Service-learning (SL), like other curricular community-engaged practices, has strong support at IU Bloomington. If you’ve ever wanted to incorporate community service or already use it, this post describes the campus context and support.
The IU Bloomington General Education requirements recognize different types of Enriching Educational Experiences in the Shared Goals. These experiences include service-learning, community service and community-based action research, capstone projects, and other experiences that “provide opportunities to apply discipline-specific skills and knowledge to community issues and to examine issues of service and social responsibility that relate to the chosen career field.”
The Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University challenges us to engage in teaching practices that inspire undergraduate students to embrace curricular activities that engage them in deep learning. IUB Bicentennial Objective One, 2.d says we will achieve this by, “developing social responsibility and student leadership” through “immersive service activities that benefit local, state, regional, and global communities.” Recent campus initiatives like the Center for Rural Excellence, Sustaining Hoosier Communities, and IU Corps show the extent of support for community engaged work on campus.
These efforts invite consideration of how we as teachers of service-learning (course-based, community-engaged teaching and learning) can contribute to the success of those initiatives and strengthen the already robust service-learning ecosystem.
In the spring semester of 2018, a faculty learning community with the Service-Learning Program identified key attributes of community-engaged learning, seeking to provide a set of guidelines for curricular community-engaged learning (CEL) activities. The key features include:
- Civic engagement
In the CEL model, the role of community knowledge and involvement in teaching students is more central. A developmental course design rubric helps faculty identify levels for integrating civic and community issues into classes that are appropriate to their proficiency, course topic, and degree of involvement with the community. Emphasis is on rigorous learning and measurable outcomes for valid assessment, a topic we will cover later in the Service-Learning Foundations series.
CEL can also include a broad array of academic experiences, assuming they follow a set of accepted standards. Example activities include introductory seminars, co-learning arrangements, traditional direct service-learning, project-based classes, internships, policy-based classes, advocacy-based classes, community-engaged research/undergraduate research, field studies, faculty-facilitated clinical experiences, learning communities.
This post was the second in a Service-Learning Program series. Follow the series via the service-learning foundations tag. If you are interested in learning more or participating in developing CEL for IUB, contact Michael Valliant, Director, Service-Learning Program.
Know a colleague who might benefit from this information? The CITL encourages you to share this information with your friends and colleagues.