The Good Citizen – Welcome to ACC’s Premier Service Learning Center


Rashid Mohamed, Arapahoe Pinnacle Reporter

“The grapes are natural and organic, the cake is not – but it’s pretty and purple,” declared Diana Hornick, as the enthusiastic crowd began to fill the room.

The delightful-looking cake might have done a sweet job of luring the folks in, but they cheerfully stayed for the informative and joyous occasion that was held last Wednesday afternoon on the Littleton campus.

Service Learning Center Coordinator and Communications Professor Diana Hornick coronated the event by proudly announcing the official launch of ACC’s first-ever Service Learning Center.

Present that afternoon was the Leadership Team, made up of affiliated faculty and administrative staff, whose combined efforts resulted in this successful inauguration.  ACC President Dr. Doyle, also an integral member of the Team, wasn’t able to attend due to board meetings she had throughout the day.

“Up until now Colorado has not had a Community-based Learning Center, and we [at ACC] made membership happen in less than a year!” exclaimed Stephanie Schooley, Executive Director of Campus Compact and an active member of the Leadership Team.

ACC recently joined Campus Compact, a membership organization of Higher Education Institutions across Colorado and Wyoming devoted to promoting civic learning and elevating higher education engagement in the region.  By providing resources such as grants and opportunities for faculty and staff to follow best practice methods, Campus Compact helps students and staff become positively effective in the community at large.

Service Learning as a pedagogic form of instruction has, in fact, been around since the sixties, with its tenets initially developed in the early 1900s by American Social Studies Instructor Arthur William Dunn, who asserted: “The good citizen can be defined as a person who habitually conducts himself with proper regard for the welfare of the communities of which he is a member and who is active and intelligent in his fellow members to that end.”

By incorporating social civic activity as part of his Social Studies curriculum, he encouraged his students to identify problems in their communities for which they then devised effective and sustainable solutions.

It is important to note, however, that there is a difference between Community Service and Service Learning, as Diana pointed out during her presentation.  Although both incorporate an altruistic component by engaging in the community, Service Learning places equal emphasis on learning as it does on service.  The idea is for students to gain knowledge skills and self-awareness, to make a difference in their community and to eventually be better prepared for when they embark upon their careers.

This is especially significant given that many hiring managers today are increasingly employing candidates with prior work experience.

Ms. Hornick, who is known for her volunteer work and for being an animal advocate, went on to explain, “The idea is, if faculty and staff get involved in volunteering, well then students will emulate this good will.”

Until Diana  is able to secure a more accommodating venue, the Service Learning Center will initially be conducted out of her office as well as from the Student Life Office.

If you’d like to get in touch with Diana to learn more about this fascinating philanthropic enterprise, visit the Service Learning Center Website at:

ACC’s Service Learning page
Campus Compact of the Mountain West