Thanks to all who attended the recent Service Learning (SL)workshop. Your willingness to take the time out of your busy schedules to learn more about this important endeavor is greatly appreciated. The workshop was entitled Service Learning: A Renewalas we (CAT-FD and CSI [the Center for Student Involvement]) are focused on enhancing SL courses and the SL experience on Xavier’s campus. Along those lines, we have streamlined the process of SL course proposal submission, with proposals now submitted online. The advantage of submitting proposals is an “SL” designation for the respective course on Banner Web. Proposal submission also allows us to anticipate and provide appropriate logistical support for SL courses.
As the Faculty in Residence -SL, I will be working with faculty to ensure that SL courses are pedagogically sound and achieve course learning objectives. I will also focus on whether reflection is integral piece of SL and, with a great deal of help from Ms. Kendra Warren, provide logistical support. The overall goal of proposal submission is not to “accept” or “reject” any given proposal. Rather it is to work with faculty to ensure a sound, effective, and smooth (as possible) SL project.
At the Service Learning: A Renewalworkshop we discussed the importance of developing a SL project with a community partner in mind, as SL consists of collaboration with a community partner; a collaboration from which the community partner clearly benefits. We also focused on the importance of reflection in SL. This reflection can take many forms (e.g., a journal, class discussion, and/or paper assignment), should be a component of the course grade, and occur consistently throughout the semester. In essence SL should be an integral component of the course and course grade. However, that component should not merely consist of attendance at the SL site.
SL can take many forms, ranging from direct SL (e.g., tutoring middle school students) to research-based SL (e.g., writing a guide on available community resources). The form of SL is not necessarily important. Whether SL is consistent with the nature of the course and fosters achievement of learning outcomes is.
I look forward to hearing from and supporting faculty in their SL endeavors. If you have questions, are interested in submitting a SL proposal, or are curious about other upcoming SL activities, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).