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Faculty Reward and Recognition  

To start this discussion, it would be great to have a sense of what can be done in the way of faculty rewards and recognition for doing a service learning project. Does SL "count" towards your promotion and tenure portfolio? Is there institutional recognition for SL courses and profs? To do a SL project are you likely to receive a) encouragement and maybe even tangible support, b) benign neglect, or c) a negative or even hostile reception (from faculty peers, dept chair, etc.)? In your experience, is SL recognized and rewarded in any formal way as part of your teaching/service effort? What type of recogniton or reward would you like to receive?


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No rewards. No consideration. In your above list it is luckily a (b) for something that is not really "academic" (whatever it means) ... I don't really talk much about when I do something different because I don't want to incur in a (c) kind of type of reaction.

I implement SL because I think is important and a really rich experience.
So ... I will document learning, students feedback, student projects, partner feedback and hopefully grant money (that usually convince many)to LATER make a case for recognition (alas, can take time but it is for a good cause!)


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I definitely see a difference among the institutions we represent with respect to the likely reinforcement. We (MT State) are reminded weekly that "we are a Carnegie I Research University and you'd better raise some more grant dollars soon." Those of you in both private colleges and community colleges have stronger ties to both the community and the student learning outcomes - service learning is a natural way to engage both talented and unmotivated students. Dave and I were commenting that, when our class cap was raised from 40 (two labs) to 60 (3 sections), we had to streamline the service learning component in the guise of "educational efficiency".


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There is definitely support for service learning at my institution (we are a private, independent college). Recently, our science education program applied for a service learning grant through a campus consortium partnership. We were funded and those of us teaching in the program did receive a small stipend for that semester. Beyond some financial incentives (provided we write grants) I feel like there is very little recognition for what we, and our students, do. Demonstrated service to the college and civic community is part of the criteria for tenure, but the service must be outside of school obligations. Even though I may spend significant time working with the students on these projects, it is not clear if this service will actually 'count' in the long run.


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To follow up on a conversation during Renee's presentation on ease of developing SL in science vs humanities -
I think perhaps the political bent of your area makes a difference from the community side, but ALSO the science faculty here on campus do not value SL in science - the science content is more important. Perhaps we are backwards.


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At one institution at which I taught, the administration was pro-servvice learning but when it came to tenure; my colleagues didn't think it counted.

At my current institution, there is no tenure (5 year contracts instead). Service-learning is clearly valued. WE have a core set of environmental courses each studnet must take and service is required in several of them. Service is tied to many courses (as service-learning activities).


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Unfortunately there's often a discrepancy between what an administration says and what they do. I think one advantage of a Center/Office for service learning is that it can help junior faculty incorporate SL into their courses, do some to the set-up leg work, such as finding community partners, help them to get funding and negotiate the teaching evaluations. Our junior faculty have been pretty open to SL, but it does take more time and it's hard to put that in the very strict equation of what counts for tenure (teaching evaluations and papers). Senior faculty, are willing to incorporate SL, but they are usually the ones whose research programs have slowed significantly. I guess that adds a bit of stigma, especially in some departments.


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Campus Compact Resources. The CC has been working hard on this issue from an institutional and an individual viewpoint. They are developing excellent resources. You can find them at:


Yes, it does say "at research universities", but much of the material pertains to any of us.



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