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« Service Learning Workshop Discussions
What is the role of service learning
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If you are thinking of adopting SL or expanding your efforts in this regard, it it is very helpful to know where your institution officially stands on the subject. This sometimes resides in the President's Goals or the College/University Mission statement. Some years back I did a workshop at Keene State College in NH and looked up their mission statement ahead of time. Here is "part" of what it says, "It is the mission of Keene State College to provide and maintain an intellectual environment grounded in the liberal arts that fosters both the personal and professional growth of our students. In support of this mission the College promotes and sustains strong relationships among students, faculty, and staff that emphasize creative and critical thinking, scholarship and research, and a passion for learning. Through a mature commitment to learning and service, students will be able to integrate different forms of knowledge and will graduate with substantive knowledge in a chosen field of study. Through retaining and supporting a caring staff and a faculty of effective teachers and active scholars, the College prepares students for success in a complex, interdependent world."
Wonderfully supportive statement and there other equally supportive elements I am leaving out. SL is really taking off at KSC.
More recently I did a SL talk at a nearby Landgrant/Seagrant institution which will remain nameless and searched the web site for any mention of SL This is what I found
Yes, nothing. SL is not expanding at this institution. There are individual faculty who are doing great things on their own, but they have had to struggle with the support of sympathetic chairs.
These differences are not uncommon across the country. So, if you want to do (more) SL, it is important to know where your institution stands. I know I am really interested to hear what each of you has to say.
BTW, the Campus Compact (http://campuscompact.org/) is a national organization formed by college presidents, to strengthen academic/community ties, engaging students in their community through their classwork. Has your campus (president) signed on?
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Our vision is for sustainable, affordable, quality water for Texans, our economy, and our environment.
Since our agency works with water supply entities such as groundwater districts, river authorities, municipalities and schools, we hope to use service learning as a means of building understanding in Texas communities about the challenges facing our state in regards to the future water supply. We also hope that real-world problems surrounding water can be used to educate our citizens and encourage them to take action to help meet this challenge.
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At our college we have the Colin Powell Center For Policy Studies which has a Service-Learning Program. The center supports faculty interested in SL by small fellowship/ training/ workshop and one-to one help
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We view service learning as a active learning experience that,in addition to meeting pedagogical standards, also connects students to issues that impact citizens.
The most active service learning opportunities at Unity are related to issue advocacy, working in the school systems, and the water/sediment quality work in my program.
Local NGOs are supportive of any of our efforts that help them to meet their missions. to me that is not quite the same as having a group come forward to request assistance on a particular problem.
That said, it sometimes seems like we have little money to support efforts with any cost associated with it.
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One of the college's Strategic Goals is "to enhance the economic, social and cultural vitality of our communities". "Georgia Perimeter College is a vital partner in the success of our communities. Along with our success, size and multiple locations, comes a responsibility to share our valuable resources with others. We will bring our human capital to our communities through innovative learning opportunities for our students and improved partnerships
with other educational institutions, business, industry and
government agencies to strengthen the future of our communities.
To accomplish this goal, Georgia Perimeter College will establish an office of civic engagement to link the college’s human capital with the needs of our communities through service learning, internship and experiential learning opportunities; ..."
They are very interested in having geology classes perform service learning projects at Stone Mountain Park, which is about 5 miles from my campus.
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Thanks Bill, The office of service learning at Tulane is a wonderful resource and they publish a full listing of brief descriptions of every service learning project each semester. I'm posting the URL here because there are several project descriptions that may be useful for developing ideas:
Many of the science related projects involve educational outreach.
This workshop has been enormously helpful thus far in helping me to outline the steps that I need to take to begin to set-up a service learning project. One of the first steps is to talk with the Center for Public Service. I am thinking more and more of exploring the possibility of limiting enrollment in the service learning component of the course. This may be necessary to provide the individual attention to each student and develop the sense of community.
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