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Service-Learning Project Draws Students to Tobin College of Business

Friday, November 18, 2016

Faculty members from The Peter J.  Tobin College of Business, including Sylvia Clark, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, and William Reisel, Ph.D., professor of management, have been presenting annual business-topic lectures to high school students on Staten Island that showcase program options that Tobin offers to business majors.

“This spring, I asked the juniors and seniors if they were interested in expanding the format to include an Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) project in the fall,” noted Reisel.  “I had no idea that the idea would resonate.  Thirty students said they would definitely take part in a college-level AS-L project with St. John’s.”  Service is an important high school graduation requirement and it provides character evidence for students’ college application packages.  

During the summer, Reisel worked closely with Lynn Stravino, director of AS-L, to plan usage of the Sinatra Endowment Award he received to launch this unique pilot program with Susan Wagner High School and the Central Family Life Center (CFLC), one of St. John’s civic partners. Under the Difference Makers program,  the high school students established an online fundraiser via to purchase a Skype-ready computer for the CFLC’s after-school tutoring program. The new equipment would allow for virtual tutoring sessions via Skype, thereby widening the resource availability to young elementary school students on Staten Island who are most in need. The Susan Wagner students are also charged with delivery-design and curricular-planning to ensure successive classes can provide direct tutoring year-after-year.

The Difference Makers program will conclude on December 5, 2016 with a reception and certificate presentation on St. John’s Staten Island campus. Vice Provost James O’Keefe, Associate Provost Robert Fanuzzi, and Associate Dean Donna Narducci, who have supported this initiative, will be in attendance along with students, parents, faculty and administrators.

Reisel is seeking to attract the resources needed to expand the Difference Makers program to several high schools on Staten Island. “Shoe-leather civic-engagements and AS-L have proven an efficient and effective means of building the Staten Island campus’ reputation across the Island, and importantly, its primary-market high schools,” said Reisel.