Service-Learning Advisory Committee
St. Cloud State University has, in recent years, seen a significant increase in the use of service-learning. This powerful pedagogy engages students and allows them to use and expand their knowledge while contributing to their communities.
Increasing desire to encourage college students’ civic engagement and recognition of the significant pedagogical value of service-learning, as well as the presence of an AmeriCorps member serving as SCSU’s Service-Learning Coordinator, have translated into growing institutional support for service-learning initiatives. Ensuring continued faculty and administrative support for service-learning advances SCSU’s Mission Statement and Strategic Plan, as well as being important to several North Central Association Accreditation criteria. It is further valuable in supporting faculty efforts to “improve pedagogy” through effective “course development, curriculum design [and] instructional innovation”; in addition, service-learning is an excellent opportunity for faculty service to the community (cf. IFO-MnSCU Master Agreement, Article 22 and Appendix G).
In order to encourage the growth of institutional support for service-learning at SCSU, the University Administration, at the request of the Faculty Senate, established a university committee to serve as the Service-Learning Advisory Committee. This committee will encourage new service-learning initiatives and support existing projects by identifying how the Service-Learning Coordinator and the University community can best support and foster service-learning. The Committee will increase the use of service-learning at SCSU and help to ensure its high-quality implementation by communicating best practices in service-learning to faculty members and community partners and by advocating for the necessary University resources and for increased recognition of the use and value of service-learning at SCSU.
The make-up of the Service-Learning Advisory Committee will be as follows:
- Two faculty representatives elected from each college, at least one of whom has implemented a significant service-learning project in at least one of his/her classes (minimum of 15 hours per student per semester, optional service-learning projects are acceptable). This condition guarantees that the committee will contain sufficient service-learning expertise, while remaining accessible to faculty who are interested in, but have limited or no experience with, service-learning.
- St. Cloud State Experiential Learning and Outreach Coordinators from each college or school were added to the committee in spring 2014 as voting members should they choose to sit on the committee.
- The Director of CETL was added to the committee as a voting member as of spring 2014, given the strong connection this position has to faculty development, scholarship, teaching, learning and service.
- Two student representatives appointed by student government. These students will ensure that the student voice is heard regarding service-learning and its successful implementation.
- A representative of the St. Cloud Area Volunteer Coordinators (SCAVC). This committee member will represent community partners, particularly regarding their experiences of best practices in service-learning. SCAVC will determine how to appoint one of its members to the Advisory Committee.
- The Faculty Liaison for Service-Learning and the Associate Director for Civic Engagement will represent the Civic Engagement Program. The Faculty Liaison for Service-Learning will co-facilitate the Committee’s meetings and provide program support. The Associate Director for Civic Engagement oversees all co-curricular service programming and supports and promotes academic service-learning. Both are in frequent communication with all the stakeholders in academic service-learning (faculty, students, community partners, and University administration).
- The United Way Manager of Partnerships & Services and the RSVP Program Coordinator. Given these positions’ contacts with many St. Cloud area agencies, they can represent those agencies’ needs and wishes and act as a liaison between the Service-Learning Advisory Committee and the community. Further, these two individuals are a valuable resource for identifying appropriate partnerships between the University and community agencies.
- An ex-officio representative of University administration to be appointed by the Provost. This representative will ensure open communication between the committee and the administration.
Elected faculty representatives will serve terms of two (2) or three (3) years. Elected faculty representatives may serve more than one consecutive term.
The Committee shall meet between two and four times every calendar year and at least once in every Fall and once in every Spring Semester. [Updated Summer 2014]
For more information contact: G.N. Rangamani, Ph.D., Faculty Liaison for Service-Learning, at 320-308-3898 or firstname.lastname@example.org.