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California State University, Fresno

Service Learning Course Designation Guidelines

As approved by the Academic Senate, the Provost and the President, the following provides a context for the development of approved service-learning courses at California State University, Fresno.

Definition: Service-learning is academic study linked to community service through structured reflection so that each reinforces the other. The academic study may be in any discipline or combination of fields. The service may address a variety of community needs including direct service to people in need, improvement of community resources, community outreach and education, or policy analysis.

Policy: With approval of the Service-Learning Development Committee and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, courses that meet the guidelines below may be designated as service-learning courses by having the course number followed by the letter S.

Guidelines: Designation as a service-learning course will require the following.

A. Appropriate academic study is the primary focus of all S courses. The service-learning component is a support to the academic focus of a specific course.

B. The course will have a mechanism to introduce the service ethic, through various methods: guided readings, experiential class period, a workshop using Students for Community Service as a resource, or seminar.

C. A requirement of at least 10 hours of academically relevant community service which contributes directly to the student's grade.

D. A mechanism, such as a paper or presentation, which relates the experiential learning of community service to specific course content.

E. Structured opportunities for critical reflection on the service experience.

Last updated: March 19, 2001

California State University, Fresno

Procedures for Service-Learning (S) Designation

 

The following guidelines and recommendations are designed to guide faculty and departments in obtaining a service-learning or “S” designation for a course.  Please know that assistance is available at every step of the process.  It is recommended that you contact either Richard Berrett, Chair of the Service-Learning Development Committee (278-5140 or richardb@csufresno.edu) or Chris Fiorentino, Director of Students for Community Service (278-7079 or chrisf@csufresno.edu) with any questions.

 

I.          Before proceeding with any requests to have a course designated as a service-learning (S) course, you should carefully read and consider all points on the attached “Service-Learning Designation Considerations”.  (See attachment A.)

 

II.         Those faculty/departments that would like to obtain an “S” designation should go through the normal procedures to obtain an undergraduate course change or approval of a new course.  These procedures include:

 

A.     Complete an “Undergraduate Course Change Request” or “Undergraduate Course Proposal” with accompanying support.  In the case of an S course, support materials must address the criteria established to become an “S” course.  (See attachment B)

B.     Obtain Department Chair Signature.

C.     Obtain School/College Curriculum Committee signature.

D.     Obtain Dean’s Signature.

 

III.       Submit the change request, documentation, and signatures to the Associate Provost.  Before forwarding to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee or General Education Committee, the Associate Provost will submit the material to the Service-Learning Development Committee for evaluation of the “S” designation criteria response.

 

IV.       If approved, the change request will be returned to the Associate Provost for distribution to the UGC and, if appropriate, GE committees.  These committees will treat the change request as they do all others.  If the request is not approved by the Service-Learning Development Committee, committee representatives will work with the applicant to make appropriate changes so that the “S” criteria can be fully met.


Attachment A - Service-Learning Designation Considerations

 

There are several issues that departments should consider before seeking a service-learning (S) designation.  Of course, the most important considerations are the appropriateness of service-learning for the course in question and how the “S” designation criteria will be met.  In addition to those critical issues, the following are some questions departments should consider.

 

1.   Will all sections include a service-learning component, or just a majority of sections?

 

It is anticipated that, in considering a course for an “S” designation, that it is the belief of the department faculty that service-learning will significantly assist in reaching the learning objectives of the course.  Therefore, unless there are specific reasons why certain sections should be excluded, it is recommended that all sections include a service-learning component.

 

If all sections will include a service-learning component, the Undergraduate Course Change Request form should be used and the box for “Revision” checked.  In effect, this will replace the existing course with the new “S” version.

 

If only some of the sections will include a service-learning component, the  “Undergraduate Course Proposal” should be used to create a new course for “S” designated sections.  In effect, this will mean that there will be two courses, the existing non-S version and the new “S” version.  For example, there would be a COMM 8 and COMM 8S course approved for offering.  (It is not necessary to submit a course proposal for the existing non-S version.)

 

To avoid many of the potential challenges involved, it is recommended that departments use the UGC/GE approved course proposal and syllabus as a basis for any new course change or new course proposal.  Generally, these previously approved documents can be modestly adapted to fit the S requirements.

 

2.   If certain sections of the course will not include a service-learning component, which ones will be excluded and why?

 

Your “S” designation proposal will need to clearly articulate how many and which sections will be excluded and why.

 

3.   What changes will need to be made to catalog copy as a result of the proposed revisions?

 

For courses that will include a service-learning component in all sections, the revised catalog description should end with “Formerly       ” ( insert non-S course designation and number).

 

For courses where S and non-S sections will exist simultaneously, it is suggested that the department describe both S and non-S courses with the same catalog description.  If not, the revised catalog description for both S and non-S courses should state “Same as      .

 

Example:  Communication 8 or 8S - Group Discussion (3):  Communication in group thinking and problem solving through preparation and presentation of panels and symposia on public issues.  G.E. Foundation A1.  S sections include a service-learning requirement (see page 47).  (Formerly SPCH 8)

 

4.   If this course has been accepted for the General Education Program, how

will adding the S designation affect its ability to meet and/or exceed the

requirements of the General Education Program?  Departments should respond to this question in some detail and specificity.  Successful responses will, at least in part, focus on student outcomes and on the basic requirements listed for every General Education course.

 

Attachment B - S Criteria

California State University, Fresno

Justification for an S designation

Revised November 2002

Introduction

 

In spring 1999, the Academic Senate approved guidelines by which courses may obtain recognition as a service-learning course.  The following are guidelines to obtain the S designation for courses. For a course to obtain the “S” designation, the following justifications must be addressed in writing as part of the “S” designation proposal from your department.

 

S Designation Requirements

 

Preamble: This policy will provide the option of approving service-learning courses within departments which offer courses that meet the requirements.

 

Definition: Service-learning is community service linked to academic study through structured reflection so that each reinforces the other.  The academic study may be in any discipline or combination of fields.  The service may address a variety of community needs including direct service to people in need, improvement of community resources, applied research, community outreach and education, or policy analysis.

 

Policy: Courses that meet the guidelines below will be designated as service-learning courses by having the course number followed by the letter S.

 

Guidelines: Designation as a service-learning course will require that the following criteria be met (A-E).  Please specifically address each of the associated justifications in your application.

 

A.      Appropriate academic study is the primary focus of all S courses.  The service- learning component is a support to the academic focus.

 

Justification:          What is the academic nature of the course?  Define how service learning will be a component which supports this academic focus

 


B.   The course will have a mechanism to introduce the service ethic, through various methods: guided readings, experiential class period, a workshop using Students for Community Service as a resource, or seminar.

 

Justification:          How will the service-learning assignment will be introduced to the students  This statement should include reference to the source(s) and procedures which will be followed to reinforce the service ethic.

 

C.       A requirement of a minimum of 10 hours of academically relevant community service which contributes to the student's course grade.

 

Justification:          Please provide a description of:

                (1) where the service-learning assignment will be completed; (2) what typical activities will be performed; (3) the length of time students will be required to serve; (4) how verification of service hours will be competed; (5) how this requirement contributes to course grading.

 

D.   A mechanism, such as a paper or presentation, which relates the experiential

      learning of community service to specific course content.

 

Justification:          How will the student demonstrate the integration of the service-learning assignment with the course curriculum?

 

E.       Structured opportunities for critical reflection on the service experience.

 

Justification:          How will a critical self-analysis or reflection be integrated into the course?  (Reflecting on the service experience is most effective when it is completed before, during and after service-learning activities.)

 

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Last Updated: April 29, 2008