Honors College series kicks off with lecture on service learning

Each student attending Grambling State University who enrolled in Fall 2008 or later is required to have 160 service hours to graduate. Unfortunately, many GSU students run the risk of not graduating on time because they are either unaware of this fact or wait until just before graduation to try to get the hours. 

In an effort to address this problem, the Earl Lester Cole Honors College kicked off this semester’s lecture seminars on Monday evening, with GSU’s Director of Service Learning, Dr. Rory L. Bedford educating students on the service learning requirements.

Dr. Bedford opened his presentation by thanking the Honors College for giving him the opportunity to educate persons of the service requirements. He then went on to note that GSU was recognized by The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2009 and 2011 for its service-learning program. GSU is one of two universities in Louisiana to receive this honor.

Dr. Bedford also informed students of the process involved in getting approval for service hours. He advised them that while his office may approve service hours after the student would have completed the service project, it is best if approval is sought prior to starting a project.

He also pointed out that several courses are designated as “service-learning courses,” which means that students who enroll in any these courses should receive service-learning hours upon successful completion of the course. These courses include English 101 and 102; History 101 and 104; FYE 101 and 102; Mathematics 147 and 148; HON 110; and ED 111. Students can receive 20 hours of “pure” service hours from each of these courses.

Dr. Bedford advised those present to visit his office in Charles P. Adams Hall, room 117 for an update on their service hours, as quite often, some students have more service hours than they think. He also encouraged them to pass on the word to friends and classmates, as he is eager to work with every student to ensure they meet the service-learning requirement.

Those present at the seminar were very pleased with Dr. Bedford’s presentation and expressed sincere appreciation.

The organizer of Monday’s event, Ryland Harris, was glad to have Dr. Bedford as the guest speaker so that more people could be educated about the 80 “pure” service-learning hours and 80 community service hours needed to graduate. Harris, who is an honors student and a senior Accounting major from Ruston, found Dr. Bedford’s presentation to be “enlightening.” 

Honors student RaNeshia Wimberly, a junior social work major, was pleased to be in attendance. “I really enjoyed Dr. Bedford’s presentation. I found it to be very beneficial,” said Wimberly.

Kahdija Finger, a senior Nursing major, who is also an honors student, was glad that Dr. Bedford took the time to explain the service-learning program. “He really broke it down for us,” Finger said. 

She now understands what is required and is eager to spread the word to friends.

Dr. Bedford is a native of Grambling and is married to Dr. Ellen D. Smiley, executive assistant to the president. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters degree from GSU. He also has a master’s degree from Virginia Union University, and a doctorate from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Bedford is currently working on his dissertation with the Harold Able School of Psychology in Minnesota. He has published five literary works and is the pastor of Starlight Baptist Church in Swartz. 

The Honors College lecture seminars continue on Feb. 18 in Adams Hall, Room 212. The guest speakers will be Dr. King Godwin, Head of the Theatre Department; and Dr. Patricia Johnson, interim head of Curriculum and Instruction.