all involved parties?

The goals of the site are to provide direct links to our partner’s websites, and show the collaborations and highlights of the program.

Service Learning continues to be a valuable part of educating MIAD students in active citizenship and community participation. The program introduces the public to MIAD in a positive and accessible manner and showcases our students’ valuable and diverse talents.

Our Service Learning program is unique, because it connects creative work, academic rigor and activism in the community.

To further showcase the excellence of this program, we plan to design promotional materials to handout within the community and to potential students and their families.

We are grateful to our supporters for providing students with the opportunity to experience transformation through service learning.


*Pay equivalency for volunteer work used to calculate monetary value of MIAD’s service learners was based on information taken from the website cited below. The site states, “The estimated value of volunteer time for 2012 is $22.14 per hour.” (www.independentsector.org)



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