Cedar Valley CoLab is a community laboratory and co-work space that strategically integrates the needs of community organizations and leaders with the College’s learning outcomes for Gustavus students. CoLab provides a framework for identifying and coordinating research and learning initiatives that would benefit individual community organizations and the members of our community more generally.
Each semester, student teams work on projects that meet the research and evaluation needs of community organizations. In addition, we have a public location in the St. Peter Community Center for conducting research studies and providing hands-on demonstrations of established findings.
With faculty and community guidance, undergraduates also design and lead educational activities based on research findings appropriate for different audiences within our community.
A community advisory board that consists of community and campus leaders works to identify and prioritize community research, evaluation, and learning needs. The board meets throughout the year to determine topics and review outcomes from previous projects.
St. Peter Branch: The Third Floor Youth Center provides children in grades 3 through 6 with after-school activities such as computers, Wii games, art, and homework help. This Center will be moving from its current location at North Intermediate to its new location in the former High School building in the upcoming year. Research Methods students are working to provide the Center with credible and actionable data that could be used to make decisions about the future structure of the Third Floor Youth Center as well as the programs and services it provides.
Mankato Branch: Students in a senior seminar on the Psychology of Language are developing lesson plans for a parent-child education class on a language development topic. These lesson plans include fun ways of explaining developmental science findings to a general audience and includes activities for parents to try during the class and once they go home. Students will conduct the classes based on their lesson plans at the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota.
St. Peter Branch: Since 2008, the Creative Play Place (CPP) has provide a space in the St. Peter Community Center for children and their families to play in an environment that develops the whole child. As the population of St. Peter, MN has become more diverse, the children who use the CPP has not reflected this same diversity. Therefore, Gustavus students worked to determine what barriers might exist for new St. Peter families, and how as a community we can welcome everyone to important resources such as CPP.
St. Peter Branch: In the Neuroscience capstone course at Gustavus, students learned about how the brain changes as people age. At the end of the semester, the students put together a one-day workshop for senior citizens and other interested community members to increase the general knowledge of the aging brain. The workshop consisted of short presentations, activities that may help maintain or improve certain cognitive skills, and hands-on demonstrations illustrating what happens to the brain as we grow older.
Kyle E. Chambers is an Associate Professor in Psychological Science and the Co-Director of the Center for Developmental Science at Gustavus Adolphus College. He also serves as the Faculty Associate for Excellence in Teaching at John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning. Since arriving at Gustavus in 2008, he has been developing strong community partnerships that allow his students and research assistants to work on authentic projects that address local issues and community needs.
Patricia is the co-director of the Center for Developmental Science. She is interested in cognitive development and the mechanisms that allow children and adults to implicitly learn complex information. Most of her research focuses on language acquisition, but her ongoing work also explores probability learning, simultaneous multipattern/multilanguage learning, and other types of non-linguistic implicit learning. Patricia is interested in shifting the bulk of her 200+ level courses to be developmentally appropriate community-based learning courses, and she also hopes to build a relationship with St. Peter organizations for her own scholarship.
As the Director of the St. Peter Community Center, Jane has connections with many organizations with different audiences that might be interested in working with our department, including the St. Peter Public Library, the Senior Citizen Center, Kids Corner, Head Start, and the Creative Play Place to name just a few. Therefore, she is well positioned to serve as a bridge between Gustavus and community organizations.
Marie is the Department Chair of Psychological Science and has a long-standing commitment to community-based learning. She has sponsored the Mental Health Wellness fair with her Abnormal Psychology students and conducted community research projects for Nicollet County in her Psychology of Diversity course. She is a recipient of the Minnesota Campus Compact’s Presidential Civic Engagement Stewardship Award and was awarded a position in the Faculty Fellows Program in Community-Based Learning.
Tami Skinner is the Director of Community & Family Education at Saint Peter Public Schools. She has served the school district and community since 2005. She works with a variety of individual instructors, local business and organizations to provide life-long learning opportunities for people of all ages.
600 South 5th Street, Saint Peter, MN 56082
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