Graduate Students Make an Impact Through Service-Learning Project

by University Relations

In fall 2011, three students in the Master of Arts in Management (MAM) program, Pimjai Santatiwat ’12, Christopher Babundo ’12, and Cindy Chiou ’12, participated in a service-learning project in their Organizational Performance Improvement course that improved processes and procedures for the Door of Hope (DOH) program. A nonprofit, faith-based organization established in 1985, DOH equips homeless families to rebuild their lives and provides single mothers, single fathers, and two-parent families with transitional housing and a restoration program. APU students researched and evaluated DOH’s operating methods with the goal of identifying and developing simplified procedures.

“This project allowed my team and I to advance beyond the classroom and apply our knowledge and skills in a real organization,” said Santatiwat. “We overcame challenges along the way by drawing on our common purpose of serving DOH and working together to make an impact in the community.”

The students worked closely with DOH staff in their Pasadena facility to understand how the organization functions—its leadership, culture, and the people it serves. One of the team’s accomplishments included simplifying DOH’s intake procedure by creating a new e-application that reduces the organization’s overall time investment and cost. “Our contribution to improving DOH’s services is a minute way of showing how we value the humanitarian services they provide,” said Babundo. “I am blessed by this contact and my involvement in making DOH function in a better way.”

The Master of Arts in Management program emphasizes organizational leadership, management competencies, knowledge, analytical tools, and implementation skills focused on experiential learning in which faculty and students partner in the learning process. Service-learning, a component of the experiential learning built into the program, integrates theory and practical application.

“The MAM program uses the template of APU’s Four Cornerstones [Christ, Scholarship, Community, Service],” said Roxanne Helm-Stevens, DBA, chair of graduate management programs. “By integrating service-learning opportunities into the curriculum, students gain hands-on experience that will equip them to pursue academic, professional, and personal goals while incorporating the cornerstone of service. As an instructor, seeing the effort put forth by students and the rewards to both the students and the community, reinforces my passion for service-learning and the value of APU’s commitment to the community.”

Originally published in the Spring '12 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.