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Jonathan White Named Director of Service-Learning
Bentley University has named Jonathan White, PhD its new Director of Service-Learning, replacing Edward Zlotkowski, one of the founders of Bentley’s Service-Learning Center who postponed his retirement to act as the center’s director for the past two years.
White brings to Bentley more than 20 years of experience in the field of sociology and an international reputation as a prolific writer, sought-after speaker, and an impressive career in academia as a teacher and proponent of the idea that, to be most effective in the community and beneficial to the student, service-learning must be integrated into the curriculum. White most recently taught at Bridgewater State University (BSU) where he also served for the past three years as the service-learning coordinator with responsibility for all aspects of the service-learning program. He actively collaborated with the faculty and the community at Bridgewater to integrate service-learning more deeply into the curriculum and culture of the institution.
“The search committee had the opportunity to consider a number of excellent candidates; Jonathan met and exceeded all of our expectations for a new Director of Service-Learning,” said Professor Carolyn Magid, who headed the search committee. “He has a long record of working closely with faculty, student leaders, and community members to build innovative and successful service-learning projects.”
Zlotkowski, who himself has been praised by his peers as a trailblazer in the service-learning movement, was effusive in his praise for White. “We had over 80 applicants for the position from as far away as South Africa and from very prestigious schools,” said Zlotkowski. “Jonathan has all the qualities and experiential background that we wanted in an ideal candidate. At the top of the list of requirements for the position are a respect for business as an academic area and an appreciation for the positive benefits a business perspective can bring to service-learning. Bentley is a thought-leader in advancing the national and international conversation about a new civic-business dialogue, and Jonathon is the right person to continue this work.”
As a teacher and an academic, White has devoted much of his career to service-learning, and many of his recent publishing and professional engagements have been service-learning and civic engagement-based. White co-wrote the acclaimed textbook, The Engaged Sociologist: Connecting the Classroom to the Community, the first and only introductory sociology textbook that focuses on an integrated service-learning approach. The text is currently being revised for its fourth edition. The second edition of his book, Sociologists in Action: Sociology, Social Change, and Social Justice, has just been released. White has also done extensive academic research on hunger. His book on this topic, Hungry to be Heard: Voices from a Malnourished America, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2013.
White has worked for 13 years with Free the Children, the world’s largest organization of youth helping youth through education, serving on its U.S. and International Board of Directors, a role the search committee felt will help Bentley expand its international service-learning work. Locally, White has an impressive record of working with the community on programs he initiated, most notably Friends and Mentors (FAM) for Change Program. FAM for Change partners BSU students with students identified as being “at risk” at Brockton High School in an integrated mentoring program focused on leadership, community service, and social change. White’s experience with programs like FAM will help Bentley continue and expand its many service-learning programs with the City of Waltham.
In his role as the director, White will be responsible for oversight of all of the Center’s activities, including supervising the associate director and assistant director of Academic Programs, and other key personnel. White will also foster Bentley’s nationally-recognized program that empowers student leaders to set priorities and manage university-community projects and partnerships.
In addition, White will be responsible for the annual budget and establishing strategic priorities.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.