Syllabi Examples

Annotated Syllabus

Providence College
Public and Community Service Studies: PSP 301

Community Service in American Culture

Faculty: John Saltmarsh: (401) 863-1156,
Jim Tull: jtull@CCRI.CC.RI.US
Class Meetings: Monday and Thursday 2:30-3:45 PM, Room FC 218
Office Hours: Appointments with faculty should be made on an individual basis

This entire paragraph connects Service-Learning to the mission of the college, the department, and the discipline.

Public and Community Service Studies at Providence College

Furthering the mission of Providence College, Public and Community Service Studies involves a systematic and rigorous study of the major conceptual themes of community, service, compassion, public ethics, social justice and social change, and leadership. The goals of the major include providing students with the civic skills of critical thinking, public deliberation and communication, public problem solving, collective action and community building.

This paragraph makes explicit why this service activity is in the course

The Course

Within the context of the public and community service studies curriculum, this course provides the historical context for understanding community service in American culture. Contemporary understandings of community and service along with current experience in community and with service provision have been socially constructed in the United States over the past two hundred years. Meanings assigned to community and service have also been highly contested, in large part because they are concepts that embody values, beliefs, attitudes, and ideas that are central to definitions of democracy, social justice, civic resiliency and public life.

This is an interdisciplinary, experientially based course designed to provide community and classroom-based opportunities to examine this historical context. The method of study relies upon your service experience, allowing you to apply and examine concepts addressed in class to your own practical experience in service others.

Community Site:

“How” this is service.

Amos House
415 Friendship Street
Adrienne Marchetti (Assistant Director) 272-0220 and Maggie Meany (Volunteer Coordinator) 831-9866
Community Assistant: Sarah Long:
Amos House is a comprehensive social service organization that provides support to homeless and transitional men and woman in South Providence. Amos House operates a men’s and women’s shelter as well as a meal site which provides free breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday. Founded and developed in the Catholic Worker tradition, Amos House has since undergone major changes as it has become one of the largest social service organizations/shelters in the state. Last year, an on-site medical clinic was established.

Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of this course are:

Goal: Draw upon your introduction to community service and service learning from PSP 101.
Objective: Demonstrate an understanding of the history of participatory democracy in the United States.

Goal: Deepen your thinking and practice of community partnerships and relationships in community.

Connects the service site to the course description.

Objective: Demonstrate an understanding of the history of community organizing and its relevance to service provision.
Objective: Describe a historical framework with which to analyze structures of service provision.
Objective: Describe a context for examining the organization of knowledge and institutions of higher education in relation to community-based public problem solving.

Goal: Provide a framework and grounding for community service that makes connections between service and political engagement.
Objective: Demonstrate an ability to analyze and critique the dominant charity model of service and its institutional context.

This third goal reflects a particular critique of the dominant “charity” model of community service and service learning that encourages students to think that individual actions are a substitute for focusing on larger structural issues. The approach to social problems as individual concerns positions service as distinct from political activity, which involves working with others to influence (or alter) societal institutions. Part of our readings and community-based activity will be focused on exploring alternatives to the charity model.

States “general” educational outcomes

Assorted handouts, including:

Clarifies how the goal will be realized.
  • Jane Addams, “The Subtle Problems of Charity” (1899)
  • Wendell Berry, “Does Community have a Value?”
    “Conserving Communities”
  • Nina Eliasoph, Avoiding Politics: How Americans Produce Apathy in Everyday Life
    (1998) (selected chapters).
  • John McKnight, “Professionalizing Service and Disabling Help
  • “Keith Morton and John Saltmarsh, “Addams, Day, and Dewey: The Emergence of
    Community Service in American Culture (1997)
  • Sara Mosle, “The Vanity of Volunteerism” (2000)
    This objective focuses on the learning product, not the teaching process.

    “Community Profiles”


  • Robert Coles, Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion ( 1987)
  • Robert Fischer, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America, Updated Edition (1994)
  • Jedidiah Purdy, For Common Things (1999)
  • Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States


1. Community Service/Expectations and Obligations __________%

Complete an average of 3-5 hours of community service per week.
The intellectual and practical foundation of this course is the relationship with the community partner. Service sites invest resources to accommodate you and willingly make themselves dependent on you. Clients at the sites value the consistency and reliability of your presence. Your reliability and commitment are non-negotiable. If you need to reschedule or alter your commitment in any way, you are expected to arrange this as much in advance as possible, call in if circumstances warrant, and/or call in to arrange back-up as necessary. If problems arise, contact the instructors or CA as soon as possible.

2. Weekly Journal Entries including Reflections on Readings __________%
3. Attendance and Participation __________%
4. Seminar Facilitation __________%
5. Final Paper __________%

Week 1:
Thursday, September 7:

Week 2:
Monday, September 11 and Thursday, September 14
Community, Charity, and Politics.
Students are required to attend the Institute Student Orientation, FAC 4th Floor, September 14, 4-5 PM.

Week 3:
Monday, September 18 and Thursday, September 22
Community, Charity, and Politics. (cont.)
’¢Community Profiles

Week 4:
Monday, September 25 and Thursday, September 29
The Catholic Worker Tradition and Amos House

Week 5:

Monday, October 2 and Thursday, October 5
Facilitator 1.___________________

A Context for Service: I. The Crisis of Community (1880-1920)
’¢Zinn, 11-14.
’¢Fischer, 1

Week 6:
Monday, October (9) 10 and Thursday, October 12
A Context for Service: 2. The Origins of Amos House
’¢Morton and Saltmarsh

Week 7:

Monday, October 16 and Thursday, October 19
Facilitator 2.___________________

A Context for Service: 3. Radical Organizing (1920-1945)
’¢Zinn, 15-16
’¢Fischer, 2

Week 8:

Monday, October 23 and Thursday, October 27 Facilitator 3.___________________

A Context for Service: 4. Community in the Affluent Society (1945-1960)
’¢Zinn, 17
’¢Fischer, 3

Week 9:

Monday, October 30 and Thursday, November 2
Facilitator 4.___________________

A Context for Service: 5. Community Building in the 60s and 70s (1960-1970)
’¢Zinn, 18-20
’¢Fischer, 3

Week 10:

Monday, November 6 and Thursday, November 9
Facilitator 5.___________________

A Context for Service: The Crisis of Civic Renewal (1980-2000)
’¢Zinn, 21-23
’¢Fischer, 6

Week 11:

Monday, November 13 and Thursday, Nov. 16
Facilitator 6._________________

Higher Education, Community Building, and the Lessons of Service.
’¢(selected handouts)

Week 12:

Monday, November 20 (Holiday, Thursday, Nov. 23)
Facilitator 7.__________________

Politics and Service in Contemporary Times

Week 13:
Monday, November 27 and Thursday, November 30
Politics and Service in Contemporary Times : (Cont.)

Week 14:
Monday, December 4 and Thursday, December 7

Week 15:
Reading and Exam Week