Engaged Scholars and Students Foster Community Ties
Service-Learning featured in President's Annual Report
- By Susan Davidson
Service-learning continues to be a significant aspect of undergraduates' experience at UVM. With 100+ service-learning courses typically offered each year, nearly 45 percent of UVM students take at least one service-learning course during their four years of study. Efforst are increasing to provide students with community-engaged experiences early in their time at UVM - the more opportunities to work with community members, the more impactful students can be. Some departments at UVM have already developed scaffolded opportunities: first-year students learn about communities locally - or further afield - and explore their own motivations, experiences, and backgrounds in ways that will prepare them to engage effectively. By juinor or senior year, these students then take service-learning courses that require high levels of flexibility and responsiveness as they engage with community needs, taking direction from community partners and bringing their academic knowledge and skills to bear on community problems. This sequencing as been most intentional in Community Development and Applied Economics. For example, students in CDAE 166- Intro to Community Entrepreneurship - engage in "pop-up enterprise" projects that raise funds for local organizations, learning key entrepreneurship skills and familiarizing themselves with local landscape. By the time they are seniors, students in CDAE 295 - Local Community Initiatives - are ready to work directly with small-scale, community-based organizations in the Burlington area, applyin ga community capital-building model to conceptualize, design and implement projects with partners.