Service Learning Advisory Council
Present: Future Akins, Irene Arellano, Shannon Bichard, Heidi Brady, Kurt Caswell, Carolyn Erler, Birgit Green, Karen Meaney, Doris Reding, Sara Smock, Robert Stewart, Reese Todd
Guest: Elizabeth McDaniel
Absent: Joaquin Borrego, Donna Davis, Ralph Ferguson, Laura Lowe, Walt Oler, Brian Rex, Larry Spain
Karen welcomes the council and introduces Doris Reding, the Community Partner representative, to the new members of the Council. She also welcomes and introduces Elizabeth McDaniel as the Spotlight guest speaker and newly appointed member of the Council from Texas Tech University’s Study Abroad Program.
The request was then made for approval of the September 15th minutes. Kurt motioned for approval, Future seconded, and minutes were approved.
Spot-light: Elizabeth McDaniel provides an overview of the TTU-Study Abroad Program. She indicates that there are approximately 26 faculty-led programs from Texas Tech University and two TTU Centers located in Seville, Spain and Quedlinburg, Germany. The purpose of the presentation was to discuss service-learning opportunities in the Study Abroad program. There is currently one TTU study abroad faculty member that integrates service-learning into his curriculum. Elizabeth also indicates that 5 out 10 providers have a service-learning component. The Study Abroad Program is also waiting to have a contract approved with IPSLL.
Due to the interests of incorporating service-learning and study abroad, the conversation developed into rich dialogue examining questions and concerns encompassing this topic. Many issues were part of this conversation; the following narrative attempts to capture the major discussion points: Questions regarding on how to formalize pre-existing service-learning courses in the providers designate an “S” course through the program, and how to officially recognize it as service-learning initiated the conversation. Concerns from the Council: How do we know that they are doing service-learning and not volunteerism? Does it have the same equivalent to a TTU service-learning course? How does a service-learning transfer? Isn’t the service-learning course assigned to the faculty? How are other universities doing service-learning abroad? The Council determined that more information needs to be provided. The suggestion was made that there needs to be more exploration in service-learning in relation to Study Abroad. Therefore, an ad-hoc committee was also suggested. Elizabeth and Birgit have agreed to be a part of the committee. They will explore the service-learning opportunities via existing Study Abroad programs and provide feedback at the next SLAC meeting in February.
Karen introduced the newly designed Service-Learning Course Application. The draft was created in response to the concerns with the present on-line course application. Karen explored other university programs and found that the Honor’s College has a course application request. The Council agreed that the draft application was definitely better and offered new suggestions. The Council suggested that criterions have a word minimum or paragraph limit. It was also suggested that it should state “approximately 500 words” response as a whole to answer all of the criterions. Highlights or underlining the service-components in the syllabi would be helpful to the “S” review committee.
The application process discussion was then moved forward to concerns about the process as a whole. Concerns about how much detail is needed in the application process such as what are the expectations to know all the details at the time it is submitted. The Council also suggested that an interview process be added to the “S”-designation process. The interview would be an option for the faculty. Karen suggested that there be a pilot test during the Spring 2009 application process. Faculty from the art department would like to meet with Council to discuss their concerns regarding the service-learning component in their courses.
Service-Learning PowerPoint: Irene discussed the faculty friendly powerpoint presentation for faculty who are interested in service-learning. The Council suggested that it would be at the best interest to the faculty if a video was produced instead of a powerpoint presentation. They would like to hear testimonies from faculty, students, and community partners. Also, to include a segment what service-learning is and is not, and about study abroad. Karen mentioned that this could be a service-learning project for the Spring semester.
Website: Karen presented the newly designed service-learning website. Karen stated that the new website should go live by the Spring semester. She has requested accomplishments (i.e., published works and funded grants) and from the faculty engaging in service-learning practice and research.
Ad-hoc Committee to examine workload: Karen briefly discussed the purpose of the committee. The committee is to examine the workload policy and to determine if the service-learning workload process needs to be pursued. The Council members who are part of the committee are Heidi, Future, and Karen. It was suggested that Laura be asked to part of the committee.
Irene provided the council with service learning updates. She announced that the service-learning program began doing assessments for the courses this semester. The results from the assessments will be given to the faculty member. Irene also announced that this meeting will be last one for the Fall semester. Due to the MLK holiday, the next Council meeting will be on February 16, 2009.
Group photo taken for the service-learning website.
Meeting adjourned at 3:00 pm.