Online Resources and Organizations
National Service-Learning Clearinghouse: America's Most Comprehensive Service-Learning Resource, maintained by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents - representing some 6 million students - dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education.
International Association for Research on Service-learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE): Researchers, students and practitioners committed to advancing research on service-learning and community engagement.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America.
Community-Campus Partnerships for Health is a nonprofit organization that promotes health equity and social justice through partnerships between communities and academic institutions. They build the capacity of communities and academic institutions to engage each other in partnerships that balance power, share resources, and work towards change.
The American Association of Colleges and Universities is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. They work to promote improved civic intelligence and engagement through strategies such as service-learning.
UC Berkeley Service-Learning Research and Development Center - The Service-Learning Research and Development Center website provides a number of resources related to service-learning research and evaluation. The goal of the research activities of the Center is to better understand the implications of service activities on teaching, learning, and schooling.
The Research University Civic Engagement Network (TRUCEN) - Works to advance civic engagement and engaged scholarship among research universities and to create resources and models for use across higher education.
DoSomething.org describes itself as the country’s largest nonprofit for young people and social change. This is resource that definitely markets to a traditional-aged student audience. It offers a searchable database of causes and links those causes to different organizations.
Mobilize.org describes itself as an “organization that harnesses the unique attributes and passion of the Millennial Generation to identify and address problems of concern to society, and provide Millennials with resources needed to implement solutions.” This website is a great resource to provide to students.
Change.org provides a platform for creating petitions that can be distributed electronically and used to advocate for various causes. The website provides numerous example of petitions and causes along with the number of signatures obtained.
Challenges & Solutions
As with every journey, there are challenges and obstacles involved in adopting community-engaged teaching practices. Here are some of that are often reported by faculty along with some recommendations for overcoming such obstacles and challenges.
Challenge 1: Time commitment
Many faculty report that the time commitment involved in facilitating community-engaged teaching can be extremely challenging. Depending on the model of community-engaged pedagogy being used, this can be one of the greatest deterrents to faculty who are contemplating the adoption of community-engaged teaching practices. Faculty who use the placement model of community-based learning where they must line-up various community business or organizations, place individual students into those settings, and then supervise each student’s experience often find the sheer managing of the process quite overwhelming.
- Consider adopting alternative models of community-engaged teaching. There are project-based models, activism models, educational models and others that move the responsibility for orchestrating community-engaged experiences away from the teacher and that empower students to identify and establish community partners.
- Utilize campus resources such as Volunteer KSU. VKSU has already established partnerships with many community organizations and businesses. And, they work with these business to help document students’ time spent working with them. Granted, to ensure that students are having experiences that are meeting course learning goals rather than simply volunteering, instructional measures and parameters that reflect the characteristics of community-engaged teaching must also be incorporated.
Challenge 2: Assessing and ensuring student learning
Assessing and ensuring student learning is challenging regardless of whether it is in the context of community-engaged teaching. Many of the principles for ensuring and assessing student learning in general apply.
- Develop clear explanations, instructions, assignments, and grading rubrics. Experts in community-engaged pedagogy stress the importance of giving credit for learning as opposed to the service or community activity. Quality teaching practices such as scaffolding instruction, offering explicit instructions for assignments and providing grading rubrics for each assignment all help to ensure that students are meeting desired learning goals.
- “Begin with the end in mind,” a mantra of Steven Covey, is one worthy of adopting when enacting community-engaged teaching. Before designing any learning experience, become clear on what the student learning outcomes for that experience will be and construct course materials and instruction around those. .
- Require a tangible reflection from students. Whether it is a final reflection paper, a portfolio, a presentation, or artistic reflection (poem, song, art piece), require students to complete an assignment that you can collect. These tangibles not only provide evidence of student learning but also become data that can be analyzed and evaluated and can often be converted into some scholarly product.
- Take advantage of professional development opportunities that offer strategies for improving teaching and assessing learning. Most faculty are experts in a discipline, but many have not been educated in effective instructional practices. KSU’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning offers many resources including workshops and one-on-one consultations for improving teaching. Or, explore other resources such as journals, conferences, and books that focus on community-engaged pedagogy.
Challenge 3: Lack of resources and support
Faculty members also report that lack of resources (e.g. funding) and lack of faculty reward act as barriers to providing community-based learning. Not only that, but also few colleges and universities require community-engaged coursework in the academic core.
- Use external and internal funding sources.
- Become part of the solution by joining college committees or initiatives such as Engage KSU that are working to see that community-engaged learning becomes a central value and part of the culture of the university. Take advantage of opportunities or propose changes to your departmental or college T&P guidelines, changes that designate community-engaged teaching and scholarship as valued contributions.
There are abundant resources for external funding focused on community-engaged curriculum/teaching and program development. While this list is not exhaustive, here are several worth investigating.
National Council for Black Studies Civic & Community Education & Engagement Grants Program: Under this program grants will be awarded to support projects in which Africana Studies knowledge and skills are made available to local communities. Projects must involve active engagement of faculty and students with community organizations or residents. Up to $5000 possible.
Kellogg Foundation: Grants for “civic engagement.” Amounts are not disclosed and there are no deadlines. Grants are for new programs not those already in operation.
Jenzabar Foundation: This foundation issues grants to institutions of higher education in support of service-based student activities.
Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation: A Foundation whose mission is to foster campus-community partnerships for academic service and learning. The Foundation offers several monetary awards for higher education civic engagement, including the Campus Community Parternship Award and the Community Academic Service Entrepreneur Award (CASE).
The Bringing Theory to Practice Project, sponsored by the American Association of Colleges & Universities, funds projects that will promote engaged learning, civic development and engagement, and psychosocial well-being of college and university students. http://www.aacu.org/bringing_theory/index.cfm
Outreach Scholarship/W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award and the C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award: These awards, offered by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Kellogg Foundation, recognize the outreach and engagement partnership efforts of American four-year public universities.
Foundation Center: The Foundation Center identifies itself as the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants.
The Spencer Foundation’s New Civics Initiative: According to their website, the Spencer Foundation’s initiative is to support research that deepens understanding of educational and other influences on civic action, that attends to social inequalities in civic education and civic action, and that has the potential to shape future research and practice in these fields. The intent of the initiative is to create occasions for scholars’ learning, inquiry, and exchange – to strengthen the research community and its connections to educational policy and practice.
Small Grant proposal guidelines ($40,000 or less)
Major Grant proposal guidelines ($40,000 to $350,000)
Open Society Foundations: The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. They offer an extensive searchable database of grants in the following categories: Education & Youth, Governance and Accountability, Health, Media and Information, and Rights & Justice. In addition, the database allows searching by the following regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Carribbean, Middle East, and the United States.
CETL – KSU’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning promotes community-engaged teaching and offers professional development opportunities in the form of workshops, faculty learning communities, book discussions, webinars, and other ways to learn more about CET.
International Association for Research on Service-learning and Community Engagement, November 6-8 2013 Omaha, NE
Engagement Scholarship Consortium, October 6-9, 2013 Texas Tech University
PACE (Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement) Conference, February 5, 2014 Elon University
To request posting professional development opprotunities, please contact us.
Books (listed chronologically)
Research on Service Learning: Conceptual Frameworks and Assessments
Editors: Patti H. Clayton, Robert G. Bringle, and Julie A. Hatcher Publisher: Stylus Publishing, 2012
Democratic Dilemmas of Teaching Service-Learning: Curricular Strategies for Success
Authors: Christine M. Cress, David M. Donahue, and Associates Publisher: Stylus Publishing, 2011
International Service Learning: Conceptual Frameworks and Research
Editors: Robert G. Bringle, Julie A. Hatcher, and Steven G. Jones Publisher: Stylus, Publishing, 2010
Service-Learning in Theory and Practice: The Future of Community Engagement in Higher Education
Author: Dan W. Butin Publisher: Palgrave McMillian, 2010
Service-Learning in Higher Education: National and International Connections
Author: Phylis Lan Lin Publisher: University of Indianapolis Press, 2010
Service-Learning and Social Justice: Engaging Students in Social Change
Author: Susan Benigni Cipolle Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010
Civic Engagement in Higher Education: Concepts and Practices
Authors: Barbara Jacoby and Associates Publisher: Jossey-Bass, 2009
Service Learning in Higher Education
Author: Dr. Phylis Lan Lin (Author), Editor: Dr. Mary Moore (Editor) Publisher: University of Indianapolis Press, 2009
The Future of Service-Learning: New Solutions for Sustaining and Improving Practice
Editors: Jean R. Strait abd Marybeth Lima Foreward by: Andrew Furco Publisher: Stylus Publishing, 2009
Service-Learning Paradigms: Intercommunity, Interdisciplinary and International
Editors: Kenneth Colburn Jr. and Rona Newmark Publisher: University of Indianapolis Press, 2007
Service-Learning in Higher Education: Critical Issues and Directions
Editor: Dan W. Butin Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.