CELO offers support and resources to help faculty build reciprocal community partnerships and implement their community-engaged courses more effectively.  

Especially for faculty new to community-engaged learning — or perhaps working on a new project or with new community partners — we can provide some of the background and context that will allow more faculty focus on the discipline, learning goals, and course outcomes.

In addition to the resources outlined below, CELO maintains a Resource Library that faculty may find useful as they create the syllabus and implement community engagement into their courses. Please come peruse them in person in our office, Harris-Millis 109.

CELO Services

In-Class Workshops

CELO staff are available to visit SL courses to provide workshops for students. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the workshops listed below or would like like to discuss a custom workshop for your course.

Workshop topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Introduction to Service-Learning Pedagogy
  • Transferable Skills
    Help students identify the personal and professional skills they've gained in their service-learning experience, and how to convey those skills in job searches and future professional settings.
  • Reciprocity and Community Partnerships
    Help students understand and define reciprocity in service-learning projects, and critically reflect on how they can contribute to positive community partnerships.
  • Place-Based Learning
    Ground the SL project in unique local features and resources, the environment, art and culture, history and communities of the particular place in which students will be working.
  • Cultural Competency
    Prepare students for entering new communities appropriately, orienting them to some of Vermont's historically marginalized communities, and help them make sense of new cultural experiences.
  • Taking SL Further
    Introduce opportunities for students to continue working with the same or new community partners, through (for example) paid and for-credit internships, independent study, additional SL courses, or funded community-based research. We can present in class, provide referrals, or offer individualized mentoring for students.

Service-Learning Teaching Assistants

CELO trains undergraduate Service-Learning Teaching Assistants (SLTAs) to work on the community-engaged component of "SL" or "CL" designated courses. SLTAs can receive academic credit or — depending on experience — a stipend for the TAship through the CELO office.

SLTA responsibilities in the couurse typically include facilitating and/or assessing critical reflection and discussion, helping students to connect their service or community-engaged work to the learning goals of the course. They may also help recruit community partners, handle logistics related to work in the community, or assist with project management. For international SL courses, TAs also typically travel with the students.

SLTAs are expected to attend weekly training sessions in the CELO Office, concurrent with their TAship. We train SLTAs in the pedagogy and practice of service-learning, project design, facilitating reflection, assessing reflection, cross-cultural competency, theories of social change, project management, and more. Our office has trained nearly 200 SLTAs since the program began.

CELO works with faculty to set up a successful TAship. We have matched faculty and SLTAs in the past based on experience and interest area, but the most effective TAs are typically students who have taken the course in a previous semester, and/or those with whom the faculty has an existing relationship.

For more information, you can read our FAQs, and Program Coordinator Tom Wilson (tom.wilson@uvm.edu) can work with you to determine how an SLTA might assist in your course, as well as identify potential students to fill the role. The earlier we can set up and orient SLTAs, the better; please reach out during the semester prior to the course, if possible.

Implementation Grants for Service Learning Projects

CELO provides small grants of up to $300 to support projects in designated community-engaged learning courses. Faculty may apply on behalf of students, or may ask students/student groups to apply as part of their professional development.

The course must have been designated as Service Learning (SL) or Civic Learning (CL) by the start of the semester. Grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis during the semester. We encourage you to seek alternative funding sources first, and to develop a source of funding for your course in the long-term. Longer-term partnerships may also be eligible for CELO Partnerships Grants.

Grants can cover materials, supplies or resources needed to complete the service-learning project. The emphasis is on supporting the students to fulfill the community partner's requested needs, so food for a reception at the end of the term is not, for example, an appropriate request. 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 the cost is incurred by a faculty member.

Please contact CELO Director Susan Munkres (susan.munkres@uvm.edu) with any questions about your course needs and whether they qualify for grant funding. 

 

Sample Supporting Documents for Community-Engaged Learning

Syllabi & Partnership Agreements

A key factor in building a successful service-learning project is communicating the rigors and responsibilities of SL partnerships to students in the course. By explicitly outlining expectations on the course syllabus, and/or creating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between students and community partners, faculty can help ensure a higher level of commitment from students, leading to more engaged service and higher-quality deliverables.

The document (see link below) contains a collection of sample syllabi from service-learning courses in a variety of disciplines and with varying depths of service-learning (from introductory/exposure level to capstone), illustrating how various faculty have chosen to highlight the SL components of their courses. It also comprises a number of different partnership agreements between students and community partners, ranging from MOUs and internship agreements to project need statements and confidentiality agreements.

 

Topical Community-Engaged Readings & Materials for Students

Critical Reflection Resources

Volumes have been written about critical reflection, as it is one of the central pillars of service-learning. A few key resources that we have found useful are described in this document, with a discussion of what purpose the reading or resource might serve, and what audiences might find it helpful. Similarly, resources are included highlighting some of the challenges and considerations in building truly reciprocal service-learning partnerships, in which all parties put forth equal effort and receive appropriate benefit.

Preparing Students to Enter Diverse Vermont Communities

This list contains resources that might be helpful for students who will working with diverse Vermont populations as part of their service-learning project(s).  It is also open for additions!  Please share resources that you have found effective in helping students recognize the current and historical contexts that have shaped the experience of various Vermont communities.

 

Logistics

Transportation

For more extensive information, please review the Department of Risk Management & Safety's “Field Trip Guidelines”. The Vehicle Safety section of their website is also an indispensable resource for transportation risk management information.

Best Transportation Practices — Bus and University-Owned Vehicles

Use of personal vehicles is discouraged. Ideally, students will travel by bus or in University-owned or leased vehicles. CCTA buses are free for UVM students. University-owned vehicles are available in some departments.

The Student Government Association rents six 12-passenger vans and a pick-up truck. Academic departments can reserve them 10 days in advance of the rental and student groups can reserve up to 4 weeks ahead, meaning SGA vehicles have extremely limited availability on weekends. During the summer and mid-week, however, they become more available. Student Government Association vans cost $90/day (each) and are parked at the Gutterson Parking Garage. This includes insurance through the University. If anything were to happen, it would be covered except for a deductible, for which the renting department is responsible. Vans come with a full tank of gas, and renters are responsible for returning them full. Email Sara Gabaree in SGA to reserve one of their vehicles van.

Drivers of University-owned vans must be certified through the driver safety program offered by Risk Management. Note that this includes a driving background check through the Vermont Dept. of Motor Vehicles (which can take up to 10 days) and driver safety lessons. For more information, see their Driver Safety Program.

Renting Vehicles

If University-owned vehicles are not available, vans or cars may be rented. UVM maintains a rental agreement with Hertz. Travelers should visit the Hertz Direct Booking Tool at: www.hertz.com or call the local Shelburne Road Office: (802) 859-3601. The UVM corporate discount number is 1814044. Those renting vehicles should review UVM's policies concerning auto rental (PDF).

Use of Personal Vehicles

Student driving is also discouraged. If students or faculty must drive personal vehicles, they must show proof of a valid driver's license, insurance and sign the alternative transportation waiver (PDF). When students are traveling on their own for service-learning and community projects, it is best to arrange a university vehicle. But if that is not feasible, collect all drivers' license and insurance information, and have them all sign the waivers. NOTE: Those driving personal vehicles will not be covered by UVM's insurance policy in case of an accident.

Accidents

Review the appropriate UVM policies for auto rental (PDF) and use of University-owned vehicles. These are quite specific; consider bringing a copy of the policy with you.

Risk Management

As with any form of experiential learning in which students leave campus, service-learning can entail different risks than classroom learning. Faculty should consider the specific risks involved in academic service-learning, and respond appropriately in course and project design. This information supplements information from UVM's department of Risk Management, which may also be useful.

Guiding Principles of Risk Management for Academic Service-Learning

  • Provide an orientation to students that includes an overview of service-learning and the policies, expectations and guidelines involved in the specific service activities, projects or research in which they will be engaging.
  • Discuss the syllabus and/or assignments with students so that they fully understand their responsibilities, partners' expectations, the learning objectives, and the context for the service, project or research. Written agreements or memoranda of understanding (MOUs) are strongly encouraged.
  • Conduct visits, if appropriate, with service sites to ensure safety and suitability.
  • Collect students' emergency contact information, and familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures in the site, if appropriate.

Ways We Can Help

  • As with any topic, CELO staff are happy to consult on risk management practices in your particular course.
  • Our Resource Library has many publications highlighting the range of academic service-learning, with examples and materials from many disciplines.
  • SLTAs can be requested in advance. These teaching assistants can help manage the service-learning project, conduct site visits, orient students to service sites, gather emergency contact information if appropriate, and/or function as a liaison to a community partner.