Syllabi Criteria for Submission
In judging which syllabi were/are to be posted on the Compact web database, the first criteria were conceptual. These conceptual categories (also discussed in the publication, The Fundamentals of Course Construction) are recognized as the following:
- Engagement: Does the service component meet a public good? How do you know this? Has the community been consulted? How? How have campus-community boundaries been negotiated and how will they be crossed?
- Reflection: Is there a mechanism that encourages students to link their service experience to course content and to reflect upon why the service is important?
- Reciprocity: Is reciprocity evident in the service component? How? ‘Reciprocity suggests that every individual, organization, and entity involved in the service-learning functions as both a teacher and a learner. Participants are perceived as colleagues, not as servers and clients.’ (Jacoby, 1996 p.36)
- Public Dissemination: Is service work presented to the public or made an opportunity for the community to enter into a public dialogue? For example: Do oral histories students collect return to the community in some public form? Is the data students collect on the saturation of toxins in the local river made public? How? To whose advantage?
Beyond adhering to these overarching course design consideration, the syllabi we chose to post tend to be organized in a format using a combination of the following categories:
- Heading, that includes the university name, department, course title, catalog number, semester/year, and faculty contact information (including rank, office hours, email, office and/or home phone, and office address)
- Course description that introduces the service component
- Course introduction that articulates the relevance of service to the course
- Course goals that articulate the general education outcomes for the course
- Course objectives that clarify for students what service learning outcome the faculty member will measure
- Required texts/ readings
- A weekly semester schedule (please note that due to formatting difficulties we had to delete the schedule from a small number of syllabi)
- An overview of course assignments
- A description of the service-learning assignments that includes specific information about the service placement.
- An overview or explanation of the grading policy (that includes a discussion of who will evaluate the students’ community work.) This overview should connect course objectives to the allotted percentage points that faculty assign projects, papers, journals, presentations, etc.
As you sift through the on-line syllabi you will note that not all syllabi we have posted include all of these components. The truth is most of the syllabi we reviewed in the course of this project omitted one or more of these categories. In an effort to provide you with a range of syllabi we looked for syllabi that adhered to the conceptual categories discussed above and included many of the formatting characteristics we identified above. Moreover we looked for syllabi that were coherent and offered students a clear connection between the course content and the service assignment. We also chose a selection of syllabi that had unique features, e.g., reflection focused courses. In the coming months we will continue to revise our syllabi site. We will continue collecting and reviewing syllabi and posting those we find exemplary. We are particularly interested in syllabi from the following types of courses:
- First-year seminars and/or learning communities.
- Senior capstones.
- Inter-disciplinary courses.
- Sequential courses or cases in which all or most of a students’ core courses are service-learning courses.
If you are interested in submitting your syllabus please email a copy to Maggie Grove or mail a hard copy to:
45 Temple Place
Boston, MA 02111
Please fill out this online form to submit your own syllabus.