The purpose of this course is to expose students to the field of academic service learning which combines organized community service with course content and civic engagement. The course provides students with the unique opportunity to apply their studies in the classroom to their volunteer work at nonprofit organizations in the community and relate to these experiences through reflection activities. This fusion of scholarly research and civic engagement is at the heart of academic service learning which a mutually beneficial relationship is. Service, combined with learning, adds value to each and transforms both.
Introduction to Academic Service learning: students in the community
Dalton, J. H., Elias, M. J., & Wandersman, A. (2001). Community Psychology: Linking individuals and communities. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Honnet, E.P. and Poulsen, S. (1989) Principles of Good Practice for Combining Service and Learning
Eyler, Janet and Dwight E. Giles, Jr., Eds. Where's the Learning in Service Learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999.
Greenleaf, Robert. Servant Leadership. New York: Paulist Press, 1977.
Morrison, Emily A. "Service-Learning and Leadership." Leadership Insights and Applications
David Maurasse, Beyond Campus, Routledge, 2001
Twenty-First Century. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002.
Tsu, Sun. The Art of War. Toronto: Hodder and Stoughton, 1986.Nelson Mandela: Long
Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela Tag
Jimmy Carter: Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President
Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi: Gandhi an Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth (Paperback)
Mahatma Gandhi: "The best way to find your self is to lose yourself in the service of others."
The purpose of this course is to expose students to the field of academic service learning which combines organized community service with course content and civic engagement. The course provides students with the unique opportunity to apply their studies in the classroom to their volunteer work at nonprofit organizations in the community and relate to these experiences through reflection activities. This fusion of scholarly research and civic engagement is at the heart of academic service learning which is a mutually beneficial relationship. Service, combined with learning, adds value to each and transforms both
Service to others, as much as any academic exercise, is an integral part of becoming a thoughtful and engaged citizen, understanding yourself and others, learning how to put theory into practice, and leading a balanced life.
The course will review literature on Community Service Programs and examine key concepts in service learning such as empowerment, self esteem, motivation, psychological theories, sociological concepts and research methodologies. You will develop understanding of the issues through: (a) reading primary and secondary sources, (b) participating in class discussions, (c) attending presentations of community residents, specialists, and leaders, and (d) participating approximately two hours per week as participants in a community/local field setting.
Strategies such as critical reflection of students on their community-based work in the context of course objectives will be used along with journals, focus groups, presentations, case writing etc,
After taking this course, it is anticipated you would be able to:
- Develop an understanding of the value of learning classroom concepts through application in the community.
- Become knowledgeable about academic service learning and civic engagement.
- Understand and value the perspective of people in the community on issues connected to your service
- Effective ways to communicate in a community setting and improve interpersonal behavior
- Achieve an understanding of the effects of societal, cultural, and environmental influences on the psychological and community well being and your own.
- Consider ways to assess and be responsive to the needs of people with diverse socio cultural, educational, and ethnic backgrounds, and varying abilities, goals, and experiences;
- Be able to apply theoretical principles, concepts and research strategies to a problem in the local community;
- Develop skills in collaborating with community residents, community organizations, and community specialists in identifying, designing, and implementing, and interpreting community based research
- Develop a personal philosophy of and commitment to service
A. Academic Community Service
You will be assigned a community where you would be able to find a community service project. This might be a school, a hospital, a food bank, youth development center or other.
Together we will collaborate with the community stakeholders on one or more aspects of project to define the goals, methods, collecting data, analyses and interpretation and to share the findings. Most of the work will be done in the class but we will meet at various community locations. You will meet with community residents to plan and implement your project.
Your project should address an existing need in a community identified by residents during your field work. You will clearly define the need, the population that will be served by your project, the goals and desired outcomes. You will need to give a rationale for each aspect of the proposal. The purpose of this activity is to apply the theory, research, and methods covered in class to a real world need. As we progress through the semester, we will work together to develop more explicit guidelines for this project. You will maintain a Journal with weekly entries which you will submit at the end of the semester.
This will count towards 10% of your grade.
B. Class Participation and Contributions
There will be a focus on discussion of assigned readings, activities and community field work. You are expected to attend every class and to be an active participant in both guiding and engaging in the discussion.
Following questions would provide clarity and assistance in reflection:
Can you say more about that? Would you give some examples of what you mean? How are you using the term 'x' when you say that? I don't think I fully understand. Ask questions that foster constructive and collaborative thinking, critical reflection, and problem solving. Why do you think that there is so much/ so little consensus among us? How does your personal experience/or theory fit with what you have read in class? Build on one another's perspectives to make sense.
This will count towards 30% of your overall course grade.
C. Written Reflection and Discussion Questions
You will write an analytical/critical reflection each week along with and discussion questions.
Reflection Questions: Focus on connecting class material with community service work, issues, coverage of community in media, personal history (not just a summary)
Discussion: Engage everyone ex: key themes, similarities and/or disagreements within and across the readings with a particular effort to relate these to your community service experiences.
This will count towards 20% of your overall course grade.
D. Class Presentation of Project:
You can make a video of your project to show in the class, describe it and share your reflections.
This will count for 10% of your overall course grade.
E. Final Paper: The final will consist of a report on the community project. The final must be typed, double-spaced, with the following sections:
1. Description : This section is a narrative of events, interactions, decisions, successes, problems, and plans that occurred during your service. It may include descriptive account of events and your thoughts and feelings about these events.
2. Analysis; the analysis section includes connections between your service experience and material from the course and lectures. You should cite theories, theorists, concepts and research findings that you find useful in analyzing and understanding the events at your service site.
3. Application: This section relates the course work and your service experiences to your personal life, your insights you have regarding your relationships to others in the community, your career plans, and your goals, dreams, values, and growth.
The Final will count for 30% of over all course grade.
You will get an evaluation on your work in the middle and at the end of the semester. You will be asked to provide written feedback on your own course related progress and performance to date. You will be asked to evaluate the strengths of the course and ways in which it could be improved and this will be used make adjustments.
The format of the class will help you help you in developing critical thinking skills, communication and collaborative skills, Sociological and community awareness, use of technological skills applied in community service setting and personal development.
Social norms impact our behavior. Every social group establishes "rules" concerning expectations about appropriate behavior. The following norms are expected to be observed in this class:
A. No late arrivals
B. No early departures
C. No private conversations
D. No alarms, cell phones or beepers
E. Regular attendance
Behaviors which are considered to be inappropriate in the classroom include but are not limited to the following: sleeping, eating, and interrupting others, talking out of turn, and inappropriate behavior during group work, verbal behavior that is disrespectful of other students or the instructor.
Final Course Grade
F below 60%
Week # 1
Review of the course and syllabus
Introduction to learning, by doing community service
Introduction to community and service learning project
Personal Introduction and your community affiliation
Week # 2
Applying principles of psychology to community service learning
Discussion and selection of community based service learning project
Community: pressing issues in the neighborhood and service learning project possibilities
Week # 3
Service learning projects
Perception and Emotions
Week # 4
Service learning community research
Emotional Intelligence and Learning
Week # 5
Getting to know the Community, meet with community members
Global Community and Motivation
Week # 6
Week # 7
Analysis of project, improvement of community and lessons learned
Research methods: Reflection and Participatory Action Research
Week # 8
Drafting questions for gathering community residents needs
Community empowerment. Community stakeholders refine data gathering
Week # 9
Community change, quality of life, support system.
Program Evaluation and development
Week # 10
Presentation of project in class
Week # 11
Presentation of project in class
Week # 12
Presentation of project in class
Week # 13
Presentation of project in class
Week # 14
Promoting academic service learning
Looking back and looking ahead
Week # 15
What have we learned about ourselves and others?