Spring 2017 Faculty Spotlight: Devin Farkas | St. Lawrence University Community Based Learning

Spring 2017 Faculty Spotlight: Devin Farkas

By: Ella Nielson '19

This past fall semester Devin Farkas created a Community Based Learning (CBL) course focused on the benefits of outdoor education. He brought different community members to the Outdoor Program at St. Lawrence, such as teachers and students from the Deep Root Center for Self-Directed Learning and First Year Program (FYP) students to participate in outdoor activities. During the semester, CBL students were trained on the various Outdoor Program’s (OP) facilities and opportunities such as canoeing on the Grasse River and rock-climbing on the Munro Family Climbing Wall so they can incorporate these opportunities into their CBL placement. Devin remarked that "CBL students learn how versatile the Outdoor Program is, while providing the opportunity for community members to get involved with the SLU and the OP."

Devin’s CBL is an extremely beneficial opportunity for St. Lawrence students because it provides a unique avenue for students to experience challenges they wouldn’t face in the classroom. It is a different way of engaging with the students from the traditional classroom lecture. This experiential learning gives CBL students a realistic understanding of how their course work is applicable in their lives. Devin has noticed that the students, after participating in a CBL, have a better work ethic in the classroom. I asked Devin why he thinks CBL is so beneficial to both the community and the students, and he said, “CBL is important because we have a lot of willing, excited, and eager students to help out.”  Devin is planning on adding to his CBL with new ideas in mind.