Service-Learning & Civic Engagement


Faculty Service-Learning Committee
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Registrar’s Conference Room, 12 Noon

I. Call to Order
Earl Mulderink called the meeting to order at 12:08 PM. In attendance Lisa Assante (BUS), Steve Barney (HSS), Pam Branin (CSD), Briget Eastep (EDU), Lacie Jo Robinson (Student), Karl Stevens (SCPS), and Cindy Wright (SCI). Excused: Scott Hansen (CIET), Jeff Hanson (PVA), Matt Nickerson (Honors and Library).

II. Approval of Minutes
Minutes for the meeting of February 25, 2009, were approved without changes.

III. Reports

A. Chair’s Report

Chair Earl Mulderink offered a number of informational items, beginning with a handout about the forthcoming online “Faculty Engagement Survey” that SUU is supporting in cooperation with the Utah Campus Compact and the Western Region Campus Compact Consortium. Committee members were asked to encourage faculty responses when the survey is made available between March 30 and April 10. If SUU has at least twenty respondents, we will receive detailed institutional data. Second, Earl mentioned that the UCC will host a statewide recognition event at the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City on April 7, 2009. SUU’s awardees are encouraged to attend: Civically-Engaged Scholar Briget Eastep, Civically-Engaged Staff Member Pam Branin, Civically-Engaged Student Lacie Jo Robinson, and Civically-Engaged Community Partner Paul Roelandt, Superintendent of Cedar Breaks National Monument. Our civic engagement budget can provide for roundtrip transportation in a university vehicle.

Discussion about the Alternative Spring Breaks ensued next, with Earl speaking about his experiences in Guaymas, Mexico. Pam Branin and Steve Barney also shared their perceptions, and we all agreed that the conversations should continue as we refine and strengthen these programs. Within this context, Pam shared a book, Students as Colleagues, that could offer a framework for understanding the dynamics and challenges of supervising student-led programs. Steve talked about the “rewarding” aspects of building a home and, with student assistants, of performing over 120 interviews in Guaymas. The next item centered on the awarding of a $250 Service-Learning Enhancement Grant to Boyd Fife for “Home Construction in Mexico During Alternative Spring Break.” Earl explained that this award was based on email feedback from committee members, and he raised concerns about funding and criteria for future requests. The committee agreed to keep the door open for considering new grant requests for this fiscal year.

Moving to a review of new “Service-Learning Scholars,” Earl shared a list of four students who plan to graduate in May 2009. He thanked committee members Steve Barney, Pam Branin, and Cindy Wright for their assistance on a subcommittee overseeing the completion of all program requirements, including a capstone project. The committee then learned about some impressive public relations efforts, including a cover and feature story about service-learning the SUU’s
alumni magazine, In View. Lisa Assante and Rita Osborn were featured. Also, Communication students Ben Peterson and Erik Nordberg continue to work on video projects to showcase the alternative breaks in Mexico and service-learning. Earl later introduced student Chris Holmes to the committee as he is preparing a radio feature about trips to Mexico.

Earl mentioned a few forthcoming UCC events that include Student Leader Training at USU on May 12, and Professional Development and Networking on June 3, 2009, at WSU. He asked for feedback from committee members for end-of-year meetings to be planned with administrators, such as Provost Decker, and he sought evaluations of his role as committee chair.

B. Other Reports

Pam Branin offered details and a handout about SUU’s participation in the national AmeriCorps program. Presently, 75 slots are awarded to the Service & Learning Center and another 30 are tied to the Rural Health Scholars program, nearly all of them for 300 hours or $1,000 per student. Pam is hopeful that an expanded staff will assist in building campus awareness of and participation in the program, especially among students who seek practicum and internship experience. It was suggested that we can upgrade our web site, and much pertinent information is presently available at Briget Eastep offered to help in improving College of Education cooperation with AmeriCorps opportunities.

IV. New Business

A. Service-Learning Course Designation Applications
1. Nursing 4335, Rebecca Rasmusson
Because of time constraints, committee members agreed to review this application and respond via email.

B. 2009 Service-Learning Fellows

Following a review of criteria for the 2009 Fellows program, all submitted applications were evaluated and ranked. Three new Fellows were selected, each to receive an honorarium of $750 and public recognition at the annual Faculty-Student Scholarship Recognition Event on April 22: John Ault, Psychology; Rita Osborn, Rural Health Scholars; and David Schwalb, Psychology. Committee members discussed at length ways to strengthen the application process and criteria. For example, some applications this year did not include explicit descriptions of service-learning in course syllabi or of the requisite number of service hours (which varied from undetermined to more than 30 hours per semester). To improve future applications, committee members agreed to closely oversee applications from college colleagues, to place successful previous applications on the web site, to offer workshops for interested faculty, and to establish tighter criteria (e.g., requiring more service hours and/or service-learning course designation).

V. Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 1:35. The next meeting will be Wednesday, April 15, at 12 Noon in the Registrar’s Conference Room.