Annual Report 2013-2014


As MIAD’s Service Learning Program concludes its thirteenth 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 2013, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014), students worked approximately 4,021 hours in southeastern Wisconsin nonprofit agencies. According to research done by the Independent Sector Organization, the value of volunteer time in 2013 is estimated at $22.55 per hour. This means that over the last year, MIAD students contributed over $90,673.55 in volunteer labor to improve their local communities.

Aside from the impact on the community, the value of the program is in what it 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.

A notable example from the past year was the work of Shannon Nelson, who took the Service Learning course “Compassionate Participation and Community Public Health” during the Fall 2013 semester. Shannon served at both the Mitchell Park Domes and Hope House to fulfill the community service component, and continued to serve at these organizations even after the course was over. At the Domes, Shannon worked with their Interpretive Educator, Paula Zamiatowski, to provide drawing lessons to children during their established reading time. As a final project for the Service Learning course, Shannon and Paula came up with the idea of an internship, during which they would collaborate to create a children’s book to later be used as a resource for youth classes. This soon became a reality. Paula determined the content of the book, while Shannon provided the illustrations.

Chrysanthemum children’s book illustration by Shannon Nelson.

In her coursework, Shannon reflected on her service,

This class pushed me outside of my comfort zone, bringing me into new areas and neighborhoods I may have never explored if I hadn’t taken it. Being a part of and doing something for the community is helping me feel more part of the city which I’ve lived in the past few years, and it’s definitely difficult to feel that way when college living arrangements are so temporary with living in the dorms, and renting apartments and houses – we move so much as college students…

When asked how this experience has informed what she would like to do in the future, Shannon stated,

Maybe art therapy – I never really expected myself to go into that field. Hope House was hard. I had to think and communicate differently, thinking about the kids’ needs. I’ve thought more about things that I take for granted that other people don’t have, being empathetic, and being able to listen and be there for them. I hadn’t volunteered before Service Learning. I want to volunteer in the future at both places.

The Service Learning Course:

HU380 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:

Building Community

Julia Kirchner

In this section of HU380 we will be examining how communities are constructed in different ways. Like urban anthropologists we will consider the three perspectives of physical structure, systems of social organization, and collections of attitudes and ideas. Our primary focus will be on how different spatial and cultural locations could be positively constructed as “diversity” or negatively constructed as inequality. Through our service learning component each student will use participant observation to research and discover how one non-profit agency tries to reinforce the idea of active community building.

Compassionate Participation and Community Public Health

Leslie Fedorchuk

This section of the course will examine the community aspect of the changes needed to promote the public’s health, beginning with an examination of the various definitions of “community” and the processes by which we seek to understand the structure and characteristics of different types of communities. An appreciation of community similarities and differences is necessary to deter a belief in one-size-fits-all interventions. We will learn to recognize that no matter how outsiders may view a community as poor or neglected, we can always find strengths and capacities for improvement. Identifying community capacities and resources is the first step in facilitating community change. We will examine the concept of participation in an effort to see how different levels of involvement may affect sustainability of community change efforts. Students will apply this knowledge to both their service placement and the Compassion Project research and practice.

Topics in Social Sciences: Education in America

Janna Wrench

This 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 HU380 conducts this critique around the following issues: history and philosophy of education, interpretative critical lenses, and specific policies.

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.

Plant Yourself: Connecting Food, Society, and Agriculture

Mark Caldwell

This section of HU380 will utilize sociology as the basis for understanding issues surrounding food. Foundational theories and supplemental readings on culture, technology, organizations, the family, religion, and economics and the state will underpin our understanding of how food systems operate. This course addresses these social aspects of food production and consumption based on a historically situated approach, which shows this relationship through information known about particular periods. In addition to learning about food systems from a macro-social perspective, you will also personally engage your community and ideas at the micro-social level. Involvement will include developing real solutions to global and local food issues by situating yourselves as actors within various positions of government, finance, and farming.

2013-2014 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:

About Face Media 1
ACLU of Milwaukee 1
Artists Working in Education 5
Audubon High School 1
Bettendorf Family Museum 1
Big Brothers, Big Sisters 1
Books For Kids: Next Door Foundation 3
Brewer’s Marathon for the MACC Fund 1
Brown Deer School District 1
Center Street Free Space 1
CORE/El Centro 2
Discovery World 8
Donna Lexa Art Centers 1
Eco-Justice Center 1
Express Yourself Milwaukee 1
Forest Home Avenue School 1
Garland Elementary School 1
Geneva Lake Conservancy 1
Grand Avenue Club 1
Growing Power 5
Habitat for Humanity 2
Happy Endings No Kill Shelter 1
Hoffman Honey Farm 1
Hope House 4
Humboldt Park School 1
Hunger Task Force 2
IndependenceFirst 1
International Learning Center 2
La Causa 1
Life Church 1
Loeys-Dietz Syndrome Foundation 1
Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission 8
Marquette Childcare Center 2
Marquette University Theater 1
Menomonee Falls Ben Franklin Elementary 1
Milwaukee Achiever Program 1
Milwaukee Art Museum 1
Milwaukee Catholic Home 7
Milwaukee LGBT Community Center 6
Milwaukee Wave 1
Mitchell Park Domes 1
Mt. Zion Wings of Glory Youth Programs 1
Regency Senior Communities 1
Riverwest Co-op 8
Riverwest Film & Video 4
Sojourner Truth House 1
St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care 2
St. Sava Orthodox School 2
St. Vincent de Paul 3
Sunrise Senior Apartments 1
The Gathering 1
The Pitch Project 1
Trowbridge Street Elementary 1
TRUE Skool 1
Urban Ecology Center 12
UWM Childcare Center 1
UWM Greenhouse Facilities 4
UWM Korean Christian Student Ministry 1
Victory Christian Academy 1
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum 1
Vulture Space (Bicycle Repair Shop) 10
Walker’s Point Center for the Arts 2
YMCA Metro Milwaukee 2


Annual Comparisons:

Year Number of Sections Offered Number of Placements Number of SL Students Total Hours Total $ Value of Labor
2001-2002 5 25 79 4,878 $79,365
2002-2003 7 47 116 7,000 $117,180
2003-2004 6 54 110 6,600 $115,830
2004-2005 7 50 123 6,200 $111,848
2005-2006 7 54 126 6,300 $97,000
2006-2007 7 45 127 3,080 $57,800
2007-2008 7 62 149 3,821 $74,548
2008-2009 8 52 131 3,480 $70,470
2009-2010 6 58 128 3,937 $82,086
2010-2011 10 89 177 5,667 $121,047
2011-2012 9 78 148 5,175 $112,763
2012-2013 9 77 156 4,700 $104,057
2013-2014 9 146 157 4,021 $90,674


A total of 157 students enrolled in HS 380 over the 2013-2014 academic year.

  • MIAD students served with 146 placements in our community during the 2013-2014 year.
  • 37% of MIAD students served in placements related to animals, nature or the outdoors.
  • 17% of students served in placements where they worked directly with children.
  • 3% of students served in placements where they worked directly with people who were homeless.
  • 23% of students served in placements related to health care and/or social justice.
  • 10% of students served in placements related to the arts or museums.
  • MIAD service learners spent 4,021 hours volunteering.
  • MIAD students contributed the equivalent of $90,673.55 during the 2013-2014 academic year.*

Most Popular Placements

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

  • Artists Working in Education
  • Discovery World
  • Growing Power
  • Milwaukee Catholic Home
  • Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
  • Riverwest Co-op
  • Urban Ecology Center
  • Vulture Space

Highlights of Service Related Events:

Service Learning Symposium

On Friday, March 21st, 2014, MIAD welcomed Alums Mary Osmundsen and Jeanette Arellano as guest speakers to its thirteenth annual Service Learning Symposium. Both had emerged from a visual arts background, and have both made great strides in impacting the Milwaukee community.

Left to right: Chelsea Beiler, Jeanette Arellano, Mary Osmundsen (

Left to right: Chelsea Beiler, Jeanette Arellano, Mary Osmundsen (

Jeanette Arellano is currently the Latino Outreach and Education Coordinator with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Greater Milwaukee. She assists the Latino Community by informing them on strategies to avoid the stigmas of mental illness through a series of creative presentations, workshops and programs.

Jeanette’s passion for nonprofits has kept her involved for 7 years with programs such as NAMI’s Creativity Heals, Public Allies, Arts at Large and the Sherman Neighborhood Arts Initiative Program, Artists Working in Education (A.W.E.) and Rogers Street Academy After School Arts Program. Jeanette currently participates in the Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition, sits as a student representative on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union, and on the board of the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts. In 2013 she was recognized as Wisconsin’s first Bilingual Wellness Recovery Action Plan certified facilitator. Jeanette received her BFA in Integrated Studio Arts from MIAD in 2010.

Mary Osmundsen is Program Officer at the Helen Bader Foundation (HBF), managing its $1.5 million in grants annually for stronger out-of-school time opportunities for Milwaukee youth. Prior to HBF, Osmundsen was the Program Director at Artists Working in Education (A.W.E.), managing artist-in-residence programs in urban schools across the city of Milwaukee as well as Assistant Director of Admissions at MIAD, specializing in recruiting and counseling transfer and non-traditional students. She holds an MFA in Intermedia from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a BFA in photography from MIAD. Osmundsen is a working artist with a studio in the Fifth Ward. Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally in France, Germany, and China.

Service Learning Award

Along with the guest panel, MIAD senior, Chelsea Beiler, received the Service Learning Award for her outstanding work with birds of prey at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

About her service and placement she wrote,

My service experience has only confirmed for me that our community is extremely important to our children. The way we bring them up is what they are going to know, and what they are going to teach their children. It also confirmed for me that there are individuals within the community who work very hard to change things and make things better for individuals who have been offered less than some of us.           

During her time with Schlitz Audubon, Chelsea enthusiastically investigated her love of these birds, and the connections between art and science, which she intends to further pursue through scientific illustration.

Community Partner Award

The Service Learning Department also gave out an award for a community partner providing particularly wonderful service in conjunction with the student award. At this year’s symposium we honored the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. Ellen Schneiderman, a raptor specialist and educator at the organization, accepted the award on its behalf.

Ongoing Dynamism of Service Learning: Our Website and New Partners:

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 partners’ websites, and show the collaborations and highlights of the program.

Each year, MIAD welcomes new partners to its Service Learning program, either brought to us by students, or upon the request of the organizations themselves. This year, some of the new community partners who joined us and were particularly successful in providing student placements were the CORE/El Centro Garden & Nutrition Program, Riverwest Film & Video, St. Sava Orthodox School, and the UWM Greenhouse Facilities. There are more new partnerships in progress in which MIAD is looking forward to participating in upcoming semesters.

In Conclusion

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.

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 2013 is $22.55 per hour.” (


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