Engaged Department and Faculty Rewards Initiatives of the Northern New England Campus Compacts

About the Engaged Department and Faculty Rewards Initiatives

In 2007, the Campus Compacts of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont embarked on a three-year initiative to incorporate civic engagement and public scholarship into departmental work and faculty rewards processes on campuses in Northern New England. This two-part project included the Engaged Department Initiative (19 academic units) and the Faculty Rewards Initiative (five campuses).

Goals of the Initiative

  • Provide a focused opportunity to integrate civic engagement into departmental work, including enhanced coherence in the major/program.
  • Examine the links between service-learning and retention in college.
  • Engage campus leadership and faculty in dialogue about the faculty rewards process.
  • Create and disseminate practices, strategies and/or policies to foster change at the departmental level and reward public scholarship by faculty.

Resources from the Initiative

  • Committing to Community Engagement
    This publication shares the common lessons learned from academic units that planned and implemented an engaged curriculum as part of a movement toward overall departmental engagement. It includes concrete tools and strategies that can be adapted and used by any department seeking to integrate engagement into its curriculum.
  • CC Faculty Rewards Institute Guide
    A how-to manual for planners of workshops and programs to support the revision of faculty rewards policies and processes to recognize the scholarship of engagement. Contains tools and step-by-step instructions for delivering programs.
  • Initiative outcomes
  • Examples of Campus Outcomes
  • Participating campuses with links to their action plans and tools
    Making change in departments involves a planning process. Campuses documented their plans and share them here.
  • Syllabi
    Some campuses created courses in a developmental sequence for civic engagement. This link connects you to Campus Compact’s searchable database of syllabi.
  • Service-Learning and Retention Study
    Findings: Effects of Service-Learning on Retention
    Over 700 service-learning students across 15 campuses and three states participated in a study exploring the relationship between service-learning and retention.

Funding for these initiatives was received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.

Initiative Outcomes

  • A total of 94 courses were designed or redesigned to include community-engaged pedagogy (service-learning, community based research, community based learning) and delivered as part of this Initiative.
  • Over 100 faculty were trained in the use of community-engaged pedagogies for the first time. In total, over 350 faculty, staff and administrators were trained in service-learning/civic engagement through workshops, conferences and consultations made possible through this grant.
  • A total of 19 departments or units created annual action plans for the integration of service-learning and civic engagement at the departmental level. These action plans resulted in significant embedding of community-based pedagogies in all units, many with a developmental sequence of courses for students. Grantees submitted new or revised syllabi, actions plans, and other materials for national dissemination.
  • Also, as part of these initiatives, 698 students from northern New England campuses participated in an online survey measuring the effects of service-learning on student retention, academic challenge, academic engagement, interpersonal engagement, and community engagement. Students who engaged in more intensive service-learning experiences scored higher on all five scales than students who engaged in less intensive service-learning experiences. This study replicated and extended the findings of an earlier study by Gallini and Moely (2003) indicating that students from service-learning courses scored significantly higher on the above five measures than students from non-service-learning courses.
  • Five campuses developed action plans aimed at revision of tenure and promotion guidelines, completed campus self-assessment rubrics at the beginning and the end of the grant year, and submitted materials for dissemination demonstrating the outcomes of their work to promote and recognize engaged scholarship.

Examples of Campus Outcomes

Castleton State College’s Sociology Department (Vermont) created multiple ways their majors can participate in a scaffolded approach to engaged learning. In one instance, a concentration within the major was constructed to move students through progressively more independent work – from introductory community service work, to student-led group community service projects, to individual student internships and leadership positions. Another approach begins by having students work with community partners in the first-year seminar Introduction to Sociology, and progresses to upper-level research in Sociology related to community-based research projects. A third example of scaffolding will be run in conjunction with the college’s newly created Engaged Certificate Program, which began in fall 2010.

The University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR) reached its goal of creating an intentional approach for sustaining and institutionalizing student and civic engagement in the School through collaborative learning with several curricular level accomplishments, including: the creation of a public document outlining key desired outcomes for ‘collaborative learning’ in the school’s undergraduate curriculum; the development of a curriculum map that gives a comprehensive understanding of how/when/where service-learning happens in curriculum; and a guide for faculty to use when advising students when/which service-learning courses to take. Faculty were able to revise the sophomore year experience within the core curriculum based on developmental levels and the desired outcomes of collaborative learning. A proposal regarding a revised sophomore year experience was drafted and presented to the RSENR faculty.

Plymouth State University’s Environmental Science and Policy Department (New Hampshire) increased the number and quality of service-learning offerings. They saw an increase in participation in their courses and their major when they increased the number of service-learning courses. They also created a new disciplinary student association to channel increased student interest and skill in the community work fostered by the departmental service-learning offerings.

The Maine College of Art’s (MECA) core curriculum group (Maine) completely revamped their first year core to include introductory, faculty-facilitated service-learning experiences for all students. The new first year core has been piloted, revised, and established. The second year core service-learning experience has been piloted, and faculty throughout the institution have been trained in service-learning to prepare them for integration in the majors. Faculty developed a vision and curricular plan for how service-learning is integrated into all four years of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. In addition, MECA is working to become the first art school in the country to offer a minor in Public Engagement. All this work occurred during a period where MECA suffered major financial setbacks, including the layoffs of key faculty.

Unity College’s Center for Experiential and Environmental Education (Maine) was able to both increase their service-learning course offerings through the Davis funding, and they developed a tiered leadership program and certification of engagement with service learning as part of their Core program. The college has a core of courses (Core I, II, III and IV) that require students to become knowledgeable in the mechanics and purposes behind service-learning. They then participate at varying degrees and with different levels of engagement, from following a leader through a prescribed course of action, to designing their own challenge on how they will impact and help this world. This model has a built-in progression and allows students and faculty to address the needs of the developing college student at various levels, in an ongoing program throughout their time at Unity.

Saint Michael’s College (Vermont) brought an outside scholar, David Scobey of Bates College and chair of Imagining America, to campus to work with the faculty council and administrators on issues related to faculty rewards. He led a two-hour joint discussion with these groups on the clarification of terms such as “engaged scholarship” and the consideration of how service-learning informs, enhances, or inspires faculty research in the community. He presented to and  led discussions with the following stakeholder groups: the Undergraduate Research Committee, the Service-Learning Advisory Board, the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee, and the Teaching Resource Committee. The campus is now prepared to reconsider their tenure and promotion policies and guidelines.

Participating Campuses

Departments Participating in the Engaged Department Initiative:

  • Bates College French Department click here for action plans
  • Castleton State College Sociology Program click here for action plans
  • Keene State College – Integrative Studies Program click here for action plans
  • Lewiston Auburn College of USM – General Education click here for action plans
  • Maine College of Art – First and Second Year Seminar click here for action plans
  • Maine College of Art – Majors Integration Team click here for action plans
  • New England College – General Education Curriculum click here for action plans
  • Plymouth State U – Art Education Program click here for action plans
  • Plymouth State U. – Environmental Science and Policy click here for action plans
  • Saint Anselm College – Core Curriculum: Humanities, Philosophy & Theology click here for action plans
  • Saint Joseph’s College – Communications Department click here for action plans
  • Saint Joseph’s College – Sociology and Criminal Justice click here for action plans
  • Saint Michael’s College – Applied Linguistics Department click here for action plans
  • Saint Michaels’ College – Peace and Justice Minor click here for action plans
  • Unity College – Experiential and Environmental Education click here for action plans
  • Unity College – Interdisciplinary Core click here for action plans
  • University of Maine at Machias – Behavioral Sciences & Community Studies click here for action plans
  • University of Maine at Presque Isle – Criminal Justice click here for action plans
  • University of Vermont – Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources click here for action plans

Campuses Attending New Paradigms in Faculty Rewards Workshop and Receiving Grants:

These campuses all sent teams consisting of chief academic officers, senior engaged faculty, junior engaged faculty, civic engagement staff, and others to a two-day workshop focused on action planning for changing the process or policies of faculty reward systems. Five campuses applied for and received grants to implement their action plans. See below for links to the action plans of those campuses.

  • Daniel Webster College
  • Dartmouth College
  • Plymouth State University – grantee click here for Faculty Rewards action plan
  • Saint Joseph’s College – grantee click here for Faculty Rewards action plan
  • Saint Michael’s College – grantee click here for Faculty Rewards action plan
  • Southern Vermont College – grantee click here for Faculty Rewards action plan
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of Vermont – grantee click here for Faculty Rewards action plan


In this section, you will find over 300 exemplary service-learning syllabi across a wide variety of disciplines. If this is your first time looking at the project, we highly recommend that you read the introduction, which provides a framework by which educators can best conceptualize integrating service learning into their courses.

Read the Introduction

Browse the Syllabi by Discipline,

View Criteria for Submissions

A group of additional syllabi are available for downloading at the Campus Compact for New Hampshire website: http://www.compactnh.org/

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