||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
To Graduate from UW-Eau Claire
MAILED: Oct. 19, 1999|
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire requires all students to fulfill 30 or more clock-hours of approved service-learning activities in order to graduate with a baccalaureate degree.
The 30-hour service-learning requirement is intended to provide students with the opportunity to serve their community through knowledge gained in the classroom and to enhance their critical thinking skills.
There are two ways in which to meet the service-learning requirement. Students may choose the credit option by enrolling in one of more than ninety approved academic courses, or students may complete a noncredit service-learning project through noncourse activities.
Two bulletin boards where students can learn about available service-learning projects are located on campus. The primary bulletin board is located outside 119 Campus School and another opportunity board can be found at 133 Davies Center.
To qualify as a service-learning project, it must challenge students to apply their academic knowledge and skills to meet community needs and to reflect upon and integrate their community experience with their academic preparation. The service activity must be conducted in and meet the needs of the community. It also must be integrated into and enhance the academic curriculum of the student. The service activity includes structured time for the students to reflect on their experiences. This reflection may be done in the form of a paper, oral presentation, group discussion or individual discussion with the course instructor or faculty/staff mentor of the project.
In the case of service-learning projects that are not a part of a course, students must seek out a faculty/staff mentor and a community partner/project supervisor who will supervise the activity. The three then jointly develop the project while ensuring the project will be a beneficial experience for the student and the community organization.
After the project is completed, the student arranges to meet with the faculty/staff mentor to conduct the reflection activities. Students commonly prepare a journal and reflection paper, followed by a discussion with the mentor. The most significant learning often occurs during the reflection phase. Students are encouraged to think about the significance of the learning project, the life-long impact of the service and the insights gained that might help in selecting a career.
When choosing a service-learning project, students may choose to complete an activity related to their major field of study, but it is not necessary. Service-learning projects include tutoring young people, working in domestic violence or homeless shelters and teaching or coaching recreational activities. Students also may choose to do more in-depth projects such as developing a promotional campaign for a community agency or organizing a voter registration campaign.
Students in the past have worked with the various phases of a Habitat for Humanity project, such as constructing homes, fundraising or site selection. The Center for Service-Learning cooperates with the Community Service Program of Kansas State University to arrange service-learning projects in Latin American communities for eight weeks during the summer. This past summer, four UW-Eau Claire students served on teams in Mexico, Costa Rica and Paraguay.
Community Action and Lifelong Learning is a UW-Eau Claire program that was established in 1974. CALL was created as a way to connect students with volunteer service opportunities in the surrounding area. The Center for Service-Learning and CALL share similar missions and resources, but they are independent programs. Volunteer activities through CALL may be adapted into a service-learning project, but not all CALL projects automatically will fulfill the service-learning requirement.
The University must agree on a student's service activity, learning objectives and reflection method prior to the beginning of the service. Students may not use projects they completed in high school or at another time of their lives toward the required service-learning hours. The service-learning requirement can be fulfilled regardless of whether the student is paid as long as the work is meeting an identified community need.
For more information on the service-learning requirement, stop by the Center for Service-Learning, 119 Campus School, or call (715) 836-4649. Individuals also may visit the office's Web site at www.uwec.edu/Admin/SL/.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Oct. 19, 1999