Service-Learning & Civic Engagement


Faculty Service-Learning Committee
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Service & Learning Center
185 S. 300 West

I. Call to Order
Earl Mulderink called the meeting to order at 12:00 PM. In attendance: Steve Barney (HSS), Pam Branin (CSD), Boyd Fife (CIET), Beau Shakespear (Student), Karl Stevens (SCPS), Cindy Wright (SCI), Lacie Jo Robinson (S&L Center). Excused: Lisa Assante (BUS), Briget Eastep (EDU), Jeff Hanson (PVA), Matt Nickerson (Honors and Library). Guest: Provost Brad Cook.

II. Approval of Minutes
Minutes for the meeting of September 23, 2009, were approved without changes.

III. Reports
A. Chair’s Report
After welcoming committee members and special guest Provost Brad Cook, Earl discussed several items, starting with SUU’s anticipated application for the President’s Community Service Honor Roll. Several colleagues have complied in submitting templates that will assist Earl and Pam Branin in submitting an application prior to the October 29 deadline. Earl invited everyone to the forthcoming Service & Learning Center Open House and ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 23 starting at 5:30 PM, organized by Pam Branin and student service leaders. Earl next discussed international service-learning, first asking for comments about the recent Convocation focused on “Dado,” the documentary movie by Ben Peterson about Alternative Spring Break experiences in Mexico. Several committee members have “starring” roles in the film. Also, Earl distributed flyers for the Study Abroad program, “History and Service-Learning in Kenya,” slated for May-June 2010, and asked for help in publicizing the program.

The SUU Majors Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, November 4, and Earl suggested that we sponsor a table to promote the Service-Learning Scholars Program. He then shared with committee members copies of a recent scholarly article obtained by Steve Barney that examines “best practices” in service-learning. Finally, Earl mentioned that he has been exploring model programs in service-learning and civic engagement, and that he expects to soon distribute a list of exemplary programs for committee discussion.

B. Pam Branin, Coordinator of the Service & Learning Center
Pam Branin first discussed the tremendous initiative shown by student service leader Tina Swadly in encouraging faculty in the Sorenson College of Education to embrace service-learning. Tina has actively worked with fellow SUUSA senators, and Pam and Earl will meet with them on Wednesday, October 28, at 7 PM. Pam mentioned that, with Laci Jo Robinson’s assistance, SUU is compiling and publicizing information about the AmeriCorps teaching programs, some of which is funded through the Colorado Campus Compact. Betsy Ward, the new Executive Director of the Utah Campus Compact, will be visiting SUU in mid-November, with the hope of meeting with committee members on November 18. Pam mentioned that her weekly listserve of service activities is distributed to more than 1,100 individuals. Pam also offered more details about the Open House for the new Service & Learning Center.

IV. New Business
A. Discussion with Provost Brad Cook followed a brief digression to Item B. Provost Cook began by referring to the article shared earlier in the meeting about civic engagement, stating his hope that SUU can better integrate and institutionalize service-learning programs. He mentioned that the entire campus has gone through an intensive and nearly-complete review to determine “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats” as part of a larger strategic planning process. Service-learning has been mentioned frequently as a campus strength and opportunity, and Provost Cook foresees “engagement” as a key component of SUU’s experiential learning opportunities. Committee members willingly provided feedback about potential plans and challenges and agreed to act as a “sounding board” in future discussions. Following the Provost’s departure for a 1 PM meeting, committee members continued their conversation until 1:20 PM.

B. Because Lisa Assante was excused from the meeting, Earl distributed copies of her proposed Service-Learning Course Designation application and recent subcommittee meeting minutes. Everyone was urged to review the PDF file and send suggestions by email to Lisa and her student assistant, Becky Nielsen. The goal is align the application process with our committee’s expectations and policies for courses to be officially-designated as “service-learning.”

V. Old Business
None discussed.

VI. Adjournment
Meeting adjourned at 1:20 PM.