Service-Learning & Civic Engagement

Minutes

Faculty Service-Learning Committee
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Registrar’s Conference Room, 12 PM

Meeting was called to order by Earl Mulderink at 12:09 PM. In attendance: Steve Barney (HSS), Pam Branin (CSD), Jason Clyde (Student), Neal Cox (Student Services), Mark Grover (SCI), Matt Nickerson (LIB & Honors Program), Karl Stevens (SCPS). Excused: Briget Eastep (EDU), Larry Johnson (PVA), Blair McDonald (CIET), Denise Woodbury (BUS).

Approval of Minutes
Minutes for the meeting of March 28, 2007, were approved without changes.

Reports
Chair Earl Mulderink offered a recap of the new Service-Learning Fellows program. He thanked committee members Steve Barney, Briget Eastep, and Denise Woodbury for creating a useful application process and evaluation criteria. Our five award winners represented varied disciplines, and the remarkably close evaluations by our committee members led me to encourage all unsuccessful applicants to apply again next year. Next, Earl reported on budget expenses over the past year and asked committee members to make any new requests prior to the end of this fiscal year. He noted, in particular, that about one-third of the civic engagement budget for this year had been spent on professional development, including the Service-Learning Fellows program and conference participation. Finally, Earl mentioned several issues that he wants addressed next year as our committee priorities, including the development of a strategic plan and an advisory board, along with the implementation of a process and criteria for designating service-learning courses. It was also suggested that we should evaluate workload and compensation issues as they relate to faculty who employ service-learning pedagogy.

Several additional reports followed. Neal Cox described his recent visit to Elon College where all students are strongly encouraged to pursue civic engagement. In recent years, Elon has seen an incredible increase in student engagement and satisfaction, along with an increasingly competitive admissions process. Steve Barney mentioned that he is serving on SUU’s Presidential Inaugural Committee that is now planning for events in mid-September, and he asked for ideas about the best ways to showcase service-learning and civic engagement. Besides drawing upon Pam Branin’s promotional displays, we discussed the possibility of sponsoring a symposium on “engaged learning” that could draw upon our new corps of S-L Fellows. Pam Branin reported on a breakfast meeting earlier in the day for the Alternative Spring Break that was attended by dozens of students, Pam, Neal, and President Benson.

New Business
A. First Year Experience and Civic Engagement
We discussed and complimented Jill Wilks’s proposal for integrating a service-learning component into the First Year Seminar (UNIV 1000) starting in Fall 2007. Several supportive comments were made about linking the FYS service activities to “Make A Difference Day” in late October. Pam Branin has begun to plan events in the Fall semester, noting that twenty-three student service-leaders could serve as FYS mentors. In addition, Pam mentioned plans for a service-oriented Focus Week and Convocation early in the semester. Committee members had several suggestions about large-scale projects for the FYS students. Mark Grover mentioned the ongoing work on clearing the Santa Clara River basin in Washington County led by Professor Terri Hildebrand of the Biology Department. Another suggestion was to join with local efforts to clean the Coal Creek Canyon here in Cedar City. Several comments attested to students’ obvious enjoyment in doing hands-on service activities alongside community members.

Adjournment
Meeting was adjourned at 12:55 PM.