Vol. 52, No. 32Seventeenth Week • Spring Semester • May 16, 2005

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University Senate approves service-learning criteria
The UW-Eau Claire University Senate has approved new guidelines that establish curricular criteria for service-learning. The vote to approve came during the University Senate meeting May 10.

The guidelines, developed by the Service-Learning Ad Hoc Committee, define service-learning as part of the UW-Eau Claire curriculum, subject to the same academic standards as any other requirement for graduation. UW-Eau Claire is among a select few regional public universities nationally that mandate students complete 30 hours of service-learning as a requirement of graduation. (See the Center for Service-Learning Web site.)

The guidelines create a number of objectives for service-learning projects, including:

  • Each service-learning project will address a need within a community.
  • Each service-learning project will involve collaboration among a student, UW-Eau Claire mentor and community partner.
  • Each service-learning proposal will contain a rationale for significant learning.
  • Each service-learning report will explain how the project relates to either the student’s major or minor area of study, or one or more goals of the baccalaureate.

In addition to specific guidelines, the senate approved a revised mission statement for service-learning, which describes service and learning as activities that promote the common good and service-learning as an important part of an undergraduate liberal arts experience that prepares students for a life of informed, ethical, responsible and active citizenship. The mission statement reads, in part, “Service-learning is learning because it must educate students. It challenges them to apply concepts and principles they have learned in their college coursework to their other experiences — and to apply experiential insights critically and creatively to their college learning.”

“These new guidelines provide a solid curricular foundation for fulfilling the service-learning requirement,” said Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Steve Tallant.

“In addition to fostering a habit of lifelong service and civic engagement, students will apply what they have learned in the classroom to benefit their community,” Tallant said.

In 2003-04, UW-Eau Claire students performed a total of nearly 100,000 hours of service-learning for organizations including the American Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Hope Gospel Mission, Jumpstart and the Reading Partners Program.

As approved, the guidelines state that the university will not award service-learning hours for time spent directly involved in promoting religious doctrine, proselytizing or worship, or for time spent on activities that focus on seeking private monetary profit. Under the guidelines, students may engage in any kind of volunteer service to any kind of organization they choose, but those activities may not meet the curricular criteria established to fulfill the service-learning graduation requirement

"These guidelines are the result of thoughtful discussion and deliberation conducted in our time-honored tradition of open discourse and shared governance,” said Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson. “The university is grateful to the work of the ad hoc committee, which included a cross-section of faculty, staff and students representing diverse disciplines and wide-ranging perspectives.

“We appreciate the many hours committee members and senators spent creating, reviewing and approving guidelines that affirm the value of service-learning and establish curricular criteria for fulfilling the requirement.”

Larson likened the service-learning requirement to hours students must spend on other curricular activities required for graduation.

“In my discipline, communication disorders, students must complete a set number of hours in clinical settings — and the same is true for many other fields of study,” Larson said.

The new guidelines must be approved by Larson prior to implementation. Go to top of page

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University Bulletin
Published weekly during the fall and spring semesters by the UW-Eau Claire News Bureau. News items and notices should be sent to the News Bureau, Schofield 201, by 10 a.m. Monday for publication in the following week’s issue. E-mail submissions to Julie Poquette at poquetjm@uwec.edu are encouraged. Faculty/staff news items are published on a space-available basis.


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