COMMUNITY Credit Options
Incorporating Service-Learning In Your Classroom
This web page should serve as your jumping off point- here you will find descriptions of the two main methods by which you as a faculty member can incorporate Service into what you are teaching, and how the methods are alike and different. The Office of Community staff feels that it is important to work with our faculty, the academic stewards of our campus, to help ensure positive growth and learning within our students so that they can become strong community leaders through service both professionally and personally upon their graduation from the college.
Service-Learning: The Centenary Requirement
In order to receive their Service-Learning or COMMUNITY credit at Centenary College, all students must meet 4 basic requirements. When developing a Service-Learning course or project, Office of Community staff can help faculty members ensure that their students will meet each of these four components through the course of the project or class:
The 4 components of the Service-Learning requirement:
1. All students participating in Service-Learning must attend an Introductory Session (and complete all S-L forms) during the semester in which they plan to complete their Service-Learning requirements. This Introductory Session could be done through the CO 151 session which takes place at the beginning of each academic semester or through a special S-L Introductory Session done specifically for your students. Please see the Director of Community for more information about Introductory Sessions.
2. The Office of Community encourages both project based and placement based Service-Learning opportunities for students. CO 151 (formerly GED 151) is a placement based model in which students must complete 27 Community Based Learning hours with their chosen Community Partner. In coordinating Service-Learning opportunities in a classroom or faculty sponsored project setting, we suggest that students devote a number of clock-hours to their S-L project simply to help facilitate the necessary learning needed to successfully fulfill the learning objectives outlined in a faculty member's syllabus. Activities like Service-Learning meetings, site visits, researching, planning, journaling, and writing a final paper can count towards a student's service-learning.
- In the past, it has been suggested that roughly 1/2 of the 30 clock-hour service-learning requirement found in CO-151 be spent on-site with a Community Partner, or with clients that you've chosen to work with for the given semester. However, this is not a requirement and only suggested to ensure that our students have the opportunity to learn and serve the community beyond the physical walls of a classroom.
3. Students must attend a Capstone Meeting once they have completed their hours requirement at the end of the semester in which they began their Service-Learning experience. This Capstone Meeting may be done through the CO 151 Capstone Meeting which takes place at the end of the semester, or through a special S-L Capstone Meeting given specifically for your students, or both.
4. All students must answer and turn in their responses to the questions on the Community Program Assessment.
All projects are to be approved by the Trek Committee before that service is undertaken. Please contact the Director of Community immediately to help ensure that the project you have in mind meets the requirements for attaching Service-Learning to your academic course or project before beginning work in this area.
Service-Learning: Your 2 Options as Faculty
1. COMMUNITY Credit Courses
This model is what we call "real" service-learning. In this model, a faculty member incorporates a community-based component into one of his/her courses, so that students can apply what they are learning in the classroom to meeting a need of the community.
Often students will create a demonstration for community members on what they've learned in the classroom, or assist in the day-to-day operations of a non-profit while learning from the organization, all while relating what they are experiencing in the "field" to what they are learning in the classroom.
Just like starting any new course, this option will require effort by the faculty member on the front end to develop a quality Service-Learning project or placement for the course in mind. However, the Office of Community staff is here to help throughout the entire process: from finding a suitable Community Partner to collecting evaluations from students once they have completed their rewarding Service-Learning experience.
Example: Human Growth & Development
Dr. Amy Hammond piloted the first service-learning course at Centenary College in the Fall of 2009 by partnering with The Arc of Caddo-Bossier's Goldman School. There, her students interact with typically and atypically developing children and relate their observations to coursework.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Hammond's project and other COMMUNITY Credit courses Centenary faculty have created!
2. Faculty Sponsored Service-Learning Projects
In this model, a faculty member advises a hand full of students throughout a service-learning project. The project does not coincide with a course, but all the students completing the project are students in the faculty member's academic department.
It is our hope that the faculty member sponsoring a given project will choose students to participate who they feel are highly qualified for the specific task at hand, and who will see the project through to fruition.
In some cases, the project will require little to no faculty supervision, the role of supervisor instead falling to the Community Partner involved. In other cases, however, the faculty member will need to provide much guidance to the students throughout the course of the semester. Contact the Office of Community if you have a project in mind and are unsure of the time commitment it would involve.
Example: Neighborhood Tax Program
For the last two years, Dr. Helen Sikes has spearheaded a Faculty Sponsored Service-Learning project called the Neighborhood Tax Program, in which a group of her previous taxation students process tax returns at no charge for members of the Centenary and Highland communities who are in need of assistance.
Click here to learn more about the Neighborhood Tax Program and other Service-Learning projects Centenary faculty have sponsored!