Ethnic & women’s studies Professor Gilbert Cadena has been appointed director of the Center for Community Service-Learning. Cadena is known for incorporating service-learning into every aspect of his career, says Claudia Pinter-Lucke, associate vice president of academic programs, who announced the appointment Aug. 26.
“He has taught ‘Chicano/Latino Contemporary Issues’ with a service learning component, conducted research on a project-based approach to multiculturalism and service learning, and served as the faculty coordinator for an alternative spring break trip to learn about the life of Cesar Chavez,” Pinter-Lucke says.
“We look forward to the new initiatives that Dr. Cadena has planned for the Center. Let him know your ideas as well; he is very interested in increasing the center’s presence on campus.”
Cadena joined Cal Poly Pomona in 1995 and served as EWS department chair from 1996 to 2001. He was the center’s faculty fellow in 2005 and served as interim director in 2010. He helped start the annual Dia de Los Muertos celebration on campus, which marked its 15th anniversary in 2009.
Cadena’s goal is to raise student and faculty participation in service learning and strengthen the university’s partnerships with the community. He plans to also add more community sites where students can volunteer.
“I really want to focus on faculty engagement. Faculty can benefit from service learning, and incorporating it pedagogically in the classroom can really enhance the student experience,” Cadena says.
During his tenure at the university, Cadena has overseen more than 1,500 students who have participated in community service projects in the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys. He has also mentored faculty in the College of Education & Integrative Studies to incorporate service learning into their curriculum. In 2007, he co-published an article, “Linking Critical Democratic Pedagogy, Mulitculturalism and Service Learning to a Project-Based Approach” about how to bridge the classroom and students with community projects.
Cadena received his bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Cal Poly Pomona in 1979. As an undergraduate, he passionately supported social and cultural causes. Hoping to become a community organizer after college, he participated in student government, helped lead two Latino student groups, and wrote for the Poly Post. In the community, he organized outreach services for Pomona youth, advocated for affirmative action and supported United Farm Workers campaigns.