Paul Mintner

Coordinator for Leadership Programs, University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA, United States

About Paul

Bio

I am a native Midwesterner -- a Kansan to be specific. I recently finished my Master's degree in counseling and currently work at the University of Iowa. I teach roughly four to six classes a year, in addition to coordinating a few major campus events, including TEDxUIowa. I also live in a Fraternity House as a resident advisor -- the men sometimes refer to me as Papa Paul. I love being in a community that stresses learning and development for the entire community -- higher education is a calling as well as a career. My parents were both educators (formally and informally), and I find incredible satisfaction doing the work I do helping students understand leadership, social justice, and perspective.

Languages

English

TED Conference

TEDActive 2014

Areas of Expertise

Student Development, Multicultural education, Student Affairs & Activities, Student Leadership Development, Service Learning, Experiential Education

I'm passionate about

Educational practice! I'm a nerd, and studying pedagogy (and experimenting with it) is something that I really enjoy. I also enjoy music and could be considered a 'foodie.'

People don't know I'm good at

Playing the piano by ear. Most anything I hear on the radio I can translate into something on the ivories.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

203620
Paul Mintner
Posted about 1 year ago
Can education utilize the "community issues" as learning experiences through problem solving, while simultaneously providing a service?
I'm not sure who Martin is, but I'll give it a go...haha. I'm not sure what the 'approval process' looks like from place to place, but it was a 24 hour turn around for our request for a 3-hour service learning course. Literally submitted a proposal, and it was accepted within the next 24 hours, and we offered the course the following Spring. Some may be more or less cumbersome, but at a Big 10, Research 1 institution, It was actually pretty easy. Part of the problem is that it isn't always something that needs to occur 'in the classroom.' But, in terms of what can be controlled, there are many faculty in fields that COULD be taking a service-learning approach, but simply aren't. Faculty aren't rewarded through promotion & tenure by pedagogy, practice, or student learning -- it's research at this level that has weight. And, a lot of research has a lot of public value. That said, students struggle to find these things on their own, largely because the demands on their time take them many different places. Some of the most motivated students to make a difference in community often times have the most aggressive curricular and co-curricular schedules. It takes resources for faculty and staff to develop programs that work with these schedules, and then these programs then have to demonstrate that their are high impact and students are learning. I also think that there are a lot of faculty who simply aren't comfortable with that pedagogy -- and monitoring service work and interfacing with community members is more time consuming than 'traditional classes.' If it's not rewarded in the process, it's hard for a Department Head to justify. That said, there are some GREAT examples of folks who are doing experiential learning on a broad scale (http://vimeo.com/68388753, for instance) that could be examples of how to replicate the learning and provide community capital as well.
203620
Paul Mintner
Posted about 1 year ago
Can education utilize the "community issues" as learning experiences through problem solving, while simultaneously providing a service?
I think you're going to want to look at relevant service-learning experiences. There's a lot of growth in service-learning as a pedagogy (http://journals.sfu.ca/jslhe/index.php/jslhe). More and more faculty are trying to bring 'real world problems' to complement the material they are discussing. We (The University of Iowa) do that through some short-term service experience (alternative breaks, international service experiences, etc), as well as some long-term experiences (service fellows, i.e.), as well. You might also think of this as use of practicum or internship experiences by students as learning laboratories -- but those are not always about the local community. Part of the hurdle is helping folks understand nuance in several dichotomies: -- Service to/for vs. Service with a community -- Being in vs. Being part of a community -- Communities of place vs. Communities of interest -- Growth vs. Development -- Urban Renewal vs. Gentrification --Community Assets vs. Community Problems It's really not as simple as saying -- education needs to be happening with a community connection. For example, just assigning a service project in a freshman rhetoric class that asks to help with local children to address literacy might really miss the point -- service is meant to be done with education and reflection built in....otherwise it can come off really paternalistic/maternalistic, which is something we try to avoid!