News Release

Published on Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Western Technical College’s involvement in the American Association of Community College’s Broadening Horizons Through Service-Learning grant was recently highlighted in the AACC publication, An American Mosaic – Service Learning Stories. Service-learning is a method of instruction that combines service to the community and classroom instruction with a focus on critical, reflective thinking, as well as personal and civic responsibility.

The article summarized service-learning activities at the college and highlighted a collaboration between Western’s Instructional Support Services, which provides assistance to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, and the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association.

Western Written Communications classes investigated issues concerning immigration and citizenship by working with Hmong refugees. Students served as conversation partners for refugees in the ESOL classes. Some students gathered oral histories about the refugees’ experiences when making the difficult journey to America.

“The most profound thing to happen to me while doing this research project is the fact that I now see representations of the discrimination that the Hmong have faced,” said Amber Sherburn, a Communications student at Western. “Americans still have no idea who the Hmong are and why they are here.”

The goal of the students was to document the struggles and sacrifices made by local refugees, and in doing so, they hoped to expand understanding and tolerance within the community and help preserve the rich culture of the Hmong.

Service-learning has been integrated into many areas at Western, and more are added each year. Currently, the following programs have included community involvement in their curriculum: Architectural Design, DisAbility Support Specialist, Computer Information Systems, Dental Education, Early Childhood Education, Finance, Interior Design, Marketing, Medical Assistant, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Radiography, Speech, Supervisory Management, Therapeutic Massage, Video Production, and Written Communications.

For information about programs and services at Western, call 608.785.9200 or visit the Web site at