Service-Learning & Civic Engagement

Minutes

Faculty Service-Learning Committee
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Registrar’s Conference Room, 12 Noon

I. Call to Order
Earl Mulderink called the meeting to order at 12:05 PM. In attendance Steve Barney (HSS), Pam Branin (CSD), Jeff Hanson (PVA), Karl Stevens (SCPS), and Cindy Wright (SCI). Excused: Lisa Assante (BUS), Briget Eastep (EDU), Scott Hansen (CIET), Matt Nickerson (Honors and Library), Lacie Jo Robinson (Student).

II. Approval of Minutes
Minutes for the meeting of September 24, 2008, were approved without changes.

III. Reports

A. Chair

Earl welcomed new committee member Cindy Wright, an engaged educator and experienced service-learning practitioner who will represent the College of Science. He lamented scheduling problems that prevented more committee meetings and better attendance this semester. Earl mentioned that he had attended two conferences since our last meeting: the First Annual Conference on International Service-Learning at Utah Valley University in early October 2008, and the Eighth Annual International Conference in Service-Learning Research in New Orleans in late October 2008. At the end of his informal Report, Earl mentioned that he had not yet learned of any cuts to the Civic Engagement budget for this year, but he felt that we had some flexibility to absorb budget cuts if mandated.

Under the category of “Public Relations Updates,” Earl distributed copies of material he submitted to the Utah Campus Compact publication, The Connector, and the Provost’s Newsletter for Spring 2009. He encouraged committee members to share these with other colleagues. Later, Earl distributed information and talked about the “Alliance For Education,” the exciting new partnership with Zion NP, Cedar Breaks NM, Pipe Spring NM, and SUU. Several committee members had attended the Alliance signing ceremony at Zion. In this context, Earl and others applauded Lisa Assante’s ongoing service-learning work with Bryce Canyon NP and students in her hospitality-related courses.

Earl distributed a multipage information sheet and registration form for the Utah Campus Compact Annual Conference on Civic Engagement, to be hosted by Dixie State College, February 27-28, 2009. Previously known as the “Engaged Scholars Retreat,” the call for papers encouraged submissions on a wide range of topics. The deadline for proposal submissions is Friday, December 5, 2008, and Earl reiterated that our Civic Engagement budget will pay registration fees and group travel costs to and from St. George.

B. Other Reports

Pam Branin reported on the continuing success of Bread & Soup Nite that convenes on the first Monday of each month. Typically, around 500 people have gathered at this event for food and live entertainment and to raise awareness about hunger and poverty. Pam also spoke of her recent talk to the Cedar City Rotary Club that was received favorably.

Jeff Hanson mentioned that SL&CE web site revisions continue with expectations of a new and improved site rolled out in mid-Spring 2009. Also, Jeff talked about this semester’s “Special Problems” Art course that led to a dozen service-learning projects, both web- and print-based, that aided local organizations such as Special Olympics. Jeff was urged to consider pursuing official designation as a “SL” course.

IV. New Business

  • Mini-Grant Application

    The Committee reviewed and approved Cindy Wright’s application for a Service-Learning Enhancement Grant, “Testing and Treating Household Drinking Water in Guaymas, Mexico,” slated for December 12-20, 2008. Dr. Wright was awarded her full request of $500 and commended for developing an ongoing international service-learning project. Cindy was recused for the vote.
  • Service-Learning Scholar Program

    Earl distributed information about the undergraduate Service-Learning Scholar Program, the most robust program of its type in the state but one with limited success and visibility on our campus. In line with Pam Branin’s suggestions, Earl and others agreed that the Service-Learning Committee will take a more active role in supervising and supporting this academic program. The program should be publicized to and by our college advisors, the Majors Fair, and other campus events provided we can provide service-learning credit-bearing courses for interested students. SUU’s Honors Program was pointed out as a model for using individual student “contracts” that could be tailored for service-learning. SUU’s program criteria and forms are found at http://www.suu.edu/stil/pdf/studentpacket.pdf.
  • Curriculum Reviews
    Our committee previously has discussed the development of more service-learning courses, such as the 2120 option, to better support the Service-Learning Scholar Program (see above) and other curricular initiatives. Based on some online research, Earl distributed materials from California State University, Monterey Bay, which has a robust, comprehensive service-learning program for all students. He urged committee members to review the information and to ponder ways that SUU could develop more service-learning courses beyond 2120, such as 4120 or even 5120 options. Note: Besides compelling all students to take at least one introductory service-learning course, the CSUMB program requires students to complete at least one service-learning course in their major, which could be completed through a capstone thesis/project as required of our Service-Learning Scholars. For more details about CSUMB’s service-learning options, their web site at http://service.csumb.edu/site/x3561.xml.
  • Risk Management and Liability Issues
    In response to several committee members’ concerns, Earl distributed a brief packet about “Managing Risk in Service-Learning” from the California State University’s Center for Community Engagement. A much larger PDF file of their “Risk Management Manual” is available online at http://www.calstate.edu/cce/resource_center/servlearn_risk.shtml. In our discussion, it was suggested that we work with others on campus who can assist in preparing our own manual and/or policies to manage risk. Mike Carter and others will be invited to our committee meeting in January and we will proceed from there.

V. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 1:05 PM with plans to meet in January 2009.