Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Program History

Timeline and milestones

Program Beginnings (1994-2000)

In 1994, two Sylvania campus faculty members, Gary Lesniak (Psychology) and Porter Raper (Writing) received an institutional curriculum development grant through the Teaching Learning Center to work with the PCC Foundation to establish the “Service to Community Scholarship” and link it with their curriculum. At that time, the students who were awarded the scholarship enrolled in both Gary and Porter’s courses. The students did 20 hours of service in the community while applying the psychology concepts they were learning in Gary’s class and they wrote about the experience in Porter’s class. This was also the year that PCC joined National campus Compact, due, in part, to the efforts of Mandi Ellertson and Kendi Esary, Student Leadership Coordinators.

The next year, Porter and Gary began to set-up informal gatherings with other faculty to look for ways to incorporate service into their classes. During this time, they also began to attend conferences to learn more about Service-Learning. With support from other faculty, they applied for another institutional grant to establish a district committee on Service-Learning. This type of Service-Learning program was a new concept for colleges and universities in Oregon. Porter and Gary were asked to speak with administrators and faculty around the state. This began PCC’s rise to becoming a national Service-Learning model. During this time, PCC received press in the Oregonian and the Portland Business Journal.

Once a substantial number of faculty members came on board, Porter and Gary applied for yet another institutional grant to get release time for a district Service-Learning faculty coordinator. The first Faculty Coordinator was Porter Raper in 1998. This was the beginning of the formal Service-Learning Program at PCC. The early Service-Learning program at PCC encompassed a variety of classes in both the professional technical and transfer courses. Faculty members were encouraged to try Service-Learning through small, institutionally funded curriculum development grants. In 2013 the Service-Learning program rebranded itself as the Community-Based Learning program.

  • Learn and Serve America Grant (2000-2003) establishes a connection with SUN Schools.
  • Learn and Serve grant establishes Full-Time Partnerships Coordinator position, Betsy Warriner (2000-2003).
  • Three faculty (Spencer Hinkle, Maribel Pinas-Espigule, Porter Raper) attend SL institute leaders meeting in Hawaii with funding from Campus Compact. At this meeting the first PCC SLP strategic plan is created.
  • PCC faculty continue to present at conferences about our program.
  • Visits are made to 10 colleges across the West Coast, as well as Texas, Oklahoma, Boston, Providence, Berkley, Scottsdale, Bellevue, Monterey, San Diego, Guam, Sia Pan, and American Samoa.
  • First Annual Service-Learning Awards Dinner occurs spring term.
  • Release time is approved for half-time Service-Learning Faculty Coordinator, Porter Raper (1998- 2001).
  • PCC District Inservice topic is “Celebrating the Many Faces of Service at PCC” with Tom Ehrlich as the keynote.
  • Institutional grant supports SL Steering Committee to govern program. PCC President, Dan Moriarty becomes one of the founding members of Oregon Campus Compact.
  • PCC joins National Campus Compact.
  • Sylvania Teaching Learning Center establishes a faculty learning community on Service-Learning.
  • PCC Foundation establishes the Service to Community Scholarship.


  • Kathleen Doss signs on to be the faculty coordinator for the Cascade campus.
  • Sarah Tillery is hired as Program Coordinator in late spring.
  • Second AmeriCorps VISTA member, Samantha Lee, begins her term of service with the program.
  • PCC participates in the second annual MLK Day of Service organized across multiple colleges in the Portland area.
  • First AmeriCorps VISTA member, Karin Zimmer, does a year long term of service with the program.
  • PCC participates in the first MLK Day of Service organized across multiple colleges in the Portland area.
  • Pattie Hill steps in as Program Coordinator for one year in Jennifer’s absence.
  • Faculty Coordinator, Carmen Martinez passes away – a scholarship is named in her honor.
  • SL Faculty Cohort is established for faculty who are interested in incorporating SL into their courses.
  • Two new faculty coordinators join the team (Southeast & Cascade – Jessica Lamb, Rock Creek – Leslie Hickcox).
  • A database to track SL numbers is introduced – Service-Learning Pro.
  • PCC Service-Learning Program is selected as an AACC Horizons Mentor College to Lorain County Community College and College of Alameda.
  • Two new faculty coordinators are brought on (Rock Creek – Carmen Martinez, Sylvania – Vandoren Wheeler).
  • From Crops to Classrooms Community Forum brings together faculty, students, and community members.
  • Service-Learning Steering Committee restructures faculty support for program.
  • New structure is implemented with one faculty coordinator at each campus (Cascade – Elaine Beal, Rock Creek – Diane Edwards, Sylvania – Sylvia Gray).
  • Jennifer Alkezweeny Service-Learning Partnerships Coordinator is hired.
  • Service-Learning courses receive separate listing in the course schedule.
  • Learn and Serve grant establishes Rock Creek Learning Garden.
  • Students in Service program is introduced to PCC – educational funding for students who complete 300+ hours of service.
  • Tom Huminski, Service-Learning Faculty Coordinator comes on board (2004-2006).
  • New Learn and Serve America Grant proposal is written, but not funded.
  • Service-Learning Committee establishes Service-Learning Program Award for students.
  • PCC Video Production Program creates Service-Learning Video.
  • Learn and Serve America Grant funds Oregon Campus Compact to focus on Hunger, K-12 Education, and the Urban Rural Divide. PCC receives 3-year sub-grant.
  • Kim Smith, Service-Learning Faculty Coordinator comes on board (2001-2004).

2011- 2019

  • Staci Williams (RC) joins the team as Interim Faculty Coordinator for the Winter and Spring Terms.
  • PCC and PSU collaborate on the event “MLK Before the Dream: Discovering the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The CBL Professional Development Continuum is updated:
    • CBL Faculty Cohort is replaced with the Community Engaged Faculty Institute.
    • An online Professional Learning Community is launched.
  • A new position is created, CBL Faculty Professional Development Curriculum Coordinator, to design and develop curriculum for faculty learning and professional development specific to the CBL professional development continuum. The CBL professional development continuum includes, but is not limited to, foundational pedagogy, course design, and ongoing exploration and implementation of research based best practices and pedagogical approaches, social justice, and equity.
    • Lisa George takes on this role starting the Summer of 2019, in addition to continuing her role as the CA Coordinator.
  • PCC begins subscription to the GivePulse platform to manage and track community-based learning and community engagement across the district.
  • In place of the AmeriCorps VISTA position, a new casual position is created, CBL Community Outreach and Engagement Specialist, to assist in promoting a campus culture of community engagement that encourages students to access opportunities for early field experiences with non-profit organizations. This position will provide administrative support for CBL programming that makes connections between the volunteer interests of PCC students and needs of community partner organizations.
    • Madison Omohundro is hired starting Spring 2017.
  • Catherine Thomas (SE) joins the team as a Faculty Coordinator.
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Jessie Ghiglieri, beings the second and final year for the Student Outreach and Engagement Project.
    • Community Engagement Advocate Program is established in partnership with Passion Impact and Financial Aid
  • Alissa Leavitt (RC) joins the team as a Faculty Coordinator.
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Alex Orlet, beings the first year for the Student Outreach and Engagement Project.
    • The first Neighbor to Neighbor Fairs are held at Cascade and Southeast
  • Hannah Cherry is hired as Program Coordinator in early fall.
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Carmen Denison, begins the final project year for the Mentor Recruitment Project.
  • Lisa George (CA), Laura Sanders (SE), Elizabeth Cole (SY), and Diane Shingledecker (CTE) join the CBL team as Faculty Coordinators.
  • AmeriCorps VISTA member, Heidi Whitehouse, begins a year long term of service as Mentor Recruitment Specialist with CBL and Friends of the Children.
  • PCC participates in the fourth annual MLK Day of Service organized across multiple colleges in the Portland area.
  • Community-Based Learning agrees to co-coordinate (with the PCC Foundation) the Service To Community Scholarship for the college district.
  • The program rebrands itself as the Community-Based Learning program.
  • Joshua Liebschutz is hired as Program Coordinator in early fall.
  • PCC participates in the third annual MLK Day of Service organized across multiple colleges in the Portland area.
  • Students in Service program is terminated nationally across the county.
  • Service-Learning agrees to co-coordinate (with Financial Aid & Work-Study) the America Reads program for the college district.
  • PCC shatters our 50,000 hour goal and concludes the 11-12 academic year with a record of 71,800 hours of community service to honor our 50th anniversary year of the college.
  • In 2012, PCC was named one of the colleges on the President’s Community Service Honor Roll
  • Monica Christofili (SE Center), Sarah Bentley (SY), and Zapoura Newton-Calvert (RC) join the SL team as Faculty Coordinators.
  • Third (and final) AmeriCorps VISTA member, Nicole Herbert, begins her term of service with the program.

2020 – Present

  • Faculty Coordinator positions are no longer designated by campus in alignment with the institution’s move towards a One College Model.
  • Taryn Oakley (CA) joins the team as Faculty Coordinator in the Spring term of 2021.
  • 2020-21 Professional Learning Community is launched with the theme: Examining the Elements of CBL. Programming includes:
    • Virtual Gatherings
    • Virtual Office Hours: 1-on-1 Mentoring for Curriculum Development
    • Use of Padlet to share diverse Knowledge Sources in various modalities.
  • The impact of COVID-19 pandemic:
    • New parameters for community engagement are put in place in line with PCC remote instruction policies.
    • Professional Development Continuum programming is adjusted for remote teaching and learning
  • Evan and Hattie’s Memorial Scholarship is designated as a CBL scholarship. Two students were awarded for their completion of community-based learning assignments/projects for their PCC courses.
  • Greg Gerstner (SY) joins the team as Faculty Coordinator in the Winter term of 2020.