Dr. Kate Ksobiech, Assistant Professor of Communications, serves the needs of both her students and the community through her work at UW-Whitewater. Her work focuses on Health Communications, and as such, her community based learning approach, in both research and teaching, centers around solving “real world” problems and issues. “I take an applied approach to the development of materials and interventions that are accessible to non-profit organizations, particularly those focusing upon underserved populations,” Dr. Ksobiech stated. Dr. Ksobiech seeks out partnerships for her students. “I strive to develop projects that are both important for my students’ growth as budding health communication scholars and meaningful to area non-profits’ missions and goals,” she said.
Dr. Ksobiech has worked with a number of area non-profits. Her most recent community-based partnership was with Rock River Free Clinic, which needed an informational video describing their services to post on their website. Her students interviewed the relevant staff and a clinic client and edited the video. Additionally, her students were also able to assist with social media platform issues. “Both of these projects gave the clinic valuable promotional materials and also provided my students with significant materials for their own portfolios,” she said.
While these partnership are helpful for the agencies her students serve, they are also important for the students, who are better able to appreciate the reality of what these organizations have in terms of resources. “I hope my students will be inspired to continue seeking out ways to assist others in need with their unique skill sets as they move into their careers, wherever that may lead them,” Dr. Ksobiech said.
Community based learning has also allowed Dr. Ksobiech the opportunity to connect with many faculty and staff across campus. “My type of work is interdisciplinary in nature, and I strive to connect with the relevant ‘players’ across campus in order to move projects forward,” she stated.
Dr. Ksobiech encourages others to join community based learning. “It is incredibly rewarding to observe the change in my students as they move beyond the traditional classroom to apply their knowledge and experience in such tangible ways,“ Dr. Ksobiech expressed. One way in which she encourages others to get involved, regardless of their background in community based learning, is by attending a community breakfast. “It’s a great way to meet representatives from a variety of non-profits in the surrounding communities,” she said.