University of Vermont

Office of Community-University Partnerships & Service Learning

Service-Learning Grants & Teaching Assistants

Service-Learning Teaching Assistant Program

CUPS recruits and trains Teaching Assistants (SL-TAs) to work in Service-Learning courses on the Service-Learning component of the course. To apply for an SL-TA, faculty must designate by the deadline during the previous semester — our "early" course designation. This allows CUPS time to recruit, hire and orient the SL-TAs.

What can SL-TAs do?

SL-TAs can work up to 5 hours/week, and should assist only with the SL project; they are not general TAs for the course. SL-TA responsibilities may include:

  • Facilitating and grading reflection activities and assignments
  • Serving as the liaison to community partners
  • Assisting students in project management throughout the term
  • For international courses, traveling with the students

Most typically, SL-TAs facilitate discussion and critical reflection, helping students to connect their service or community-engaged work to the learning goals of the course. SL-TAs can also serve as a liaison between CUPS and the SL course, and between faculty, students, and community partners.

How are SL-TAs compensated?

SL-TAs can receive academic credit or, depending on experience, a stipend from the CUPS Office. Those who receive credit enroll in an indpendent study through their home department, the department that houses the SL course in which they work, or in CDAE.

How are SL-TAs trained?

SL-TAs are expected to attend weekly training sessions in the CUPS Office, concurrent with their TAship. We train SL-TAs in the pedagogy and practice of service-learning, project design, facilitating reflection, assessing reflection, cross-cultural competency, project management, and more. (The weekly training sessions are not included in the ~5 hours of work in the SL course.)

Other expectations of SL-TAs?

SL-TAs—in addition to their course responsibilities—also work with CUPS to document the course, share student work and encourage students to publicize, present or continue their SL work.

Can I choose my SL-TA?

Yes! We find that some of the strongest placements occur when the student and faculty are familiar with each other, and/or the student has already taken the course. You will have the option to request a particular student in the SL-TA Request form. That student will need to complete an application and will be given priority placement in your course. You may also choose to review additional applicants at the same time.

What is the hiring process?

After we receive applications, we will create a pool of several qualified candidates for each faculty member to review. You may interview candidates if you like, but must do so quickly. You can rank acceptable candidates; we make every effort to provide you with your top choice, but may be balancing competing rankings. Reviewing applications quickly is helpful.


Service-Learning Project Implementation Grants

Funds of up to $300 are available to support the service-learning project in designated courses. The intent is to support student learning through completion of a project that meets community partner needs. Faculty may apply on behalf of students, or may ask students/student groups to apply as part of their professional development. The SL course must have been designated by the start of the semester. Currently, this grant is available for 3 times total for each SL course.

What expenses can be covered?

Materials, supplies or resources needed to complete a service-learning project are the primary costs covered. The emphasis is on supporting the students to fulfill the community partner's requested needs. If students need specialized assistance to complete a project, we may be able to support some training for students. Transportation expenses for students can only be reimbursed if a vehicle is rented by a faculty member.

What expenses are NOT covered?

We cannot pay for mileage, gas or salary for any person. We generally do not provide any reimbursement or payments directly to community partners, except to support their visit to a class. The funding is not intended to meet community needs itself (e.g. is not a donation).

Who can be reimbursed?

Expenses MUST be incurred by faculty or staff, as students cannot be reimbursed.

What is the application process?

Faculty or students may apply during the semester; applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Please send a letter with:

  • the course (name and number)
  • a description of the project
  • a budget, and
  • (if students are applying) a supporting note/email from the faculty member

Send this information to with the subject line “Implementation Grant Request.” The CUPS Director will be in touch about the grant application within 2 weeks.

What is the deadline for submitting expenses?

We request that you submit these materials within 30 days of the expenditure, and no later than January 15th for fall semester, and June 1st for spring semester. We will not reimburse receipts received after June 1st. Your cooperation and attention will help to ensure that this fund is manageable.

How does reimbursement occur?

If the faculty member uses a departmental or personal UVM Purcard, he/she may provide expense report documentation to their department, and have their departmental budget person contact the CUPS director to arrange a transfer/reallocation via a chart string.  CUPS may request copies of receipts.  Required materials (described below) would still go to the CUPS Office.

If the faculty member pays personally, original receipts and a complete expense report should be submitted to the CUPS Office.  The expense report should include the following details:  who (a list of all students involved), what (explanation of what was purchase), why (a brief explanation of the SL project), when (date of purchase/date of project), where (where project took place).  This information is required by the Administrative Business Center and General Accounting.  CUPS will approve the Expense Report and forward on to the ABSC for approval.  Required materials also come to the CUPS office. 

Additional Requirements

So that we can continue to support academic service-learning via internal and external publicity, sharing resources with faculty, and participate in accreditation and benchmarking of civic engagement, we request the following as part of grant implementation:

  • Some photos or visual documentation of the project
  • Examples of student work (reflection, deliverable, etc.)
  • Course syllabus or SL Project materials

Last modified April 21 2016 10:45 AM