The university defines critical thinking as
by observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a reflection of and guide to belief and action. (2012 Quality Enhancement Plan)
The Francis Center for Servant Leadership is a conduit for marrying the principles of servant leadership and the academic exercise associated with critical thinking to offer opportunities for students to engage in real-
world learning. Service-Learning is one way to deliver this engaged content. Pfeiffer embraces the definition of Service Learning posited by the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (which is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service):
teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. (http://www.servicelearning.org/what-is-service-learning-)
Center tracked 33 courses with a service component taught by 19 graduate and undergraduate faculty members in 11 different departments and programs. Francis Center staff members document all courses that contain a service component. Some reporting agencies stipulate that a Service-Learning course must include at least 15 hours of direct service, while other organizations do not recognize such a requirement in a Service-Learning designation. Francis Center staff members collect service-hour data for all courses and separate the sections that include 15 hours of service or more when reporting needs dictate a distinction.
Pfeiffer faculty and staff stay abreast of the best practices and latest trends in Service-Learning by participating in the professional development opportunities afforded by the institution’s relationship with the North Carolina Campus Compact.
Due to its long-standing relationship with the Bonner Foundation of Princeton, N.J., the institution has adopted the Bonner Community Partnership Model”:
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching offers the following definition of community engagement:
Francis Center Community Partners
Consistent with Pfeiffer University's commitment to developing effective servant leaders, students have many opportunities to engage in meaningful service. Community partners are agencies and organizations in the local area with which the Francis Center for Servant Leadership has built a strong, mutually beneficial relationship including long-term student volunteer placements and weekend service opportunities. We are always looking to build new relationships with community partners for Drop-In Service events on campus, weekend service events, or long-term volunteer placements for students.
Dan Nicholas Park
Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary
Festival in the Park
The Homeplace Rest & Retirement Home
Men's Shelter of Charlotte
Stanly Community Christian Ministries
Stanly County Museum
Wings of Eagles Ranch
Dan Nicholas Park (Salisbury, N.C.)
Dan Nicholas Park, run by the Rowan County Parks & Recreation Department, was made possible by a 1968 gift of 330 acres of land by Mr. Dan Nicholas, a local entrepreneur and philanthropist. The park itself does not charge for visiting, but there are some areas of the park where a small charge is necessary (including paddle boats, Rowan Wildlife Adventures, and the gem mine).
Pfeiffer and Dan Nicholas partner for some of the park's special weekend events, include seasonal festivals and their Earth Day celebration. The Pfeiffer community also helps with special cleanups and maintenance of the park.
Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary (Salisbury, N.C.)
Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary (FFAS) is an animal rescue group formed for the sole purpose of starting an animal sanctuary in Rowan County. FFAS's vision is to have a safe place for abused and abandoned dogs and cats, while providing health care, spaying/neutering, protection, warmth, care, and love while awaiting adoption. FFAS is a 501 C (3) nonprofit organization.
Pfeiffer's work with Faithful Friends includes weekend service events where students socialize with the dogs and cats at the shelter (walking, playing, etc.) as well as general cleaning and maintenance for the organization. Long-term volunteers also assist with web updates and the pet adoption process.
Festival in the Park/Kings Drive Art Walk (Charlotte, N.C.)
Since 1964, Festival in the Park has been bringing good music, good art and good times to Charlotteans and visitors from around the world. This fun filled event is designed to promote and stimulate interest in the arts. It provides the opportunity for all to see, hear, and learn from over 150 artists and crafts people who actively demonstrate and display their art. Nearly a thousand entertainers provide free ongoing performances at the main band shell and many stages surrounding it.
The Pfeiffer community helps support the annual Festival in the Park and Kings Drive Arts Walk by sending volunteers to help at each event at information booths and volunteer check-in points. By helping with these arts festivals every year, Pfeiffer students and staff also have a chance to see local and national artists and a variety of art forms.
The Homeplace Rest & Retirement Home (Albemarle, N.C.)
The Homeplace is a family-owned and run retirement home for women that provides all their needs including home-cooked meals, a professional hair dresser, exercise and entertainment.
Pfeiffer and The Homeplace have built a partnership to make the lives of residents as comfortable and fun as possible. Pfeiffer students help with yard work, maintenance, crafts and entertainment for the residents while socializing during weekend service events. Pfeiffer's nursing program also works closely with The Homeplace for practical experiences.
Horizon Bay of Concord (Concord, N.C.)
Horizon Bay offers all the amenities of home without the work for seniors in the Concord area, with a special focus on care for residents affected by Alzheimer's and dementia.
Pfeiffer works with Horizon Bay to provide fun activities for the residents there, including crafts and raised-bed gardening during weekend service events through a partnership with the Learning Center, the Francis Center and the Nursing Club.
Men's Shelter of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
The Men's Shelter is dedicated to providing safe emergency shelter while working to end homelessness for each man. Their vision is to serve as the catalyst for systemic change to end homelessness in our community.
Pfeiffer assists the Men's Shelter by preparing and serving lunch to men during weekend service events.
Stanly Community Christian Ministries (Albemarle, N.C.)
Stanly Community Christian Ministry is a non-profit, ecumenical organization supported by local churches. The mission of the ministry is in keeping with the command of Christ to provide assistance to the needy and homeless of our community through an Assistance Center, a Clothing Closet and two Community Tables.
Pfeiffer and SCCM have built a partnership around serving those in need across Stanly County. Pfeiffer students and staff help beautify SCCM's facilities during weekend service projects as well as helping with the food pantry and soup kitchens through long-term volunteer placements. Pfeiffer and SCCM also partner for Angel Tree every holiday season, when the entire Pfeiffer community comes together to buy Christmas presents for children in need and then has a holiday party that features music, crafts, activities and even a visit from Santa!
Stanly County Museum (Albemarle, N.C.)
The Stanly County Museum was established to safeguard the objects of Stanly County's heritage. With so many different cultures and catalysts creating history in this â€œland between the rivers,â€ the Stanly County Museum has a unique collection of artifactsâ€”from examples of Native American art and pottery to restored pioneer homes.
During weekend service events, Pfeiffer students help beautify the grounds of historical homes and the museum itself. Long-term volunteer placements with the museum also work with exhibit planning and educational programs.
Trinity Place â€“ formerly Lutheran Home (Albemarle, N.C.)
Trinity Place strives to be a true home, a place of comfort, security and belonging. Staff provide both quality care and quality of life. Meaningful activities bring residents, staff, and volunteers together in a spirit of fun and fellowship. It is committed to meeting the unique medical, emotional, and spiritual needs of each resident, while nurturing independence and self-worth.
The Pfeiffer community regularly spends weekend service opportunities socializing and doing crafts and other special activities with the residents at Trinity Place. Long-term volunteers placed at there also help with daily exercise programs and other regular activities for the residents.
Wings of Eagles Ranch (Concord, N.C.)
Wings of Eagles Ranch is a non-profit (501)(c)(3) organization which specializes in a practice known as therapeutic horseback riding. Therapeutic horses serve as unique vehicles for exercising one's body and mind. Horseback riding provides physical, mental and emotional rewards. Riding motivates children and adults with learning challenges to increase their levels of concentration, patience and discipline.
Volunteers from Pfeiffer have served with Wings of Eagles through weekend service opportunities. This includes improving the ranch, helping with special events, and long-term volunteer placements in which students are trained to assist special-needs riders. Wings of Eagles Ranch also has a special relationship with the Center for Outdoor Leadership and hosts weekend-long service and outdoor experiences for the Pfeiffer community.
Francis Student Leadership Team
The Francis Student Leadership Team (FSLT) was formed to assist Francis Center staff with community engagement in the Pfeiffer community and beyond. Under the supervision of the director of service scholars, these six students have the power to make decisions about planning, implementation, tracking and reflection. They are also encouraged to lead programs and activities they have planned. Members of the FSLT also participate in at least one of the Francis Center's service scholar programs and must apply to be on the FSLT.
Alternative Break Coordinator: This position plans at least 3 alternative breaks per year (fall, winter and spring) and assists with all aspects of the trip, including trip design, recruitment, training, issue research, and reflection.
Community Partner Coordinator: This position coordinates relationships with local and national nonprofit and governmental agencies to organize service opportunities for the Pfeiffer community, including weekend service projects and drop-in service events.
Service Data Coordinator: The position is tasked with collecting data relating to service and community engagement in order to track and assess Pfeiffer' impact on the community.
Social Justice Programming Coordinator: This coordinator plans and implements the Francis Center's three social justice weeks: Campus Week of Dialogue in September, Hunger and Homelessness Week in November, and Servant Leadership Week in February. These weeks explore social justice issues relevant to the Pfeiffer community.
Social Media/Publications Coordinator: This FSLT member assists in managing all of the Francis Center's social media platforms and technology needs as well as press releases from the University relating to the Francis Center's activities.
Special Projects Coordinator: This position assists Francis Center staff in developing and implementing large projects that promote servant leadership and/or social justice issues to the Pfeiffer community. Currently, the Special Projects Coordinator is responsible for the Angel Tree program.