Service Learning Designation in SOCI 3312/6315 Environmental Sociology


In Fall 2016, Dean Kyne designed SOCI 3312/6315 Environmental Sociology courses in order to incorporate a service learning component. Service Learning is defined as "a thoughtfully organized service experience that addresses a need in the community in a reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship and integrates a reflective component that relates the service experience to academic course objectives and the student’s learning" (UTRGV, 2016).

Dr. Kyne established a scholarly engaged partnership with the community partner, the Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) of the City of Edinburg, in order to provide a scholarly engagement and service learning opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students. The service learning experience involves three learning objectives.

Service Learning Objectives (SLOs)

SLO 1: to learn problems and issues in solid waste management the community faces.

To achieve the SLO 1, students visited the Solid Waste Management site on November 5, 2016. They engaged in conversations with the administrators at the SWMD and learned the problems, issues, and challenges the community is facing to achieve the goal of sustainable waste management. The administrators of SWMD also learned from students' concerns, views, and understanding of the problems and issues.

SLO 2: To find sustainable solutions to overcome the problems, issues, and challenges in sustainable waste management.

To achieve the SLO 2, students discussed among their group members the problems, issues, and challenges for a month. Then, they generated their alternative solutions to the problems of their interests based on theories and concepts they learned in the classes. Then, the students prepared a project report and presentation slides.

SLO 3: To present the sustainable solutions to the community partners.

The administrative team of SWMD came to UTRGV and listened the presentations of the students on December 10, 2016. The SWMD team had an opportunity to learn the students’ approaches to problems and issues the community faced. The administrative team found the students' ideas and approaches to the problems creative and that they could utilize them as useful input for solving the real problems at SWMD.


1. Service learning objective 1: A service learning at the solid waste management department at the City of Edinburg


Dr. Kyne and his graduate and undergraduate students of SOCI 3312/6315 Environmental Sociology class visited the City of Edinburg Solid Waste Management Department on November 5, 2016.


Dr. Kyne and his graduate and undergraduate students of SOCI 3312/6315 Environmental Sociology class visited the City of Edinburg Solid Waste Management Department on November 5, 2016.

The Elephant in the Room 2.jpg

During the site visit at the Department, Mr. Ramiro Gomez, Director, and his team conducted a presentation on Sustainable Waste Management and Challenges.

The students experienced a service learning by engaging in conversations with the administrators in the Solid Waste Management Department. They were presented with the problems, issues, and challenges the community faces in effectively managing solid waste.

2. Service learning objective 2: A service learning to generate sustainable solutions to solid waste management


The students selected problems of their interests among their group members. Then students were provided an opportunity to generate the solutions to their selected problems in their groups. They are also required to apply environmental theories and concepts learned in the class to their solutions.

Student Presentation.jpg

3. Service learning objective 3: A service learning at a seminar to present sustainable solutions to the solid waste management administrators and receive feed backs


The students conducted their group presentations on their solutions to the selected problems in managing solid waste on December 10, 2016. The administrative team of SWMD participated in the meeting and listened to the presentations, engaged in conversations with the students, and provided useful comments and feedback. The administrative team had an opportunity to learn the students’ approaches to the selected problems which could provide potential input for their environmental decision making for effectively managing solid waste in the community.



Engaged scholarship and learning on the television news


Service learning in the news

UTRGV environmental sociology students will let the weekend go to ‘waste’ – in a good way

EDINBURG, TEXAS – NOV. 5, 2016 –To help find creative solutions to sustainable waste management practices, students in the UTRGV Environmental Sociology program will dedicate their weekend learning the ins and outs of the City of Edinburg’s Department of Solid Waste Management.

The activity is part of a service-learning partnership in which graduate and undergraduates in the UTRGV program will:

·         Learn about the activities of the municipal Solid Waste Management department.

·         Receive updates regarding activities in managing solid waste and community need-based issues in Edinburg.

·         Familiarize themselves with crucial aspects of waste management, and engage in dialogue with the administrators at the department.

In addition, participating students will be tasked with finding creative solutions to address community need-based issues for long-term sustainable waste management practices. Their discoveries will be presented to the administrators at the Solid Waste Management department in the future.

“This event is greatly beneficial to everyone in our local community. It showcases the partnership between the community and the university, while addressing challenges to achieve environmental sustainability,” said Dr. Dean Kyne, assistant professor, UTRGV Environmental Sociology.

UTRGV honors community partners at awards ceremony


The City of Edinburg Solid Waste Management was one of the community partners awarded for their work with Dr. Dean Kyne in creating a service-learning project on April 20, 2017. Students in Dr. Kyne's course learned about issues the management officials faced and provided researched sustainable solutions. To learn more about this exciting contribution, review Jennifer L. Berghom's story below.



Comments from students


Dr Kyne is the best instructor in the sociology and anthropology department he makes everything very easy you will enjoy his class, plus his funny and knowledgeable.
Dr. Dean Kyne is an excellent professor. He has a strong background in the subject and is really listening to his students' proposals and ideas. His class gives an insight to real-world environmental issues and encourages students to take action into coming up with ideas to resolve them. He's highly recommendable because he's open to contributions and overall has strong knowledge and never fails to answer any questions.
Dr. Kyne is a down-to-earth professor who is willing to help students understand fully the concepts of the course. It is easy to see that Dr. Kyne is committed to what he teaches. In addition, he is very friendly and easy to communicate with while in lectures. Very good professor overall.
Dr. Kyne is a wonderful professor who teaches with such passion and interest. He truly loves for his students to engage in open discussions and interact with each other.
Dr. Kyne is great. He just assigns too much group work.
Dr.Kyne was an excellent professor. Always on time and ready to teach. He was very passionate about whatever he spoke of. I enjoyed his class and would love to take another with him in the future.
Great and fun professor! Makes study guides helpful for exams.
Instructor is awesome. Teaching and communication skills make it welcome to teach without making you feel pressured if you answer the wrong answer. Very patient with the students which is very helpful and makes me feel that I learn at the same time with subject.
The instructor for this course sometimes does not communicate the assignments effectively. A bit more clarification on his assignments. Overall great instructor and great course.
This course was very interesting, and I would recommend anybody to take this as an elective or requirement for sociology.
a little more clarity on due dates of individual and group assignments.
very informative course, every class day left me with new knowledge by the end of the day. the professor explained everything clearly and was extremely knowledgeable about the course materials.