David Park, Assistant Professor of Communications, received an Outstanding Faculty Award for his efforts to incorporate community service in the public relations curriculum. Park received the award at the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education held March 25th - 27th, 2009, in Baton Rouge, LA. The award is presented each year a member of the teaching faculty who has demonstrated excellence incorporating service-learning pedagogy in the college/university classroom.
Since his January 2004 arrival at Xavier University of Louisiana, Park has steadily transformed the Public Relations curriculum to reflect a social justice philosophy. Working closely with grassroots organizations such as Common Ground Relief, Park has taught Communications students to consider how their public relations training might serve ethical ends. Park's collaboration with Common Ground Relief resulted in a national campaign to recruit Hurricane relief volunteers. The campaign leveraged 5,000 volunteers and over $500,000 in free labor for residents struggling to gut their homes of flooded contents.
Other projects included registering over 300 new voters, raising funds for a computer resource center and alternative crime prevention program at a housing community, and creating a national alternative spring break program, "Second Freedom Rides" for students from historically black colleges.
According to Ross Louis of Xavier's Center for Advancement of Teaching Service-Learning Faculty in Residence, Park's work has transformed and invigorated his department. "I am confident that he will continue to produce Xavier Communications graduates that will always connect the value of public relations principles to the public good they might generate."