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Checklist for Service Learning Faculty

Prior to the course

  • Familiarize yourself with the literature on definitions and pedagogical best practices for service learning. For a suggested bibliography, contact Tara Carr-Lemke (carrlemke@lasalle.edu) or go to A Service Learning bibliography
  • Apply for the service learning course designation.
    • Draft a 1-2 page document that details how your course includes the following:
      • Identify the course learning objectives that will be enhanced through the engagement/service experience.
      • What service will students provide and for what length of time?
      • What reflection methods (minimum of two types) will be used to help students understand the connection between their service and the content of the course?
      • How will you prepare students for real world engagement that includes cultural awareness, seeing both community assets and needs, establishing a reciprocal relationship, and growing in these understandings over time? What role will the community have in the partnership?
      • How will you evaluate the learning that students have derived from the service experience?
    • Submit your application along with a copy of your syllabus and any related assignment instructions to Tara Carr-Lemke who will share the materials with the Service Learning Advisory Board. To receive the designation for the Fall semester, submit documents by March 1st and for the Spring semester by October 1st. Once the designation has been granted, the registrar will be notified.
  • Identify your community partner.
    • For a list and description of existing partners, go to http://wp.lasalle.edu/cel/ and follow the Service Learning link to “Our Community Partners.”
    • Speak with Heather McGee (mcgeeh@lasalle.edu) and/or Tara Carr-Lemke (carrlemke@lasalle.edu) if you are interested in brainstorming new partner ideas or if you have a suggestion of your own.
    • Determine if criminal background and child abuse clearances are required.
    • Discuss expectations and aspirations with your community partner. Share your syllabus and learning objectives and elicit feedback.
    • If you would like to have your partner’s site reviewed for safety standards:
      • Obtain course approval from the Service Learning Advisory Board.
      • Submit a site description (name, location, contact information) to Tara Carr-Lemke and Regina Gauss-Kosiek (gauss01@lasalle.edu).
      • Allow one month for a site visit and memo of understanding to be completed by University Ministry and Service (UMAS).
      • A representative of UMAS will contact the site and set up a time to meet and tour the facility. During the visit, the site is inspected for basic safety measures and the contact person is asked basic questions to verify that they understand the role they play.
      • Once the site visit is complete, a site audit form will be completed with basic descriptions of the facility and if there are any concerns or recommendations for a specific site. You will be contacted when the process is complete.
    • If you will encourage your students to join an established student-led FOCUS group in their weekly service, be certain to communicate this to Regina Gauss-Kosiek (gauss01@lasalle.edu) in UMAS in advance of the semester. Not all FOCUS groups have space for additional students, so discussing this plan will allow your students, the FOCUS groups, and the community agency partner meet your goals in a coordinated fashion.
  • If appropriate, apply for City as a Classroom funding to cover student transportation at http://www.lasalle.edu/portal/provost/cityclass.htm.

During the course

In addition to reviewing the syllabus and assignments:

  • Discuss with students the service learning nature of the course, including additional hours spent outside of the classroom as a part of a community partnership.
  • Confirm the final list of students and their placements. Share with the partner(s).
  • Discuss the pre-service requirements, including any clearances and the Code of Conduct. To access this information, go to http://wp.lasalle.edu/cel/community-engagement-and-service-learning/creating-a-service-learning-course/pre-service-requirements/.
  • Consider inviting the community partner(s) to your class for introductory discussion and/or a debriefing session.
  • Consider inviting a representative from UMAS to your classroom to discuss available historical or background information on the community partner and/or behavioral expectations at the partner site.
  • Verify students’ ability to navigate transportation to the site(s) and distribute any tokens.
  • Confirm via timesheets and/or partner verification of the number of hours students have worked with the partner(s).
  • As appropriate, request that community partner(s) complete student evaluations.
  • Assess service learning components of the course through course evaluations and reflection.

After the course

Debrief with the community partner and discuss lessons learned, as well as future paths.

  • If your students worked with FOCUS groups, debrief the experience with UMAS.
  • Evaluate and consider addressing student evaluations.
  • Consider modifications to the course and/or the use of service learning in the course.
  • Continue to make use of resources and research on service learning.

If you have interest in joining the service learning faculty cohort on campus, please contact Tara Carr-Lemke.  The cohort meets roughly three times a semester to discuss common readings, share pedagogical insights, and form a community of service learning practitioners at La Salle.