Service-Learning & Civic Engagement


Faculty Service-Learning Committee
Monday, April 18, 2011, 12 Noon
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), Amy Dean (VISTA), Shayla Hill (Student), Lacie Jo Robinson (S&L Center), Cindy Wright (SCI). Excused: Lisa Assante (BUS), Briget Eastep (EDU), Boyd Fife (CIET), Jeff Hanson (PVA), Karl Stevens (SCPS).

II. Approval of Minutes

Minutes were approved for the meeting of March 23, 2011.

III. Reports

A. Chair’s Report

Earl Mulderink welcomed everyone and thanked Pam Branin, Lacie Jo Robinson, Amy Dean, and Andreah Decker for their work in organizing last week’s Thank You and Recognition Event. Feedback and suggestions included: encouraging attendance by community partners; send invitations sooner; require student participation; allow recipients to make remarks; offer entertainment; use videos and PowerPoints as audiovisual background. Next, Earl showed the plaque and check awarded to Service-Learning Pioneer Boyd Fife. He provided a brief update on the expected move in the summer to the new “Community Engagement Center.” Earl distributed information sheets about President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Challenge, an issue discussed with Pam Branin and Kurt Harris. Committee members are welcome to assist. Next, Earl wondered if anyone had suggestions for hiring a work-study student next year. Earl displayed the new SUU General Catalog that includes explicit information about the Experiential Education Requirement (EER) that has been a focal point all year. Finally, he mentioned that SUU will procure an institutional membership in the International Partnership for Service-Learning with funds from the civic engagement budget. IPSL will provide students with more opportunities for international service along with ideas to improve our faculty-led programs.

B. Pam Branin, Coordinator of the Service & Learning Center

Pam Branin offered details about a full-time summer VISTA volunteer who will be hired to assist with educational enrichment, possibly in conjunction with the USDA Summer Lunch Program organized by the Community Presbyterian Church. Pam was pleased to report that twenty-two new student service leaders were selected for 2011-2012 and they will receive their first training on May 9-10. Pam credited student service leader Scott Sessions for his excellent work in promoting National Volunteer Service Week. Finally, Pam asked Amy Dean to display her video about alternative break trips. This video will be used for promotional purposes on Facebook and for recruitment activities.

C. Other Reports

Lacie Jo Robinson discussed the impressive growth of AmeriCorps funding to 154 slots for next year. Although the UCAN Serve program will officially terminate at the end of May 2011, SUU may still have some students in the program as they fulfill their commitments. Lacie explained how the program has been better administered this year with plans for continued improvement next year, possibly with further growth and funding through the Utah Campus Compact.

IV. New Business

A. Service-Learning Course Designation Policy and Criteria

Earl distributed a copy of Weber State University’s criteria and application form for Community-Based Learning (CBL) classes and invited discussion. Steve Barney explained that when SUU first devised criteria for service-learning classes, it was hoped that such designations could be applied to sections and/or instructors, not just to courses. He pointed out that SUU’s new Registrar, John Allred, is accommodating in our use of Banner for course designation, so we should be able to separate “SL” sections when desired. Cindy Wright suggested that we need to make it easier or more enticing for faculty to pursue official service-learning designation. Steve mentioned that we may want to offer mini-grants to encourage the same. Earl wondered about maintaining the “SL” designations in the Catalog for courses with multiple sections. It was suggested that all Service-Learning Fellows be encouraged to submit applications for their courses to be approved as “SL” classes. To conclude the discussion, Earl promised to work on this through the early summer so that a better policy and possibly incentives would be in place before the start of Fall 2011.

B. IRB Process for Service-Learning Courses

After distributing some emails and information about SUU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) criteria, Earl requested feedback. Committee members agreed that the IRB is not needed for most service and service-learning activities and programs, unless students are engaged in a clear research component (e.g., surveys, formal interviews, plans for dissemination off campus, etc.) that may require IRB approval. Steve mentioned that the IRB process is important for absorbing liability associated with research. We agreed to ponder our extant liability waivers and risk management practices, particularly in the wake of risk management consultant’s campus visit for the EER program.

V. Old Business

VI. Adjournment

The last scheduled committee meeting of the year ended not with a bang but a whimper at 1:00 PM.