Service-Learning & Civic Engagement


Faculty Service-Learning Committee
Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Registrar’s Conference Room, 4 PM

Meeting was called to order by Earl Mulderink at 4:05 PM. In attendance: Steve Barney (HSS), Larry Johnson (PVA), Blair McDonald (CIET), Matt Nickerson (Honors Program), Karl Stevens (SCPS). Excused: Pam Branin (CSD), John Bryner (LIB), Neal Cox (Student Services), Mark Grover (SCI), Jo Kremin (Student Representative), Denise Woodbury (BUS).

Approval of Minutes (February 21, 2006)
The minutes were approved without corrections by a unanimous vote.

Chair’s Report
Earl distributed materials related to Alternative Winter and Spring Breaks, including detailed evaluation instruments used by Rita Osborn, Director of the Utah Rural Scholars Program that sent seventeen pre-med and pre-dental students to Mexico over Spring Break. Earl explained that he attended an early morning meeting of the URS students who related their excellent learning experiences in Mexico. Earl also shared a letter from Ron Cardon, now SUU’s Associate Director of Alumni Relations, who served as advisor for that group’s trip. Earl emphasized that students’ reflections and world-of-mouth reports often offer the best advertising for all forms of civic engagement, such as Alternative Breaks.

Earl shared materials that Linda Dunn, Executive Director of the Utah Campus Compact, had circulated at a meeting on March 23 with Provost Abe Harraf, SUUSA President Keith and President-Elect Kiisel, Owen Anderson, Pam Branin, Neal Cox, Blair McDonald, and himself. Linda discussed findings from the Faculty Engagement Survey and everyone discussed our campus engagement. Among other issues, we talked about creating a “community cluster” to focus on shared civic engagement opportunities with schools such as Weber State University. Also, at the suggestion of SUUSA President Micah Paul Keith, we discussed the feasibility of adding fees or extra-credit to support service-learning courses. Provost Harraf mentioned his desire to bring in service-learning scholars to provide faculty training. Pam Branin and Neal Cox both explained that the recent increase to $2 per student should provide more operational funding for the Service Learning Center. All of Linda’s handouts, including “Preliminary Findings,” were shared with members of this committee.

Earl reiterated that SUU nominated Cindy Wright, Jo Kremin, and Carol Bolsover of Iron County Care and Share to be recognized at the UCC Recognition Event in Salt Lake City on April 4. We briefly talked about ways to recognize and support faculty and staff on this campus. One thought was to combine with other academic programs, such as Honors, to create a larger and more visible event.

Committee Reports

Faculty Development and Training (Earl Mulderink)
Earl concurred that he should meet with Provost Harraf to plan training opportunities with faculty, perhaps at the opening meetings of the academic year. Steve Barney mentioned that he has prepared an academic paper that he is willing to present on campus. Steve stated that faculty often do not know what service-learning is – and is not – and he reiterated that service-learning must meet “community-identified needs.” Blair McDonald suggested that some faculty are “ignorant” about the learning components of service-learning to focus instead on service.

LRT Policies and Consideration (Steve Barney and Matt Nickerson)
Steve stated that the Faculty Senate directed his concerns to the Academic Affairs Committee, which then suggested that Department LRT Committees should first consider LRT issues. We discussed the possibility of using time during New Faculty Orientation each August to promote civic education. Matt mentioned that he had worked on a summary statement about service-learning in LRT policies based on his research of other institutions’ efforts, particularly those of Portland State University, the University of Utah, and the AAHE. Matt underscored his point that faculty can “play the game” using current rules and policies here at SUU. Steve reminded everyone that relevant articles about PSU and other institutions’ LRT policies can be found in the Service-Learning Toolkit distributed to all committee members.

Service-Learning in the Curriculum (Blair McDonald, Larry Johnson, and Mark Grover)
These faculty met before Spring Break with Pam Branin and focused on several issues: 1) expanding the Catalog information about service-learning; 2) bringing about transcript notations for service-learning courses through the Registrar’s Office; 3) ensuring rigor and consistency in evaluating service-learning coursework; and 4) creating a process and policy to approve service-learning designated courses. Karl Stevens wondered about ways to incorporate service-learning into distance education courses. Mention was made of Tom Cunningham’s efforts to integrate service-learning into an ESL course that includes online delivery. (By the way, Owen Anderson agreed to sit on this committee, too.)

Web Site Revisions (John Bryner and Karl Stevens)
Karl asked for feedback about the desired content and format for our site.

New Business
The next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, April 18, at 4 PM.

Meeting was adjourned at 5:00 PM.