How do I arrange to offer service-learning in my classes?
Contact service-learning staff member Karen Booth by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 201.684.7447.
How do I go about integrating service-learning into my course(s)?
Meet with the service-learning staff as noted above to discuss learning objectives for your students. These are some questions you might want to ask yourself: In what ways will service-learning strengthen my course(s)? What possibilities does service-learning offer for energizing or motivating my students in new and different ways? How will it benefit my students to volunteer in the community while simultaneously doing the work in my course(s)?
Where do students perform their service-learning assignments?
The service-learning staff will work with you to determine the appropriateness of service-learning placements and the responsibilities assigned to students. Course content and goals are the h3est factors in deciding on the appropriateness of a specific placement. Over the past decade, the Service-Learning Program has worked with well over one hundred community partner organizations. Some of our community partners include the Mahwah School District , the Paterson School District , the Passaic County Public Defender’s Office, Weis Ecology Center , Rockland Family Court, Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg’s Office, Representative Scott Garrett’s Office, Friends for Life, the Interreligious Fellowship for the Homeless, the Day Laborers’ Project and Lorrimer Sanctuary.
Can faculty from all Schools and disciplines participate?
Yes, without question. Service-Learning is an adventure in interdisciplinarity. It has the capacity to cross disciplines and transcend them while reinforcing a commitment to learning itself as well as encouraging a lifelong commitment to the common good.
Why should I incorporate service-learning in my course(s)?
If you believe that neither teaching nor learning occur in a vacuum and if you believe that your students should be encouraged to actively participate in the society of which they are members, then you should h3ly consider incorporating service-learning into your course(s). Many cultural observers believe we are living in an age where people, especially college students, assign greater value and meaning to activities, including learning, in which they can be active participants. Inherently experiential, service-learning demands active participation and engagement from those who choose it.
Are there other issues to be considered?
Yes. Students and all others involved in the service-learning experience should be aware of the following factors that may have an impact on the experience.
– Volunteers play an essential role in many understaffed and underfinanced agencies and organizations. Students must understand that their scheduling commitments must be fully honored.
– Many service-learning positions involve work with people whose backgrounds and experiences may differ significantly from their own. Participants must be aware of and sensitive to the needs and feelings of those with whom they interact. Service-Learning is built upon reciprocity in learning and mutual respect among all constituents.
– It is sometimes difficult to strike a balance between caring for others and becoming overly involved and fostering dependence. Site supervisors will guide participants in approaching and carrying out their duties professionally.
– In many fields, information about clients or patients is covered by very strict rules of confidentiality. Supervisors will guide participants affected by obligations of confidentiality.
Observations of Unethical Behavior
– Participants observing possible unethical or illegal conduct should not attempt to address the situation on their own. Rather, consult immediately with the site supervisor, if appropriate and a Service-Learning Program staff member.
– Everyone experiences some degree of stress at one time or another. Because placements can be in settings that some may feel to be sad or depressing – e.g., nursing homes, homeless shelters, soup kitchens – it is important to maintain an awareness of how you might be reacting, in mind and body, to your experiences and interactions with others. Sometimes serving and learning in such settings can offer us the opportunity to challenge ourselves and our comfort levels. It is important to make every effort to maintain a sense of balance. Should you be feeling a high level of stress due to a situation or experience at your service-learning placement, contact a service-learning staff member immediately.
– Nothing is more important than your safety. Wherever you are placed, you must always be mindful of the setting and its surroundings. If, at any time, you believe your safety to be compromised, speak with your site supervisor, contact a service-learning staff member and, if warranted, leave the site. The service-learning staff will work with you to remedy the situation at the site if at all possible or arrange for you to transfer to another service-learning placement.
– The College is not by law able to indemnify or defend students from their negligent acts, errors or omissions. Volunteer service is usually covered by the liability insurance of the host agency or possibly through a parent’s or guardian’s homeowners, renters, and/or automobile liability insurance policy. It is recommended that students discuss the personal liability situation with the service-learning site, and if appropriate, with their parent’s or guardian’s insurance agency. Participation in off-campus service-learning, while h3ly encouraged and highly valuable, is always voluntary.