Service-Learning & Civic Engagement


Faculty Service-Learning Committee
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Registrar’s Conference Room, 12 PM

Meeting was called to order by Earl Mulderink at 12:05 PM. In attendance: Steve Barney (HSS), Pam Branin (CSD), Neal Cox (Student Services), Mark Grover (SCI), Larry Johnson (PVA), Matt Nickerson (LIB & Honors Program), Karl Stevens (SCPS), Denise Woodbury (BUS). Excused: Briget Eastep (EDU), Blair McDonald (CIET), Dane Hess (Student Representative).

Approval of Minutes

Minutes for the meeting of September 12, 2006, were approved without changes.

Chair’s Report

Earl distributed and discussed a number of items. First, he shared the new homepage for the SL&CE web site that had been created by Jill Whitaker. He urged committee members to submit syllabi and course materials to Jill, and to encourage other faculty to do the same. Also, Earl mentioned that David Richardson’s advanced graphic design students will be developing web and print materials and on behalf of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. Next, Earl noted that he and other “faculty directors” (Elise Leahy, Matt Nickerson, and Lynn White) held their first monthly meeting with Provost Abe Harraf, and asked committee members for suggestions and ideas. Third, Earl thanked committee members (Steve Barney, Briget Eastep, Blair McDonald, and Denise Woodbury) who represented SUU at Dixie State College on September 18, 2006. We will plan to reciprocate with a similar gathering here at SUU in Spring semester. Next, Earl reported on his visits with faculty coordinators at UVSC and Westminster College on October 20, 2006, with an aim of learning more about their respective programs to help our own. Finally, all committee members were invited again to forthcoming events sponsored by the Utah Campus Compact, particularly the Dialogue on Democracy, November 14, 2006, and the Moab Engaged Scholar Institute, scheduled for February 23-24, 2006.

In discussing these issues, Karl mentioned that state hotel rates are available in SLC, and Earl reiterated his desire to support and fund committee members’ participation in UCC-sponsored events. Also, Pam reported that the UCC will convene its meeting of Campus Service Directors here at SUU in early June 2007, and she wanted to encourage faculty support and participation. Pam also offered an update on the search to replace Linda Dunn, the UCC Executive Director. Pam serves on the state-wide search committee that will interview finalists in November with the expectation that a new Executive Director will be aboard in January 2007. As another point of information, Earl mentioned that he had met Jason Slack, an SUU alumnus, who is now teaching at UVSC and “engaged” in service-learning. Jason could be a presenter for a spring meeting since he has researched and presented on developing “reflection” in service-learning activities.

New Business

As we moved into a discussion of “new business,” Earl expressed his wish that committee members choose one area to focus their individual efforts.

The first item centered on establishing “Objectives for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, 2006-2007.” To prompt discussion, Earl distributed a copy of the recent “Objectives” from Westminster College’s recently-established Center for Civic Engagement. In addition, he plans to distribute the recent “Strategic Plan” developed at SUU by Lynn White on behalf of Undergraduate Research. Neal and Karl expressed interest in developing a strategic plan for this committee, with Neal noting that Student Services is completing a Strategic Plan that could be useful for our committee.

A second point of discussion centered on the establishment of “SUU Faculty Fellows,” possibly by following UVSC’s established and successful program. There, eight to nine Service-Learning Faculty Fellows are named each semester, with individuals receiving a cash honorarium of $750 in exchange for implementing service-learning in at least one course and participating in six hour-long seminars. Denise and Steve expressed interest in working on this program. In discussing the parameters of a fellows program, there was some consensus to reward “educators” (and not just faculty) so that staff might be eligible for these honors. In addition, there was some agreement that the honorarium should be substantial, perhaps $1,000 per person, to make it more visible and meaningful. Matt raised the point that awards might be flexible so monies could be used for resources and materials. Also, Earl offered to find out the best way to disburse awards so that it was not treated as an “overload”; furthermore, he suggested that current committee members should not be excluded from applying for the program. Finally, there was agreement that these “Engaged Educators” be recognized through a campus event and LRT policies.

A third issue focused on the designation of “Service-Learning” courses, perhaps by drawing on policies and forms used at UVSC and DSC. This long-standing issue has gone unresolved, and is rendered by more complex by varied curricular issues. Pam, Mark, and Larry all volunteered to address this issue, perhaps by working with curriculum committees across campus.

The last item considered was about the call for proposals from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and their new program in “Core Commitments: Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility.” In general, committee members believed this grant may be worthy of pursuit. Suggestions included reaching out to community members, to the Center for Politics and Public Service, to those involved Study Abroad and Hispanic Studies, and to upper-level administrators. Earl agreed to host another meeting of interested people to discuss the grant.

Committee members agreed to meet again on November 15, 2006, at Noon in the same room, with lunch provided. This meeting adjourned at 1:00 PM.