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Quarterly Service-Learning

A publication of the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center

What’s New in the VSLC? In January 2010 the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center will turn 20! To celebrate two decades of connecting campus and community, the Center will unveil new programs, greener documentation procedures, and even more community partnerships over the course of the academic year. Service-learning faculty can look forward to regular service-learning workshops, more opportunities to interact with community organizations on campus, and sleeker methods to assess student learning and community impact. The first workshops include Service-Learning at ECU and Syllabus Construction for Service-Learning Courses. The Center will also host more than 25 community organizations on campus at our annual fall service fair. The fair will take place on September 16 from 12:30–3:00 pm in the Bate Building. We hope you to see you at these and other events throughout the year. As always, if you need a resource that we don’t currently provide, stop by the Center or send us an e-mail. We welcome your feedback. In these tough economic times, the needs of our community are greater than ever before. The VSLC looks forward to collaborating with ECU faculty to continue our mission of connecting students to effective volunteer and service-learning activities to strengthen communities, promote an enduring commitment to civic responsibility, and enhance the academic experience.

Community Partner Spotlight Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and Eco-Center Have you ever seen a Smew, fed a Helmeted Currassow, or made a Kookaburra call his signature song? Nestled in the heart of eastern North Carolina is a place where members of the ECU community can see these and more than 167 other bird species. Founded in 1989, Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park is dedicated to ensuring the survival of the world’s waterfowl species through conservation, education, research, and planning. The Center, located in Scotland Neck, NC, is home to thousands of birds and waterfowl, walk through aviaries, a breeding center, and a universally accessible tree house that provides views of wetland swamp habitat from 20 feet in the air. The facility has untapped potential for service-learning courses. From fund-raising and grant writing, the development of science and conservation curriculums, research or investigation of species and habitat, to general service on the grounds, the staff at Sylvan Heights is open-minded to collaboration. To learn more, visit Next Spotlight: Humane Society of Eastern Carolina

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Spotlight on Service-Learning Course Designation

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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“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propogation, nor does the truth become error because nobody will see it.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Service-Learning Course Designation Faculty members interested in obtaining a service-learning designation for their courses are invited to submit a service-learning course proposal form and syllabus for review by the Service-Learning Advisory Committee. Courses approved for the “SL” designation will be listed as such in the university catalogs. The deadline to submit proposed course submissions for spring semester course designation is October 15, 2009. Why get an SL Designation? • Many students consider service-learning a transformative way to learn and grow while others may want the credits to satisfy requirements proposed for the leadership and service certificate or portfolio, or the honors program. Students find that this documentation also helps when they seek employment and/or apply to graduate school. The SL designation will be recorded on student transcripts. • Faculty members who are familiar with service-learning serve as a peer review committee for servicelearning course submissions. The committee reviews proposals and syllabi to ensure they meet the five criteria listed below, and also offers suggestions and constructive input as needed to make the servicelearning experience a positive one for all involved. • The SL designation helps ECU collect information and report and recognize the important contributions that our faculty make to the community. How to Apply for an SL Designation: Submit the SL Designation Course Application Form and the SL Designation Course Questionnaire, available at, with your syllabus to the Service Learning Committee by the appropriate deadline. The form should be sent to: Jessica Gagne Cloutier, 1604 Old Cafeteria Complex, or to The Committee will review your proposal and syllabus to make sure they meet the criteria listed below. Service-Learning Course Criteria: • Integrates the service with course content. The service component should support the academic focus of the course. • Involves students in service that meets community needs. The Volunteer and Service-Learning Center can help you find community placements for students. • Provides structured opportunities for reflection such as writing assignments, discussions, presentations, or journals. • Provides a clear explanation (in the syllabus) of both academic and service expectations and how the performance in the course will be graded. • Clarifies that while service is an integral part of the course academic credit is for demonstrated learning. What is Service-Learning? Service-learning is a method of instruction that has the benefit of meeting academic course objectives and helping students develop a sense of engagement and social responsibility. All volunteer hours and community service hours are not service-learning. Faculty interested in learning more about service-learning at ECU or the designation process can visit the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center, or register for the Service-Learning at ECU workshop on

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Hot Topics

Publications of Interest

“Can students take photographs at their community partner sites?”

Out Now Fish, S. (2008) Save the World on Your Own Time. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.

During the 2008-2009 academic year, the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center encountered several occurrences of students needing to take photographs at community partner sites to complete course assignments. The Center does not recommend requiring photographs for course assignments, as many community partner sites have policies restricting the use of personal cameras. These policies protect the rights of the individuals served by our partner organizations, and should be observed diligently by ECU students and faculty. If photographs or video are necessary for the completion of a service-learning assignment, permission must be granted by the partner organization, and signed release forms must be obtained from each individual being photographed. If an individual is under the age of 18, the release should be signed by a parent or guardian. General image release forms are available through the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center.

To help students prepare for this interaction, ask them to write an introduction letter to their community partner of choice. After writing this letter, students should be better versed in describing their academic assignment, how their skills and talents might be assets for a particular community organization, and how to bring excitement and enthusiasm into their request to serve. Students can even use this letter as a loose script when they approach potential partners.

Poppendieck, J. (1998) Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement. New York, NY: Penguin Putnam Inc. Free to Print (2007) Achieving the Promise of Authentic CommunityHigher Education Partnerships: Community Partners Speak Out! Seattle, WA: Community-Campus Partnerships for Health. Retrieved from

The letter should include the following: • A header with the students name, contact information and date, and the recipients name, title and contact information • An appropriate salutation • An introduction that makes reference to the students name, their course name and number • A description of their service-learning goals including academic outcomes, number of hours, etc. • A thoughtful description of why they wish to serve at the particular organization • A description of the skills they possess that will make them an asset • A polite closing statement • A signature

Quarterly Reflection Activity

Community Introduction Letter In many service-learning courses, students are expected to arrange the logistics of their community experience. They must identify a community partner, contact the organization, describe their course requirements, and schedule their hours. This initial communication between the student and potential community partner is extremely important because it sets the tone for the forthcoming partnership. Faculty should not assume that students have the confidence or experience necessary for effective communication with a community partner.

Stoecker, R., Tryon, E. & Hilgendorf, A. (2009) The Unheard Voices: Community Organizations and Service Learning. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

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Call for Proposals

Grants and Funding Opportunities

Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, pressing social and economic challenges have brought renewed attention to the importance of service in civic life. Proposals for individual, panel, and interactive workshop and poster presentations are currently being accepted. Presentations should be relevant to one of three conference tracks: people, place or partners. Proposals must be received by October 19, 2009. For a full call for proposals, please visit: proposals.phtml.

The Bradley Foundation supports programs that cultivate a renewed, healthier, and more vigorous sense of citizenship, as well as those that improve education, promote economic growth and prosperity, and defend and advance freedom. Letters of inquiry are accepted year round. If invited to submit, formal proposals are reviewed in February, May, August and November. Full descriptions of grant making policies and application procedures are available at:

Conferences and Events Third Annual Fostering Global Citizenship in Higher Education Conference October 5-6, 2009, World Learning/SIT Campus, Brattleboro, VT

Mark Your Calendars! Syllabus Construction for Service-Learning Courses September 15, 2009 Service-Learning at ECU September 17, 2009 For additional information please visit:

Ninth International Research Conference on Service-Learning and Community Engagement October 9-12, 2009, Westin Ottawa Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario Canada North Carolina Campus Compact Student Conference November 7, 2009, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC Third International Symposium on Service-Learning November 22-24, 2009, University of Indianapolis-Athens, Athens, Greece

Volunteer and Service-Learning Center Old Cafeteria Complex 252.328.2735 (phone) 252.328.0139 (fax) • Judy Baker, Institutional and Community Development Consultant Kimberly Caudle, AmeriCorps*VISTA Jessica Gagne Cloutier, Service-Learning Coordinator Michael Loeffelman, Volunteer Coordinator Shawn Moore, Community Partner Coordinator

Fall Edition 2009

Service Learning Quarterly Fall 2009