On August 12, 2001, I attended the Civic Engagement in the Classroom workshop at Centre College in Danville, KY. The day long workshop convinced me that it is possible to incorporate service learning into any class experience. I'm going to incorporate it into my Introduction to Anthropology Class this semester, so stay tuned on updates about how it goes. Here are some take away notes that in no way encompasses the awesomeness of the workshop.

Presentation by Kentucky Campus Compact

Service-Learning targets the base of the "cone of learning" i.e. learners retain the most when they are saying and doing.

Service-Learning is an educational experience based upon a collaborative partnership between college and community. Learning through service enables students to apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to meet genuine community needs. Through reflection and assessment, students gain deeper knowledge of course content and the importance of civic engagement. (definition developed by the Berea College Service-Learning Advisory Committee, March 2004)

UK has a page that discussed Service Learning http://www.uky.edu/careercenter/faculty/service-learning though none of the .pdf links work at the time that I wrote this.

At minimum service learning should incorporate three parts: Academic goals, Service Goals, and Reflection. During sustained service learning projects venues for deepening the service learning experience will reveal themselves. Dr. Janet Rice McCoy from Morehead State created a public relations boot camp to introduce the service learning partners to what her students were learning in order for the partners to provide feedback on the student's work.

Civic Reflection (reading literature and reflection on relation with central pieces of civic life) may get at the same learning goals without the logistical difficulties of a full service learning project. http://www.civicreflection.org/

Presentation by Richard Sheardy & Cynthia Maquire from Texas Women's University and focusing on SENCER

Civic Engagement – using our skills to make life better for our community through political and non-political processes

SENCER is a NSF-funded program that encourages teaching science through service learning and connection with real life issues.

Civic Engagement can be operationalized in two ways: creating a new course or modifying an existing one by inserting civic component, field trips, guest lectures. The engagement component needs to be required or students won't do it. Make it at least 10% of the grade, 4-6 hours of activity, write a paper about the activity

To help with the logistics of planning engagement offer credit for a second engagement activity to student coordinator.

Provide clear and concrete examples of what counts as an engagement activity, without structure to model their projects after they will have difficulty.

Model courses that comply with SENCER requirements can be found at www.sencer.net 

Examples of Service Learning at Centre College and Tips

Ensure that students write about links to the literature they are covering in the classroom. Use a journal to keep track of the hours and reflections over time.

Working with schools requires background checks, so these may not be logistically possible sometimes.