Service-Learning & Civic Engagement


Faculty Service-Learning Committee
Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 12 Noon
Service & Learning Center
185 S. 300 West

I. Call to Order
Earl Mulderink called the meeting to order at 12:05 PM. In attendance: Lisa Assante (BUS), Steve Barney (HSS), Pam Branin (CSD), Briget Eastep (EDU), Boyd Fife (CIET), Karl Stevens (SCPS). Cindy Wright (SCI). Excused: Jeff Hanson (PVA), Matt Nickerson (Honors and Library), Lacie Jo Robinson (S&L Center), Beau Shakespear (Student).

II. Approval of Minutes
Minutes for the meeting of November 18, 2009, were approved without changes.

III. Reports
A. Chair’s Report
Earl Mulderink first mentioned a number of items relating to the Utah Campus Compact, including the annual conference scheduled for February 19-20, 2010, in Salt Lake City. He commended Steve Barney for submitting a presentation proposal (with Boyd Fife, Rachel Kirk, and Elise Leahy), and stated that the civic engagement budget will pay conference costs for SUU participants. Earl noted that he and Pam will be responding to a UCC questionnaire and asked committee members to submit templates or other information if they have not done so. Next, Earl distributed a copy of the form letter and application used to generate interest in and applications for the annual Service-Learning Fellows program. He promised to include several suggestions in revamped materials. Earl wondered about the best days and times to meet in Spring 2010 and a consensus seemed to be second or fourth Wednesdays at 12 Noon. In response to Earl’s query about potential guests to invite, the following names were suggested: Patrick Clarke, individual college deans, Alan Hamlin, Bill O’Neill, and Kelly Stephens. Finally, Earl asked for suggestions about improving the effectiveness of the committee. Briget suggested more “action items” and “to do lists,” and Steve urged that we review the committee’s strategic plan and purpose.

B. Pam Branin, Coordinator of the Service & Learning Center
Pam discussed several issues that included the Sub for Santa and Holiday Assistance programs, Alternative Winter and Spring Breaks (including Habitat for Humanity efforts in Taos, NM, and Tacoma, WA), and the next Bread & Soup Nite on Monday, December 7. Pam explained the difficulties she encountered when she and Jeb Branin were turned away at the Mexico border with donations before Thanksgiving. The new policy by the Mexican government will force changes to bringing supplies and donations to Guaymas and surrounding communities.

IV. New Business
A. Discussion about “Experiential Learning Requirement”

Earl distributed a handout about a proposed “Experiential Learning Requirement” (ELR) matrix and a brief explanation of Kolb’s theory of experiential learning. He asked for comments after describing the ELR focus group that includes Pam Branin, Briget Eastep, and many others. Lisa Assante pointed out that the School of Business now has a similar requirement in the General Catalog and that service-learning is an important component. She also mentioned her own course syllabi that addresses Kolb’s and Bloom’s concepts of learning. Briget raised a concern about the development of new courses and requirements versus the use of extant options and opportunities. Another question centered on whether the ELR had to be credit-bearing or not. In response to Earl’s declaration that he thought service-learning should be a credit-bearing requirement, several committee members expressed disagreement. Concerns were raised about the need for more or more dedicated advisors to provide oversight of portfolios and reflection exercises. What role would be played by the Faculty Service-Learning Committee if an ELR is institutionalized? It was suggested that we meet with Kelly Lid Stephens, the new director of the FYE, to discuss better integration of service-learning into the UNIV 1000 program. Karl Stevens wondered if a service-learning course could span more than one semester, and pointed out that a sophomore-level course requirement might work better because there are fewer sophomores than first-year students. Pam Branin talked about her positive experience in teaching a 2120 service-learning course with about 45 service hours expected out of class. To wrap up the wide-ranging discussion, Earl promised to keep committee members informed about the ELR focus group.

B. Service-Learning Course Proposal Criteria (Subcommittee chaired by Lisa Assante)

Lisa shared a revised version of the course application form and most agreed that it was an improvement. Steve Barney wondered if we needed a new form or just a checklist. Lisa explained that we revised the application to obtain more useful information and to ensure more successful applications. Although we discussed the need for a liability statement or waiver of risk, nothing was resolved and Earl promised to follow up with university counsel Mike Carter. In this context, Pam reported that she has contracted with EBI to do background checks on students serving “vulnerable” populations at a cost of about $6 per student. Several committee members (Boyd, Briget, and Cindy) promised that they would try the new course application form before we open it up to other faculty. We also discussed the current lack of incentives for faculty to follow through on seeking official designation of service-learning classes. With respect to required minimum hours or weighting for an official service-learning course, it was agreed to aim for a minimum of twenty (20) hours of inclusive time for service-learning preparation, activities, and reflection, and to suggest a minimum weight of twenty per cent (20%) for a required service-learning component.

C. Other

Lisa mentioned an event on campus called ProStart, slated for January 27, 2010, at which she wanted to promote service-learning and sought assistance.

Briget suggested that we look into an eLearning site that would help faculty learn more about service-learning. Also, the use of Google Docs was mentioned as a possible format for instructional materials.

V. Old Business
A. Curricular Issues and Course Proposals
1. Nursing (Rebecca Rasmussen)
2. Management (Alan Hamlin)
Earl wondered if we should ask these faculty members to use new course application forms. The consensus was that we should review their applications with the old forms.

VI. Adjournment
Meeting adjourned at 1:25 PM.