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Quarterly Service-Learning

A publication of the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center

What’s New in the VSLC? To ensure the effectiveness of service-learning efforts at ECU, the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center makes available an end-of-course service-learning survey for students. The Center encourages faculty members utilizing service-learning pedagogy in their classrooms to administer the survey each semester. The results help the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center to refine program components, while also providing valuable feedback about the student’s service experience for faculty. The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete, and is available to students online. Due to budget restraints, the Center will not provide hard copies of the survey until further notice. Data collected includes information about service activities, reflection, connections between coursework and community experiences, diversity, safety, preparation and more. Last semester, 55 percent of students surveyed reported that service-learning helped them better understand course lectures and readings, 88 percent of students surveyed reported that service-learning helped them better understand community needs, and 54 percent of students surveyed agreed that ECU should offer more service-learning courses. To request a preview copy of the end-of-course servicelearning survey, or for more information about administering the survey to your students, please contact Jessica Gagne Cloutier at gagnej@ecu.edu.

Community Partner Spotlight Call for New Community Partnerships Each year, more than 10,000 ECU students participate in service related activities in communities across eastern North Carolina. Last year, their impact was valued at more than 2.5 million dollars, 32,000 pounds of donated food and 1,500 units of blood. The Volunteer and Service-Learning Center would like to see more local organizations benefit from the time and talents of our students, so we are asking for your help. If you know of a non profit, governmental, or human service agency that would benefit from a formal partnership with ECU, please send us a message that includes the organizations name, contact information and mission. The Center will arrange a site visit, and hopefully, sign a mutually beneficial MoU. Community partner recommendations should be e-mailed to vslc@ecu.edu Benefits of being a community partner include the following: •free registration to the ECU Conference on Service-Learning •participation in on-campus service fairs •invitations to community partner workshops and brown bags •advertisement of service opportunities online and in the printed service opportunities guide

Next Spotlight: Girl Scouts-North Carolina Coastal Pines

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ECU Faculty Spotlight Craig Becker Health Education & Promotion

Hot Topics Publications of Interest Quarterly Reflection Activity

Calls for Papers Grants & Funding Opportunities Conferences & Events


East Carolina University

Faculty Spotlight

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“¡Sí se puede! Yes, it can be done!” -César E. Chávez

Dr. Craig Becker, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Education and Promotion, and recipient of a 2008-2009 ECU Scholar-Teacher Award, started utilizing service-learning pedagogy in 2005. Each semester, his Health 4604 students complete 15 hours of service in community health settings, applying health promotion principles and theory to meet demonstrated needs in local nonprofit and human service organizations. What motivated you to utilize service-learning pedagogy in your class? Something was missing in my class and the students were having trouble connecting theory with practice. To help students make the connection, I was looking for some way for students to apply what they were learning and service-learning provided that opportunity. How does service-learning impact student learning in your course? There are several impacts on student learning from their service-learning experience. The experiences help students connect what they are learning to real life, make professional contacts, gain professional experience, and students are able to add these experiences to their resume. These additional real life experiences provide them with an added edge in the job market when they begin to look for jobs, which is especially valuable with today’s market. These experiences also give them additional professional contacts and some of these experience have led them to permanent jobs after graduation How does service-learning impact (challenge or benefit) your teaching? It helps me be a better teacher. No longer do they see what I am teaching as theoretical, but they learn that what they hear about in class is valuable and useful in real life settings. They learn things that they could not learn in the class at their service-learning location and what they learn benefits all I do in the classroom. Can you provide an example of a student service-learning project from your class, and how it benefitted the community? All of the student experiences benefit the community. Some memorable examples I learned about in reflection papers were from their times at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club where they were able to help students not only with activity and nutrition, but also with their academics. Other students found great value in working with special needs populations during events with Campus Recreation and Wellness, and others had rewarding experiences working with senior populations. What types of reflection do you use to help students bridge course theory with service in the community? I have students write 4-5 page reflection papers where I ask them to respond to four questions: What did they do? What did they learn from the experience they couldn’t have learned in the classroom? How does their experience relate to the health field and what they hope to do after graduation? What would be the impact if the service or program you worked at did not exist? I also ask them to cite relevant theories or models they saw in action at the location where they completed their service-learning. What advice would you share with faculty interested in utilizing service-learning pedagogy? Utilize the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. They do a great and thorough job by assisting students in helping them get a valuable experience. They are thorough and help all the students.


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Hot Topics

Publications of Interest

“The semester is nearly over, and I have students who have not yet started their service component. How can I help them?”

Best Sellers Heffernan, K. (2001) Fundamentals of ServiceLearning Course Construction. Providence, RI: Campus Compact.

Each semester, local community partners are bombarded by service-learning procrastinators. These students make frantic calls, begging to schedule 10 or more service hours in the last 2-3 weeks of class, unaware of the extraordinary burden they place on the organizations they’re seeking to “help.” If you have students who need last minute service hours (whether for a service-learning component or extra credit) please direct them to the following resource: www.ecu.edu/cs-studentlife/volunteer/calendar.cfm This online calendar of events showcases service opportunities available to students throughout the year. By serving at these events, students are meeting genuine community needs without creating unnecessary hardship for our local partners. It’s a positive compromise for a difficult dilemma!

Eyler, J. & Giles, D. (1999) Where’s the Learning in Service-Learning? San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Zlotkowski, E. (1996-2006) Service-Learning in the Disciplines Series. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC. The Service-Learning in the Discipline series discusses how service-learning can be implemented within disciplines including: environmental studies, philosophy, nursing, history, Spanish, medical education, sociology, political science, architecture, biology, psychology, communication, composition, and more.

Art for Art’s Sake

Students often “get stuck” in the reflection process, focusing their attention on superficial observations, rather than on the underlying issues that make the service necessary, or how their service connects course and community. The following activity encourages students to ask critical questions, deepening their understanding of course theory and community needs. After reading the following newspaper headline“Local School District to End Extracurricular Activities,”- concerned college students in a community-based learning course decided to work with a local high school to raise money to keep its fine arts programs alive for one more year. The college students planned to get donations from community businesses for a silent auction that would take place during a talent show performed by the high school students. Assume that you are one of the college students and that this is your service-learning project. Use the following questions to explore the issues at the heart of this community dilemma.

1) Was this type of project necessary? Why or why not? 2) How does it help meet community needs? 3) How might the project be avoiding larger community, political, and societal issues? 4) What project could the class do instead to address these larger issues? 5) What information, ideas, theories, and/or conceptual models from your academic coursework might provide insight into these community challenges and offer possible solutions? 6) Finally, use these questions to evaluate the impact of your personal service-learning activities.

Quarterly Reflection Activity

Cress, C.M. (2005). Learning Through Serving. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.


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Calls for Papers

Grants and Funding Opportunities

3rd International Symposium on Service-Learning Universities increasingly are embracing servicelearning as a model to integrate community service with learning and research. The symposium encourages participants to explore a wide range of issues related to research, curriculum design, assessment, institutional support, community connections and partnerships, and student development with the goal of providing participants with perspective in critical issues, paradigms, and challenges in service-learning in higher education. Submissions must be received by March 30, 2009. For a full call for papers/abstracts visit: www.uindy.edu/issl2009.

The National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program seeks to improve the quality of (STEM ) education for all undergraduate students. It especially welcomes proposals that have the potential to transform undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for all students. Grants will range from $200,000 to $5,000,000. Proposals are due May 21, 2009. A full description of the grant and grant guidelines is available at: www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key+nsf09529

Conferences and Events Strategies for Student Success: High-Impact Educational Practices that Matter May 1, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT www.vtcampuscompact.org/Strategies_student_success_kuh.php

Mark Your Calendars! If you need assistance identifying community partnerships for the fall semester, please contact the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center by June 30, 2009

Reciprocal Partnerships: Transforming Higher Education and Community for the Future May 18-19, Portland State University, Portland, OR www.pdx.edu/cae/partnership.html The 5th Annual Symposium on Service-Learning & Civic Engagement June 11, 2009, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC www.wcu.edu/9818.asp Greater Expectations Institute: Campus Leadership for Student Engagement, Inclusion and Achievement June 17-21, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT www.aacu.org/meetings/gexinstitute/index.cfm

Volunteer and Service-Learning Center Old Cafeteria Complex 252.328.2735 (phone) 252.328.0139 (fax) www.ecu.edu/vslc • vslc@ecu.edu Judy Baker, Institutional and Community Development Consultant Jessica Gagne Cloutier, Service-Learning Coordinator Michael Loeffelman, Volunteer Coordinator Shawn Moore, Community Partner Coordinator

Spring Edition 2009


Service Learning Newsletter Spring 2009