Leading to Serve

Moravian College has long been known for community outreach and service, whether through ongoing programs, such as The Learning Connection, or through classroom projects initiated by faculty members and students.

Service learning projects teach leadership and benefit communities. Last spring, students in Professor Silvia Mandler's Spanish class visited students at Roberto Clemente Charter school in Allentown. Look for more projects like this one. Photo by Michael Wilson.

This year, Moravian will do even more to serve the local community, just as it steps up its emphasis on leadership all across campus. "Leadership, as we define it at Moravian, emphasizes action," said Katie Dantsin, recently hired as the College's first director of leadership development. "Leadership is not always related to position. We see it as everyone's responsibility and option."

To that end, Dantsin already has opened her door to discussions with faculty members, administrators, and students about her vision for leadership development and her role as facilitator. At the top of her priority list is "strengthening the connection between leadership and service," she says. Partnerships with alumni, faculty members, and career services will help make this happen.

Expect to see more students engaged with the community through service projects, internships, and field studies. Also look for more emphasis on experiential learning, under the direction of Michelle Schmidt, associate professor of psychology and director of academic leadership programs. In experiential learning, faculty members incorporate community service to help students learn the connection between their coursework and the community. Communities benefit through the students' knowledge and expertise.

Katie Dantsin, new director of leadership development, will link leadership with service.

"Students can learn the value of serving the common good in a dramatic way," said Dantsin. "The leadership traits and skills developed through service to the community as a student can translate into very effective employees, citizens, and leaders in our various communities.`"

Dantsin will draw upon her own diverse background in student development and campus-community partnerships. Previously she worked for Habitat for Humanity, supporting student chapters in eight states. She also worked for Lafayette College as a liaison to the local community; as a community mobilizer for the nonprofit Communities That Care; and as a project manager for Pennsylvania Campus Compact, which promotes the civic purposes of higher education. "When I read the description for this position at Moravian, I realized it matched my background perfectly," said Dantsin. "The more I found out about it, the more I knew this would be a great way to share what I've learned."