University of Utah
Honors 360
"Toward a Life of Service"
Instructors: Abigail Bird, Mark Wride (Undergraduates) Taught: Fall 1997

Description of the class:

This course will examine concepts of community service and community responsibility. Students will explore and develop their personal philosophies of community service through academic discussion and direct service experience. Students will select their own quarter long projects from a predetermined group of projects listed in the syllabus that deal with a wide range of community issues. They will be expected to perform 20-25 hours of community service in their chosen project. This is a three credit hour course and will be taught Autumn quarter 1997 as a student tutorial, through the Honors Program.

Criteria for Designation of Service-Learning Classes:

  1. Students in the class provide a needed service to individuals, organizations, schools or other entities in the community.

Students will volunteer at least 2 hours a week in projects which we have selected. Students will volunteer through Bennion Center projects and thus meet needs previously established as important and necessary in our community. We will facilitate this selection process by inviting representatives from five Bennion Center projects to attend class on October 2 1997 (the second day of class). We have selected projects that represent a range of community issues and provide both direct and indirect service to members of the community. Schools will be served through students volunteering at Jackson Elementary, other students will work on the environment with the Environmental Action Team while others will influence public policy through their work in the Public Interest Advocacy Project.

2. The service experience relates to the subject matter of the course

The purpose of this class is to allow students to develop their own sense of the value and nature of service. Students will be able to choose their individual areas of focus and volunteerism from the five choices previously designated, allowing them to develop personal philosophies of service.

3. Activities in the class provide a method or methods for students to think about what they learned through the service experience and how these learnings relate to the subject of the class.

Students will write nine reaction papers throughout the quarter, focusing on information gained from the readings as well as describing their service experience. These papers are designed to allow the student to integrate readings, lecture and their practical service experience into their own personal philosophy. In-class discussions will allow for further discussion as well as spark interest in opposing points of view. The group presentation will allow all the students who volunteered in the same place to present their viewpoints on the most pressing issues of the community area that they served and possible solutions to these problems. The final paper is intended to encourage students to form a cohesive picture of the connections they have discovered throughout the class and how this has influenced their personal viewpoints.

4. This course offers a method to assess the learning derived from the service. Credit is given for the learning and its relation to the course not for the service alone.

Reaction papers will be worth approximately 23% of the students' grade and will be collected weekly. The final paper is worth 15% and will provide an opportunity for students to interconnect their previous knowledge and experience gained from the class. The class presentation (13% of final grade) 'II allow students to present their service experience to their peers and answer questions about their wi observations and experiences. Grading will also be dependent upon attendance and participation in class discussions.

5. Service interactions in the community recognize tlte needs of service recipients, and offer and opportunity for recipients to be involved in the evaluation of service.

We will invite agency representatives to be guest lecturers and participate in our reflection sessions after and during each group presentation. In addition the instructors will contact each agency during mid-quarter to insure that students are volunteering on a regular base and meeting the needs of the agency.

6. The service opportunities are aimed at the development of the civic education of students even though they may focus on career preparation.

One of the important aims of this course will be to help students explore and understand their roles in and connections with society. This civic education of students will not only be fostered by the service experience but also by the academic focus of the course. Students will be encouraged to further develop their understanding of their own world and their connections to it.

7. Knowledge from the discipline informs the service experiences with which the students are involved

Students in the Honors Program have previously been exposed to a wide range of ideas and philosophies from the classics to modem times. The Program also encourages class discussion which will greatly enhance our discussions and group work. Students will come from a wide variety of academic disciplines which will provide the class with an interesting mixture of contrasting and enhancing viewpoints and experiences.

8. The class offers a way to learn from other class members as well as from the instructor.

Informal lectures, small class size, and open dialogue will all contribute to students' learning from other class members as well as from the instructor. The group presentation will allow students to work together on a common topic, and regular informal group work will be a constant feature of this class.

9. Course options ensure that no student is required to participate in a service placement flat creates a religious, political and/or moral conflict or the student.

Although every student will be expected to participate in the service component of this course, the variety of service options should ensure that no service placement will create a religious, political or moral conflict for any student. If a conflict arises it will be explored and dealt with immediately and other options will be found for the student.

Syllabus

  1. Description of Class

Service and community have been deeply held values in many cultures since time immemorial. As our world is becoming more technological, and as communities around us are deteriorating, it is becoming increasingly important to understand our relationship with our social environment. Service to the community is key to understanding this relationship and to improving our social ties. While individuals and organizations have worked to meet the unmet needs of society for years, national trends are bringing community service into the classroom. This integration of practical service with academic theory has proven to be successful by providing the community with resources academia provides, and allowing students to apply theoretical knowledge. Service-learning is not only an experiential procedure for the student but also provides necessary service to the community. This course will examine concepts of community service and community responsibility. Students will explore and develop their personal philosophies of community service through academic discussion and direct service experience. Students will select their own quarter long projects from a predetermined group of projects fisted later in the syllabus that deal with a wide range of community issues. They will be expected to perform 20-25 hours of community service in their chosen project.

2. Required Reading (available in the Bookstore)

            The Call of Service, Robert Coles
            The Different Drum, M. Scott Peck
            Habits of the Heart, Robert N. Bellah, et al.
            Some Do Care, Anne Colby, William Damon
            The Measure of Our Success, Marian Wright Edelman
            Supplemental readings available on reserve at Marriot Library

3. Required Work

Class attendance and Participation: Because this class is structured to promote group thinking and discussion, attendance and participation by each student is imperative. Students will be allowed two absences without penalty.

Community Service: Students are expected to do at least 2 hours of community service per week, totaling 20-25 hours for the quarter. Students will select their project at the beginning of the quarter, and will work in that project for the duration of the quarter. Service projects will be coordinated with the Bennion Center, and possible projects include: Public Interest Advocacy, Eco Issues, Homeless Shelter School, Jackson Elementary, and Befriend the Elderly. If a specific service placement creates a religious, political and/or moral conflict for any students, alternative arrangements will be made with the instructors consent.

Reaction Papers: Each student is required to write a 2-3 page reaction paper each week. Reaction papers are informal and reflect the students' personal thinking about his/her service experiences, class discussions, and readings. Papers do not have to be typed, but must be legible.

Group Presentation: During the last few weeks of the quarter, students will give a group presentation on the service project that they were involved with during the quarter. Presentations should reflect personal experiences and learning, but also give the class an overall view of relevant community service issues (i.e. homelessness, poverty, etc.) as well as possible solutions tp problems they have found.

Final Paper: A final paper is required by each student and will be due during finals week, on Thursday, December 18th. The final paper will be an extension of the weekly reaction papers, and should reflect the students' personal philosophy of service. The paper will be a culmination of students' reading, thinking, discussion, and service experience throughout the quarter. It should be 3-5 pages, typed. This paper will replace a formal final.

                                        Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 07:36:45 MST
                                        From: Renee Buchanan [RBUCHAN@ssb1.saff.utah.edu]