The purpose of this toolkit is to provide you with information, references, and resources that you may find helpful in brainstorming, creating, and assessing the needs of your organization, the community needs around you, and the types of projects that can be created to meet those needs and the needs of the service learning students placed within your organization.
The Service Learning Center is located on both the Kenosha and Racine campuses with an AmeriCorps*VISTA member hosting the information until further notice. Our role is to help you instructors and students to work with, assist in the placement of students, or to help answer any questions you might have. For community partners, we also act as a liaison to assist in student issues, disputes, or problems that may arise. We are here to be as much or as little help as you want.
What is Service Learning?
Service learning is similar to volunteering in that students are giving of their time and skills to meet a community need and complete a project at a non-profit organization or community partner. The main differences are that they must be a part of a project that is meaningful and relative to their area of study; and that they must complete a reflection project at the end of their experience that makes them think about what they did, why they did it, how it matters to their goals and the community's needs, and what it will matter 5 years from now.
What is Your Role?
As a Community Partner, your role is to supply the student with a student-friendly and flexible environment that is conducive to a positive work experience. You are required to supply a supervisor who will be both the student's as well as the instructor's and Service Learning Center's contact person. Please supply the student, instructor, and the Service Learning Center with a list of expectations that the student will be required to meet during their time within your organization. Also, you are expected to contact the Instructor or the Service Learning Center if the student is not a good match for your organization or if you have problems in relation to the student placed at your sight. We want this experience to be beneficial for both the student and your organization; therefore, we need to be informed when the match doesn't fit.
The Student's Role
- Is to be aware of the organization's needs and to provide assistance where and when it is needed.
- Is to contact the agency to arrange the initial meeting to discuss the service learning hours and project (The Service Learning Center can assist with this role).
- Is to adhere to the organization's rules and procedures, including the confidentiality of the organization and client information.
- Is to periodically reflect upon and reevaluate the service learning experience while keeping in mind the objectives of all parties involved.
- Is to operate with integrity and professionalism at all times; which includes being punctual, meeting deadlines and being open to supervision and feedback which will facilitate learning and personal growth.
The Service Learning Center's Roles
The Service Learning Center is to act as a liaison between the organization, students, and faculty. We provide support and guidance for any challenges that may arise. We also act as a third contact in case of difficulties, challenges, or other problems that may arise at the community site for both community partner and student. We provide classroom service learning orientations and reflection sessions as requested. We assist with placing students into organizations or finding projects to suit the student. We also provide forms, instructions, resources, and materials that students, faculty, and the community partners may need/request for their service learning experience.