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Students walking outside the space

Connecting education to life

Mungo gift clusters high-impact programs under one roof.

Clustering professional development, entrepreneurship training and internship support in the same building with international programs and community-based learning just makes sense. That’s why Stewart ’74 and Steven Mungo ’81 made a $330,000 gift to Wofford to renovate the Michael S. Brown Village Center and bring these high-impact practices together under one roof.

“We both recognize that academic studies are just the foundation of what makes a person successful later in life,” says Steven Mungo. “International studies, community involvement and internships, for example, are essential to rounding out the educational experience and making our students more competitive in the workplace.”

The Space in the Mungo Center (internships, entrepreneurship and professional development) currently fills the storefronts on the Osage Street side of the Michael S. Brown Village Center. In March, the Office of International Programs and the Center for Community-Based Learning moved into the offices on the Reeves Tennis Center side of the building. The building also includes classroom space, the Galleria dining hall, a grocery store and studio apartments for students.

“Wofford has been doing a fine job of reaching students interested in these high-impact programs, but we expect that consolidating them will allow us to reach more students. There will be a multiplying factor,” says Dr. Mike Sosulski, provost. “Clustering high-impact programs is a productive and wise national trend that allows for better marketing of these opportunities.”

Jessalyn Story, director of the Center for Community-Based Learning, explains that a student who comes for help with a resume may recognize that joining a group involved in community-based learning may be the extra boost he or she needs to land a dream job. Or a student who comes for help finding an internship may learn that studying and serving abroad are great ways to gain the intercultural experience that employers love.

“Being located together will put each of our student constituencies in contact with each other and with all three offices, increasing the likelihood that students will participate in multiple high-impact practices while they’re at Wofford,” she says.

According to Sosulski, sharing the space also means sharing ideas. He believes that the opportunity for the staffs of the different departments to work together and learn together is a huge benefit.

“I think the proximity will allow our staff to discover new and creative ways to work with students,” he says. “I’m sure they will cook up ways of engaging students that none of them have come up with yet.”

The collaboration started even before the move, says Amy Lancaster ’01, dean of international programs. “The Office of International Programs has worked with The Space in the Mungo Center on the establishment of its new Tanzania summer internship program, and many of our students studying abroad are already involved in service learning overseas,” she says.

Curt McPhail ’96, executive director of The Space, says the college has eight students lined up for the 10-week internship experience in Tanzania. Thanks to the Mungos and Mike Brown ’76, the college also is providing scholarship assistance in support of the students in the program.

“Folks like Mike Brown and the Mungos understand the value of internships, and they’re willing to provide resources for our students to do extraordinary things during the summer,” says McPhail. “It’s a win-win. The college grows its high-impact program opportunities and our students gain the professional skills and abilities they need before they graduate.”

Starting salaries provide one measure of proof. Both McPhail and Lancaster share statistics: students who completed a paid internship during college average $11,000 per year more in their first jobs than students without the same work experience. Students who have studied abroad can expect an average first-year salary boost of $6,000, and liberal arts graduates who have mastered entrepreneurial thinking (something often honed through community-based learning and professional development training) experience the same $6,000 initial salary benefit.

“They’re called high impact for a reason,” says Sosulski. “The Space in the Mungo Center, the Office of International Programs and the Center for Community-Based Learning can all have a transformative effect on our students. They provide cocurricular pathways that help students make meaning out of their education at Wofford and connect it to their lives after Wofford.”

That’s exactly happened for Aleah White Guthrie ’11, an English major with a philosophy minor who took advantage of all three high-impact practices at Wofford. 

Guthrie joined the Bonner Scholars program during her sophomore year at Wofford. She studied abroad during her junior year and completed an internship and skills assessment her senior year.

“Bonner was formative for me because it wasn’t just about community service. It was about building the capacity of nonprofit partners. My Bonner experience helped me figure out my path,” says Guthrie, who also completed her Bonner service requirements while studying abroad in New Zealand. Working with a community organization in another country allowed her to experience a different model and work with different people. 

Now Guthrie, who taught in Nashville, Tenn., public schools for four years, is in a master’s program in education policy at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education, and she’s working with both urban and rural legislators to find common ground so they can determine what’s best for all students. 

Lancaster, McPhail and Story are eager to realize these same benefits for current Wofford students. 

“It’s certainly about helping students advance their skill sets, but it’s also about helping them find their purpose,” says McPhail. “Good institutions help students figure out what they want to do before they leave. We’ve structured our work to do this.”

Stewart Mungo says it’s just as straightforward as it seems. “Wofford has such a great story to tell. We just want to make sure that our students — the finished product — have everything they need. Even those going into medicine or dentistry or the law will certainly benefit from basic business training and these types of opportunities to practice their liberal arts education.”

Mungo also hopes the college sees an additional benefit from clustering high-impact programs and making them more convenient for students. “The better job Wofford does in helping prepare graduates, the more people may give back when they find success,” he says. “Successful alumni create a successful college.”

 

The Space in the Mungo Center

After taking advantage of four years of opportunities designed to help engage and explore the world, Wofford students are prepared for what’s next. To ensure that, the college provides professional development, entrepreneurial guidance and real-world experience through The Space in the Mungo Center. In recent years, Wofford students have completed internships with hundreds of health care professionals, attorneys, legislators, small business owners and nonprofit executives.

wofford.edu/thespace


Office of International Programs

Study abroad is a major component of Wofford’s commitment to shaping globally connected citizens. Since 2007, students have studied in 70 countries on all seven continents. Opportunities range from travel/study Interim projects to a full year at a university abroad. Cocurricular options include service learning, internships and research. Wofford continues to be a national leader in international programs with Open Doors (2016) ranking Wofford ninth in the nation for the percentage of students who study abroad for credit.

wofford.edu/internationalprograms

 

Center for Community-Based Learning

Community-based learning offers students opportunities to develop a primary ingredient in living a happy and meaningful life: the ability to use their passions, skills and knowledge to improve the quality of the lives of others. In 2016 the college was recognized on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. Wofford was recognized in all four categories: general community service, interfaith community service, economic opportunity and education. 

wofford.edu/ccbl

by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89