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Community Partners: Welcome to Service Learning

The basics of service-learning in higher education for agencies interested in incorporating it into their program.

UI Service-Learning

on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of Community Partners: Welcome to Service Learning

We are glad you are interested in the University of Idaho's Service-Learning program! This presentation is designed to get you started in the process. Welcome to Service-Learning! It will guide you through the basics of service-learning:

What service-learning is

Why it is important

How it works

Your role as a partner This presentation contains references to additional resources to learn more about service-learning.

You may click on any of these links as you move through the presentation; the links will open in a new window and you can continue with the presentation at any time. What's the Point? I.
What is Service-Learning? Service-Learning is a co-education strategy that integrates course content with meaningful community service. As a partner, you will help foster learning in the community setting, while gaining valuable volunteer time from students in courses related to your mission and goals.

First, service-learning must be distinguished from other volunteer experiences. Volunteering ...generally isn't tied to a course, is focused on the service provided, and doesn't require background knowledge from participants. Internships/Practicums ...generally focus on training student with workplace skills, not meeting unmet needs of the community Service-Learning ...integrates both academics and service work, everyone involved benefits from the service experience, and students come to the project with background knowledge of the needs that your organizations meets. It is the vision of the service-learning movement that institutions of higher education become engaged with the communities they serve.

Service-Learning is intended to enhance course content while also creating strong, well-rounded students who will come to take their civic duties as seriously as their professional and personal lives.

Research suggests that this will help foster an attitude of success and responsibility that will prepare them for the real world

It is equally important that communities become engaged with the higher education institutions they will be working with.

Agencies have the opportunity to work as co-educators, giving real-world experience and insight to students. Service Learning
Benefits vs. Cost: We recognize that some organizations are under-resourced. As such, taking on the responsibilities involved with service-learning can add additional strain.

Service-Learning can help to make the process easier by preparing students for their service. It is the instructor's job to orient the students to the project, reflect-with them afterward and evaluate their success.
The instructor should also arrange to meet with the agency to communicate the project scope, appropriate behavior, needs of both partners and other expectations

Sites are in charge of determining the need of their organization and how many students they want to work with. The cost, in staff time and effort, is felt most in the early stages of a semester length project. As time passes. students learn and become more efficient. As the projects develop, the benefits to the community become clear. Issue Advocacy

Access to University resources

Access to faculty and student skills (e.g., research methods, grant writing, social media, etc...)

The education of future generations of voters, policy makers, and financial contributors about your organization

The transfer of fresh ideas and voice from service-learning students to your organization

More minds to develop creative ways to expand organizational capacity Community partners have an important role as co-educators and in service-learning are equal partners with our instructors.

No matter what the focus of your agency (health, environment, etc.) there is opportunity for the student to learn through activity.

You, too, teach specific skills that develop their ability to communicate, organize, think critically and assess. Agency's Role
as Co-educator Geology 404: Geoscience Education Outreach Methods Conservation Social Sciences: McCall Outdoor Science School Natural Resources 404: Hawaiian Culture and Ecology Expanding the Role It is important that community and campus partners be equally strong for the program to be strong.

You MUST have a voice loud enough to be heard in the classroom.

You can look at yourself as a vital part of the city surrounding you; your voice is heard in the classroom.

You can influence the course curriculum by informing the campus partner of the realities found in the world to which the student will be returning to work and serve. You are bringing local knowledge and real-world experience upon which the campus partner can build a solid learning experience for the student. You and the campus partner work to match the learning objective with the service activities done by the student. It is helpful for you to be familiar with the course syllabus so you can understand the learning objective. Starting the Partnership Before contacting the campus it is important to:

clearly define the need
identify possible service activities
have at least an initial plan for supervising the student
develop the orientation
provide input in an evaluation process How much time and personnel can your organization dedicate to this commitment? What are your time commitments for students? A few hours a week, once a semester, etc... Do you have a specific class or faculty member in mind for your project? Do you need a specific skill set to accomplish this project or can any group of volunteers work? What are some ideas that would be appropriate for a service-learning project for students? Is this a project that can be accomplished in a semester time period? It is also beneficial to have a descriptive paragraph describing:

the mission
population served
programs and services offered
current activities directed at the issues it supports
hours of operation
contact information
name of service-learning site supervisor When considering potential projects, it is helpful to ask yourself a few questions to get started: Models of
Service-Learning Service-learning can take many forms, but most service-learning projects fit into the following categories: Discipline based
Problem- or Project-based
Community-based action research Discipline-Based Students have a consistent presence in an organization throughout the semester Problem- or Project-Based Students (or teams of students) serve an agency as “consultants” working for a “client." They work with an agency to meet a specific, time appropriate need. Capstone Service-Learning Community-Based Action Research Students, faculty, and community members work together to design and implement a research project that addresses a community need. Focus is on community members finding solutions using information from the research. Students (typically fourth year) draw upon the knowledge they have obtained throughout their academic career and combine it with relevant service work in the community. Engineering Capstone:
Interdisciplinary student teams work with community partners to develop a prototype that meets the partners’ needs. Architecture 453
Students develop concepts for an entrepreneurial and retail center for the Nez Perce tribe. Environmental Science 498
Students partner with environmental agencies to revitalize and eight-acre parcel of land. Business 378
Students work in teams to complete projects for community partners, managing the project from initiation to completion. The Project Process I. Connecting Community and campus partners talk to one another.

The first meeting will take place—ideally in person, but realistically by e-mail or phone.

Partners should discuss the needs of the community organization (the service activities), the needs of the prospective service-learner (the course syllabus), the time line and the evaluation process.

Each should know his/her role as viewed through the eyes of the other.

How is success defined in terms of the project? II. Meeting •Students are assigned to a particular site or given a list of sites from which to choose. When selected, the community partner will be contacted by the student who chose it.

•Upon meeting the student, we advise giving an orientation detailing:

Students and partners discuss the organization’s
Population served
Chain of authority
Policies/customs/dress code III. Beginning Get specific to the project

Discuss the learning objectives,
Communication between you and the student(s),
The expectations for the project,
And what to do if challenges arise,
How each party will be evaluated.

Get specific to the people. Supervisor might want to get to know student on a more personal level, ask:

Is the student a resident?
In what level are they?
What is the area of study?
What are the future plans?
Any extra-curricular activities?

A more familiar relationship can help supervisor
and student work more smoothly. Communication between community and campus partners vary depending on the project, but for optimal effectiveness, both parties should communicate throughout the project.

Feel free to take initiative in contacting the campus partner should a need arise, or simply to keep him/her aware of the project progress.

The instructor will be checking in with the student throughout the semester as well, so there will be communication between all three parties throughout the project.

Adjustments can be made if it is decided that the learning objectives are not being met.

Unforeseen circumstances may arise, so supervisors should try to be flexible and keep the activity somewhat fluid. IV. Oversight V. Reflection Reflection is an essential part of the student’s experience. Most reflection will take place in the classroom, but the community partner is also encouraged to participate.

Pose the “what, gut, so what, now what” questions

What am I seeing, hearing, feeling, experiencing or contributing?

How do I feel about my experience at this juncture?

So, what difference does this make to my education?

Now, what am I going to do with this new knowledge?

Take a few minutes each time the student visits to ask about the experience the student is having and how it’s affecting his/her education.

Is the project meeting learning and community objectives?

What could improve? VI. Evaluation For the service activity to be worthwhile to the organization/agency/school, there has to have been a positive contribution to the mission of the organization.

Partners shouldn’t wait until the end of the student’s time commitment to find out if the experience is satisfactory.

Campus partners will provide a simple-to-use evaluation form, which they are encouraged to share with the student.

Students will also evaluate the experience, and community partners may request that information from the campus partner. Partners have agreed upon mission, values, goals and measurable outcomes for the partnership.

The relationship between partners is characterized by mutual trust, respect, genuineness and commitment.

The partnership builds upon identified strengths and assets, but also addresses areas that need improvement.

The partnership balances the power among the partners and enables resources among partners to be shared.

There is clear, open and accessible communication between partners, making it an ongoing priority to listen to each need, develop a common language, and validate/clarify the meaning of terms.

Roles, norms and processes for the partnership are established with the input and agreement of all partners.

There is feedback to, among and from all stakeholders in the partnership, with the goal of continuously improving the partnership and its outcomes.

Partners share the credit for the partnership’s accomplishments.

Partnerships take time to develop and evolve over time. Tips for a
Successful Partnership References Some segments taken from a former UI Service-Learning Presentation by Kelley Standal. “Service-Learning in Community-Based Organizations: A Practical Guide to Starting and Sustaining High-Quality Programs”
http://www.servicelearning.org/library/resource/8543 Additional Reading Adapted from Heffernan, K. (2001). Implementation in fundamentals of service learning course construction. Providence, RI: Campus Compact. For more great examples of service-learning projects around the nation, click here: Portland State University (video): California State University (video): http://bit.ly/eYRL6w http://bit.ly/gwq0BL University of Idaho Annual Reports: http://www.uidaho.edu/servicelearning/annual-reports http://www.promiseofplace.org/assets/files/PBE_Manual_03_Part2.pdf Additional Reading Building Strong Community Partnerships Cairn, Rich. Partner Power and Service-Learning Manual for Community-Based Organizations to Work with Schools. Serve Minnesota!.

Clark, D. National Park Service Conservation Study Institute, The Center for Place-based Learning and Community Engagement. (2008). Learning to make choices for the future: connecting public lands, schools, and communities through place-based learning and civic engagement. National Park Services.

Heffernan, K. (2001). Implementation in fundamentals of service learning course construction. Providence, RI: Campus Compact.

Hurd, C. (2007). The CSU service-learning program's guiding principles. The Institute for Learning and Teaching, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. Retrieved from http://teaching.colostate.edu/guides/servicelearning/principles_guidingprinciples.cfm

Scheibel, J., Bowley, E. M., & Jones, S. (2005). The promise of partnerships: Tapping into the college as a community asset. Providence, RI: Campus Compact.

Veach, L. (2008). Meaningful service with the community. Proceedings of the faculty development workshop office of leadership and service-learning (pp. 27-42). Greensboro, NC: University of North Carolina Greensboro. Benefits
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