Learn to Serve, Serve to Learn

Mandi McReynolds

Mandi (Van Hooser) McReynolds ’05 is a passionate advocate for liberal arts education, communication, and experiential learning. She was a member of Cedarville’s Student Government Association and earned a degree in organizational communication. Photo credit: Eric Rowley/DesMoinesRegister.com

by Mandi (Van Hooser) McReynolds '05

September 11, 2011

My passion for teaching, learning, and organizational communication began at Cedarville University. Organizational communication is at the heart of my job.

When developing university and community partnerships with faculty, staff, students, and community members, you must learn to tune into organizational dynamics, understand interpersonal and group communication styles, and conduct needs analysis and assessment. These skill sets only come from a quality liberal arts education.

Courses and personal advisory relationships with Jim Phipps, Margaret Wheeler, Mike López, and Rebecca Baker made me a better communicator and researcher. I learned through Jeff Cook and Joy Fagan that teaching and learning did not have to be just in the classroom. The community holds a powerhouse of knowledge if we tap into its opportunities to teach our students.

Higher Education administration was not on my to-do list after graduation from Cedarville. At the end of my graduate education, I was asked to write a reflective paper on my educational journey. I wrote about sitting in Jeff Beste’s office as an SGA officer. He said, “You should consider going into higher education.” At the time, I laughed. Now, I am thankful he planted that seed.

Today, I work at one the best universities in the country in the provost office as the service-learning coordinator for the institution. The triad of excellent courses, experiential educators, and quality student affairs professionals guided my undergraduate education and influenced who I am as a professional.

» Read more about Mandi’s service learning career.