Behind the Scenes: Efforts to Perfect our Program

With the effects of the global pandemic still reverberating through our communities, many students and faculty have shifted their focus toward remote engagement. This shift has given our office the opportunity to refine existing resources and work on developing new ones.

In the coming months, we look forward to introducing more professional development opportunities, student engagement efforts, and program infrastructure that will enable us to expand and grow into an even more far reaching, high quality service-learning program. This edition will give you a peak at some of our ongoing development efforts and introduce a few ways that you can help us achieve our goals.

The Service-Learning Section Type: Evaluating Programmatic Efficacy 

There is research that suggests that service-learning and civic engagement programs at the community college level can impact student persistence and completion rates. At the core of this research is data – the hard numbers that demonstrate the relationship between service-learning and student success. Unfortunately at this time, Austin Community College does not have the infrastructure necessary to harvest this valuable data. If we are to meaningfully evaluate the impact of our service-learning efforts on student success at ACC, we need a way to easily track student service-learning engagement and outcomes.

One method to compile this data would be to allow trained faculty to teach service-learning section types so that all service-learning courses are visible and searchable to students registering for classes. This would enable us to see how many students are enrolling in service-learning courses in a given semester, as well as track those students’ outcomes after their experiences. We’re getting closer to that goal, but need your help in the final stretch!

How can you help? First, share your input on our Proposal for Service-Learning Designation.

What do you think should qualify a service-learning course for designation? We’ve drafted our thoughts here and invite you to share your feedback with us! Sharing your ideas and thoughts helps us write a proposal that is responsive to your needs and experiences as ACC faculty. Once you’ve read our proposal, please give us your feedback and/or endorsement by completing this brief form.

With enough faculty support, we can expedite the process of attaining this designation, getting us one step closer to a more robust service-learning program for our students.

(Note: Access to both the proposal and survey are limited to personnel with an ACC Gmail account.)

Upcoming Revisions to the Service-Learning Online Training 

Our Service-Learning Online Training has been active for nearly a year now, and we’ve gotten a lot of great input for revisions from faculty participants! Using your feedback, we will be closing the 2020 Service-Learning Online Training beginning this December in order to make adjustments and updates to our content. Included in these revisions will be a more robust section on evaluating service-learning, an alignment with ACC’s faculty values, more examples of service-learning projects across the disciplines, and more!

If you’re interested in completing our Online Training, you can sign up here. Anyone enrolled in the 2020 course when our revisions begin will be alerted of the transition and added to the new course once it is available. Current enrollees should keep an eye on their inbox beginning this November for transfer notifications.

GivePulse: A New Tool in your Service-Learning Toolbox

As many of you may know, our program has been partnering with GivePulse to help students find local volunteer opportunities to fulfill curricular and co-curricular volunteer projects. What you may not know is that GivePulse can be just as useful to ACC faculty as it is to ACC students! We are currently working on expanding our membership with GivePulse, and with that expansion would come a whole new wealth of faculty resources.

GivePulse is capable of integrating completely with BlackBoard to host service-learning projects, tracking student engagement hours, sending out post-experience reflective surveys, connecting students to academically relevant community partners, and much more! Take a look at all of the ways GivePulse could enhance your service-learning course on their Faculty Resource page. If you’re interested in learning more, contact Sabryna Groves, Service-Learning Coordinator, for information about upcoming GivePulse Trainings and how your course could be involved with a GivePulse product pilot!

Expanding our Student Outreach

In addition to supporting faculty with service-learning training and implementation, our program is excited to announce that they will be expanding their student facing resource repository in the coming months. Some of these adjustments include connecting students with ACC’s Career and Transfer Specialists to help them better understand how volunteerism can round out their resume; resources that help match students with community partners and volunteer opportunities that align with their academic interests and passions; and plans for a Virtual Spring Volunteer Fair!

While these adjustments are still in development, students can always visit ACC’s GivePulse page to find local volunteer opportunities. They are also welcome to email to connect with our office for opportunities, resources, and more!

Evaluating Service-Learning: Resources for Rubric Development

As mentioned above, one of the most frequently requested updates to our course is for the inclusion of more explicit examples of service-learning project rubrics and resources for rubric development. Well, we heard your feedback and are here to help! Coming this November, we will be hosting a Service-Learning Rubric Development Workshop! 

This training will first introduce faculty to some of the most common learning objectives for service-learning projects and then walk them through the rubric creation process. Participants will walk away from this workshop with a fully fledged service-learning project rubric for use in their service-learning course! Priority registration for this workshop will be given to faculty who’ve already completed our service-learning training.

For a refresher on what high quality rubrics look like and can help you accomplish, we recommend checking out these free resources on rubric development from the University of Colorado Denver and DePaul University. First, the Center for Faculty Development at the University of Colorado Denver offers a completely free workshop, “Creating a Rubric: An Online Tutorial for Faculty.”

If workshops aren’t your thing, consider watching this 2015 video of Dr. Ranfen Li of DePaul University presenting her workshop on rubric development. These are both great introductory resources for faculty who are new to rubric development, and a great precursor to our Service-Learning Rubric Development Workshop!


Learning by doing

 Questions or comments about our
Service-Learning Program? 

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