Expanding Community Partnerships

February 25, 2015

West Virginia University is engaged in several initiatives to increase faculty incentives and rewards for participation in civic engagement activities, to increase opportunities for students to engage in activities which increase civic competencies and habits, and to assess our progress toward these objectives. We are currently in the second year of a four year W.K. Kellogg grant, Expanding Community Partnerships, which funds partnerships between WVU faculty/departments and communities throughout the state. These partnerships involve students and faculty in ongoing, sustainable programs which address community-identified needs.

West Virginia University revised its promotion and tenure guidelines in 1998 to allow faculty to renegotiate their contracts. Faculty can now, with the agreement of their department chair and college dean, work to achieve excellence in teaching and service instead of teaching and research.
To assess the degree to which this, and other programs on campus, are helping students to develop civic competencies and habits, providing opportunities for faculty to engage in true civic partnerships, and encouraging faculty to engage in community-based teaching and action research, we have begun an evaluation process which will gradually expand into a full civic assessment program. The Office of Service Learning has been conducting an evaluation of all W. K. Kellogg community partnerships by involving graduate students enrolled in Public Policy Evaluation (Political Science 435). An outside evaluator also conducts an annual evaluation of these partnerships. In addition, a civic responsibility survey has been conducted each semester for four semesters to measure student understanding of democracy and civic responsibility, involvement in service-learning courses, and student perception of the competencies developed as a result of civic engagement and service-learning courses.

Faculty focus groups have been held on three of the four WVU campuses to measure faculty attitudes about service-learning, civic activities, and WVU incentives for service. A survey instrument was developed from the focus group responses and sent to all faculty. Results of that survey will serve as the basis for recommendations on changes to the faculty incentive structure and to the workshops provided by the Office of Service Learning.
Focus groups and a survey of community members who are engaged in partnerships with the university will be conducted during the summer of 2000. Results of this assessment will be used to make changes to the Community Partnership Program.

West Virginia University is committed to the objective of becoming an engaged campus, with faculty and students who fully participate in civic life. We believe our Kellogg Community Partnerships Program, our many outreach programs under the Extension Service, and a strong Office of Service Learning are making this objective a reality.

Contact person: Jill Kriesky, Director, Service Learning Office, Jill.Kriesky@mail.wvu.edu

WVU Kellogg Service Learning Grant web page

West Virginia University - WV, West Virginia
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