Service Learning: Modern Dance
Service-Learning: Modern Dance is a course designed specifically to offer the Modern Dance Major a practical experience in community service. The class, which meets once a week for 90 minutes, is an elective open to sophomores, juniors, or seniors (as to second year graduate students) in Modern. Course credit is variable (1-3 credit hours depending on the number of hours students devote to their service activity.
The course will require each student to complete a brief community assessment and select an organization or area that interests them. Students will then propose a project and meet with the appropriate representatives to discuss their proposed project. Students must then design the project, draw up a contract (which must be approved by the instructor and the community partner), carry out the project, and help develop an evaluation process for the project. Class time will be devoted to a discussion of student projects and related topics. Guest speakers will be invited to class on a regular basis.
Students in the class will provide a needed service to individuals, organizations, schools or other entities in the community.
Students have been and will continue to work with community agencies such as: Jackson Elementary School, Friendship Manor, local high school dance programs, Salt Lake City Work Activities Center, and non-profit arts agencies such as: Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Repertory Dance Theater, and the Utah Arts Council. Students perform dance related volunteer work for such agencies to fulfill a need expressed by the agency. Contracts stipulating the following will be drawn up to assure that the agreement is mutual: A description of duties to the student will perform, the dates and hours of commitment and the method by which the students serve will be evaluated/assessed.
The service relates to the subject matter of the course.
Students will be providing service:
1) In the dance field to "non-dance" agencies (e.g. teaching creative movement classes at Jackson Elementary School).
2) Service to dance agencies (e.g. working on special projects for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, such as booking a tour of Utah schools).
Additionally, Students will attend weekly 90-minute classroom sessions in which we will discuss a range of topics such as:
What is community and how is it formed?
What is the role of the artist in the community?
What can dance contribute to the community?
What is unique about our local/state/ national "community?
What are the advantages for the community in supporting the arts?
Have the arts lost the public trust? If so, what can artists do to regain that trust?
Why have I chosen to do this work?
Written assignments and readings will augment these discussions to assist students in reflection. Regular in-class reporting of activities, problems, and successes of service projects will also be included as subjects for group discussion.
Student's will be required to keep journals of their volunteer experiences and to write papers on a variety of related topics such as
Who am I as an Artist?
Who am I as a Volunteer?
Students also read assigned articles and books on dance and community service, such as Liz Lerman's "Are Miracles Enough? Selected Writings on Art and Community" and Habits of the Heart Bellah et al. Student's will also gain information from the invited guest speakers. This past year, speakers included Jackson Newell, Mary Ann Lee, Joan Woodbury, and Tandy Beal.
These activities are intended to assist students as they reflect upon what they experience in their community placement and how these experiences relate to the classroom discussion and course content.
Course credit will be given for the learning that occurs in service and how well students apply the course readings and discussion in relation to course goals, no for the service alone.
Assessments will be both written and verbal. Students will prepare written mission statements at the beginning of the quarter outlining the goals they have for their project. At the end of the quarter students will write a self-assessment paper based on these goals. Students will also design the service contract in concert with the agency supervisor which includes a methodology for the project evaluation by the supervisor, the clients, and the student. [The supervisor will submit a written evaluation (which includes client input) to the instructor with a copy to the student.] Additional methods of assessment include grades on papers and in-class participation.
Service interactions in the community recognize the needs of stakeholders, and offer an opportunity for recipients to be involved in the evaluation of the service.
Student contracts must include an assessment by their agency supervisor, the clients, and the student's personal evaluation of him/herself and the project as a whole.
Service opportunities are aimed at the development of the civic awareness in students even though students may also be focused on career preparation.
The readings, videos, guest lectures, in-class discussions, and assigned papers are all focused on developing civic-minded artists who understand their role in the maintenance of healthy communities. Many of the discussions will center on the interdependence of the arts and the community. Local artists who understand this interrelationship and serve as excellent examples of how arts can enrich a community and how a community can support the arts, will join us to share their experiences and ideas. Students are encouraged to create their own designs of bridging dance and the community. Henry Miller has said, "Art teaches nothing but the significance of life." I would suggest that the life lessons of the service-learning experience will give significance to student's work and help them to create art that is of significance to their community.
Students will be actively engaged in bridging the work of their discipline to their service experience. The "content" will be the personal artistic work in which students are engaged, as well as university course work in dance. Students are charged with creating additional learning about the content while actively presenting it to others. In addition, it is hoped that students· service experiences will inform and influence the content and approach of their personal artistic statements.
The class will offer an opportunity to learn from other class members as well as from the instructor.
The weekly classroom component will provide an ongoing frame for discussions, questions, and insights between the students as well as with the instructor and guest lecturers. Some students choose to work together on class projects, designing, implementing, and evaluating as a team. Individual and team projects are regularly discussed and evaluated in class. Students share their concerns, challenges, and successes in class discussions and receive support and suggestions from their fellow students. In addition, students will be asked to read and comment on one another's papers.
1. To provide opportunities for students to bridge university experiences to the community through service work.
2. To provide information about and practical experience in working with dance in the community.
3. To provide a network of resources people and materials for linking dance to diverse community groups.
4. To use community experiences as a context for discussion and evaluation of individual and group projects.
Grades will be based on class participation and successful completion of class projects.
Evaluation will be based on reports from community organizations, student reports and assignments and instructor's observations.
1. April 25: Contract with agency due, (include your goals, duties, time commitment, and methods of assessment)
2. April 18: Mission Statement for Spring Quarter due (what do you hope to accomplish).
3. May 30: Written assessment of Achievements due (did you satisfy your goals? Why? What are the criteria for your assessment?) Include input from others in your assessment, clarify who these people are and how they are qualified to evaluate your work. What was the most satisfying component? What was the most challenging? What lessons have you learned for "next time"?
Professor: Phyllis A. Haskell
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