Discipline-Based Service-Learning

In this model, students are expected to have a presence in the community throughout the semester and reflect on their experiences on a regular basis throughout the semester using course content as a basis for their analysis and understanding.

Example: Sacred Heart College
History 252: Medieval Europe

Purpose: This course aims to study the development of a distinctly European Western civilization that emerged from the Mediterranean and Classical world as well as other northern ‘barbarian’ tribes. We will seek to understand the development of a distinctly ‘western civilization’ in Europe by (1) focusing on political, economic and religious institutions, (2) by looking at the ideological and cultural system and the collective mentality, and (3) by looking at a variety of people who inhabited these worlds. In the Medieval world each person had a fixed place in society, and entered their role through birth and ‘calling’: they had a duty to live in society in a certain way.

Community-Based Component: (A course option in place of a paper). You may do a student-teaching internship with sixth-graders at Winthrop School, Reed School or Moran School. Students will present units on the medieval world, work with reading skills, and design and run projects with the sixth graders.

Related Assignment: A written report of your experience (15 pages) is due at the end of the semester.


Sample Assingments from Other Courses:

The examples in this category use a specific disciplinary construct from which students examine a community need. The assignments are generally focused on the service experience as opposed to completing a project. The best of these have an impact that extends far beyond the classroom. For example, the assignments in David Protess’s Investigative Journalism and Special Topics in Journalism: The News Media and Capital Punishment, allow for the possibility of immediate and powerful social action on the part of the students.

Art: Debra McDowell, Draping.
The service component of the course seeks to acquaint student with body measurement specifications, problem solving and the needs of disabled population
Service Component: Students complete 40 hours of service assisting physically impaired individuals in a variety of tasks (reading, writing letters or other agreed upon tasks.
Related Assignments: Students maintain weekly reflective journals and activity logs. Students must make a final presentation of an apparel or accessory product designed for their client. (The client will be in class to contribute to the discussion of the feasibility of the use of the product.)

Composition: Eileen Schell, Writing and Learning in the Community.
Service Component: Students must complete 20 hours of service. The service placement is facilitated by the campus center for public and community service. The Center assists students in finding a suitable placement, allowing them to choose from a list of non-profit organizations and agencies.
Related assignments: Project Portfolio #1 ’“ Setting your Action Agenda and Learning Goals. Find out about the organization and the responsibilities of the volunteer. Establish 4 or 5 learning goals, including at least one writing goal.
Project Portfolio #2 ’“ Writing about your Service Site/Service Experiences. Write about some aspect of service site or a significant incident. Should include interviews of site coordinator(s) and/or other volunteer(s).
Project Portfolio #3 ’“ Analyzing/arguing about community issues. Address a problem and the changes ’“economic, structural, social attitudes—that must take place in order to solve it. Must consult other sources to gain other perspectives on the issue.
The first project portfolio is not assigned until the fifth week of class, allowing the students time to complete readings, write reader responses and visit their community site before embarking on this first project.

Composition: Nancy DeJoy, Critical Reading, Writing and Researching.
This course is designed to assist students in formulating new understandings of our cultural and personal histories of literacy.
Service Component: Students tutor in local GED prep class
Related assignments: Students write a short paper modeled on one of the GED students’ assignments.

Composition: Frances Payne Adler, Witnessing Welfare.
Service Component: Students partner with Monterey Peninsula College’s Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) and students enrolled in the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) to produce a web page and CD-ROM which builds upon the previous year’s book, Education As Emancipation: Women On Welfare Speak Out.
Related assignments: One poem/story and visual about the student’s community partner’s experience with welfare reform; writing (facilitated by student) by the community partner; a second poem/story about the community partner or one reflection of student’s experience
Other assignments: research paper that examines one aspect of welfare reform; creation of one web site for a web page with a written introduction; visuals to accompany writings; a journal, and a web page and CD-ROM.

Education: Terri Wheeler, Multicultural Children’s Literature.
Service Component: Students are required to complete 25 hours of community service in an organized storytelling or reading group in a local school.
Related assignments: Students must complete a reflection paper on the role of multicultural children’s literature in liberation pedagogy and its connection with the student’s personal goals.
Other course assignments: Students research children’s literatures from diverse cultures while reflecting upon their own literacy development, by researching and recounting ‘literary gems’ —stories, rhymes, songs and anecdotes from their own families.

Environmental Science: Laura Lee Lienk, Watershed Restoration in the Schools and Community.
Service Component and Related assignments: This course asks students to share the relevance and importance of their environmental science knowledge with culturally, linguistically, technologically, and economically diverse populations. Assignments involve implementing projects or teaching course-related topics at local schools: landscaping a native plant garden, designing a nature trail, or coordinating an Earth Day event.

Environmental Science: Eric Pallant, ES 589 Environmental Science: Sustainable Solutions
Service Component: Students work in teams as a consulting group to the Center for Economic and Environmental Development at Allegheny College (CEED). CEEDS’s mission is to increase the understanding of community and regional leaders for economic and environmental decisions. CEED has identified nine environmental areas students can investigate to develop projects in cooperation with community stakeholders.

History: John Roney, Medieval Europe.
The course examines the medieval world focusing on the notion that each person had a fixed place in society and entered that role through birth. This ‘calling’ assumed that each had a duty to live in society in a certain way.
Service Component: Students may choose a service learning option in lieu of paper. The service places students as tutors to sixth grade children in nearby schools. Students present units on the medieval world and assist children with reading skills.
Related assignments: Students must produce a 15-page paper detailing their service learning activities and experiences.

Journalism: David Protess, Investigative Journalism and Special Topics in Journalism: The News Media and Capital Punishment.
Service Component and Related assignments: Students create a historical profile of someone who appears to be wrongly convicted and condemned to die. Students create a case analysis of a prisoner, assessing his guilt or innocence and describing the reporting necessary to publish or broadcast a story about the case.

Linguistics: William Labov, Linguistics 470/English 260 Advanced Topics in Narrative.
Service Component and Related assignments: After examining literary narratives, including Scandinavian, Greek and Hebrew epics, medieval romances, and modern novels, with attention to differences between vernacular, literary and academic style, students will write a narrative for the teaching of reading to African American children in 2nd to 4th grades. The narratives should motivate children to read, and are to be developed in four cultural frameworks: hip-hop, traditional Southern, African-centered and Inspirational Gospel.

Liberal Arts Elective: Ellen Messer, World Hunger, Human Rights to Food and Freedom from Hunger.
Service Component: the course asks students to choose ‘a public service activity that will bring her/him personally in contact with the hungry’.
Related assignments: The course objectives ask students to analyze the political and economical concerns of producing and distributing food, the sociocultural issues of defining who has membership in the community and what constitutes food, and how that complicates the questions of basic rights. Students are asked to reflect on their service as they construct three papers that address policies in the US and other countries regarding access to food.

Music: Bonnie Gritton, The Pianist in the Community: Career Development and Volunteerism.
This class seeks to explore career development in music and the role of the arts (and the artist) in community and public service. The course focuses on professional skill preparation e.g., researching and describing all available job markets, preparing a professional vita, developing press kits, and exploring fund-raising techniques.
Service Component: Students work at local schools teaching weekly music lessons to children, preparing children for recitals, and coordinating monthly recitals.
Related assignments: Students keep a weekly journal describing musical goals achieved at lessons and the influence of music on child’s self discipline, sociality and self-esteem.

Sociology: Sam Marullo, Social Movements.
The course seeks to assist students in becoming knowledgeable of a particular social movement and a particular social movement organization (SMO).
Service Component: Students volunteer 3-5 hours a week at an SMO.
Related assignments: Students write a fundraising letter to raise money for their SMO and an advocacy piece, (a letter to the editor, congressional representative, or other institutional elite) designed to educate that person or the public on a particular issue about their movement.
Other course assignments: Students complete a monograph or an extensive report on a particular social movement; write a comparative paper that addresses a question about one aspect of all of the movements and present that paper; and write a final paper describing their SMO.