Community-University Partnerships & Service Learning
The CUPS office explores a variety of methods for assessing and evaluating community partnerships and service-learning at UVM and in general. Below are a few examples of completed and current research.
In the Spring of 2004, the CUPS office surveyed all UVM faculty (using Perseus online data collection) in an effort to gauge the current work in community partnerships and the needs of faculty in implementing service-learning and community-based research. The survey was completed by 225 faculty members, 95 of whom indicated that they do already partner in some way with the community in the courses that they teach. The results of this survey will help the CUPS office to more effectively partner with faculty, and will guide our efforts in providing resources and training. For an overview of the survey results, click here.
Service-Learning and Student Outcomes (a doctoral research study):
An increasingly wide array of research has now demonstrated that academic service-learning has positive effects on a variety of student learning and developmental outcomes. However, as service-learning is integrated increasingly into the curriculum, there is a need for more research on best practices of service-learning. That is, we must identify the characteristics that distinguish high-quality service-learning and understand how these service-learning characteristics influence student outcomes and interact with students' beliefs and experiences. The CUPS office is currently collaborating on a research study to address this issue. Results will be posted when available.
Service-Learning and Faculty Review, Promotion, and Tenure (white paper):
Exemplars of civic engagement on many campuses, including UVM, involve faculty applying and synthesizing their scholarly interests with engagement activities. Arguably the most crucial actor within the civic engagement movement is the faculty member. Faculty determine the curriculum, what is taught and how it is taught. They determine what gets studied and how it gets studied. Most are charged with creating new knowledge and disseminating it to wider audiences. In the context of community partnerships they provide continuity, a long-term link between communities, their citizens, and the work of the university or college. Yet, recent studies have shown that the rewards systems that faculty members encounter are not aligning very closely with civic engagement practices. (O’Meara et al. 2003).
UVM Faculty member and CUPS Advisory Board Member, Chris Koliba, Ph.D, is exploring this phenomenon on a national level, and specifically at UVM, in partnership with the CUPS office. His white paper, “Review, Promotion, and Tenure Guidelines and the Civic Mission of Higher Education,” will be posted upon completion.
The CUPS Office is always interested in hearing feedback on service-learning projects and partnerships from all those involved, and in order to create meaningful partnerships and provide the best support to faculty as well as students and community partners, we encourage faculty to evaluate their service-learning projects at the end of each semester. To help faculty collect this information, we have provided sample evaluations below:
Last modified April 13 2009 10:20 AM