Students walk across green space at Buena Vista University

Institution Spotlight: Buena Vista University’s Education for Service

Dale Scully

March 31, 2018

Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA took a bold step forward this winter by introducing a scholarship program designed to allow several Buena Vista County high school students to study at their local hometown college campus.  The “Education For Service” (EFS) scholarship was established for 10 local first-generation, Pell Grant and Iowa Tuition Grant Eligible students, to receive a scholarship package equal to full tuition.  In return, these students will become Iowa College AmeriCorps members and will serve up to 5 hours in the community each week alongside local and regional non-profits.

The students will be assembled into cohorts and each will have two heavily invested advisors assigned to them -  one faculty member and the other a student affairs professional staff member.  These advisors will act as success coaches and will meet weekly with the EFS scholars throughout their time at BVU.  Each year’s cohort of 10 students will also attend a summer bridge program designed to introduce them to life on a college campus and provide them fully with the transitional academic and social skills necessary to succeed in college.  Additionally, students in this program will be required to obtain a minor in Social Innovation.   This will insure the EFS students receive both curricular and co-curricular experiences necessary to become future civic leaders.

This program will be a dynamic part of BVU’s Civic Engagement initiative.  The Office of Civic Engagement is a signature student affairs program at the college.  Carnegie classified, and a member of the President’s honor roll for several years, Civic Engagement at BVU works tirelessly to educate motivated students and further develop them into global citizens willing to take on big picture regional, national, and international issues and concern.  Intentional service and the learning community BVU is establishing through the academic minor are combining two very high impact practices that should show a positive impact on student persistence.

The ultimate goal of the EFS Scholars program is to provide local, resource-challenged students an opportunity to study at a highly respected private institution, while benefitting the community by educating young adults willing to serve in the area.  Rural America is running into a desperate shortage of educated professionals willing to stay and work in non-metropolitan settings.   BVU is hopeful that this new initiative can help meet that need by educating 10 local students per year, many of whom have strong cultural and familial ties to this community.

About the Author

Dale Scully is the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He earned his A.A. from Yakima Valley Community College, B.A. from Western Washington University, and M.A. in Student Personnel Administration from Columbia University's Teachers College. Scully's experience spans residence life, athletics, and aministration.

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