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Faculty FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I have to do to incorporate service-learning into my courses?
What if I have a student who is doing service-learning for another class in addition to my class?
How do I ensure that service-learning is academically rigorous?
What is the minimum number of hours of service?
What are the service-learning procedures?
How does service-learning connect to higher education and civic engagement?
I'm too busy already. How can I use service-learning in my class?

What do I have to do to incorporate service-learning into my courses?

  • Meet the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy (iCED) Campus Staff (see Staff)
  • Look for the next CT&D course available to learn more out our department.
  • Choose a community partner(s) and/or social issue to connect with your course curriculum.
     
  • Complete the Course Development Worksheet to help you determine the details for service-learning in your course and integrate service-learning into your class syllabus. You may contact your campus S-L Faculty Coordinator and iCED Coordinator to help with this process.
     
  • Schedule a class presentation to introduce service-learning to your students (see Contact Information) and provide an additional preparation activity, lecture, etc. to educate your students about the particular community partner and/or social issue.
     
  • Help collect your students' service-learning forms (Service-Learning Contract, Site Approval Form, Hour Log and Agency Evaluation of Student Form) by the specified deadlines.
     
  • Return all collected student service-learning forms to the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy (see Contact Information). 
     
  • Provide students with an opportunity to debrief with various reflection activities.
     
  • Communicate with the iCED office and ask for any assistance when you need it.

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What if I have a student who is doing service-learning for another class in addition to my class?

  • Service-learning should not be about the number of hours a student completes; instead, they will be earning academic credit for demonstrated learning.
  • This "double dipping" becomes a non-issue when this distinction is clear, and solid reflection components are in place for each course (see Reflection Activities).
  • Faculty members should ensure that the service project is relevant to both courses.
  • Reflection and assessment activities should be different for both courses (see Reflection Activities).

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How do I ensure that service-learning is academically rigorous? 

  • Select a service-learning project that is related to your course's learning objectives.
  • Provide structured educational opportunities in class for students to make connections between their service-learning experiences and the course content throughout the semester.
  • Incorporate reflection strategies and techniques throughout the semester, even before students start their service (see Preparation and Reflection Activities).
  • Attend service-learning workshops sponsored by the iCED to learn from colleagues and receive help in designing your course.
  • Complete the faculty Course Development Worksheet to set clear learning objectives for your course.
  • Reinforce that students are receiving academic credit for demonstrated learning, not just for completing the required number of hours.

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What is the minimum number of hours of service?
Faculty members can determine their own number of hours for each course. Some faculty design one-time service-learning experiences that last a few hours, while other faculty members ask their students to complete 30 or more hours over the course of the semester. There is no right or wrong number. Research does show, however, that the benefits increase based on the number of hours and the quality of the Reflection Activities.

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What are the Service-Learning procedures?

  1. Students register for their service-learning project through our iCED website, www.mdc.edu/main/iced and complete the student application.
  2. Students PRINT the "Service-Learning Contract," have it signed by their supervisor at the agency and turn it in to you or iCED office directly.
  3. If the agency is not on our approved list of community partners, students must print the Site Approval Form, and turn it in to be approved or declined by the iCED office.
  4. Please forward any paperwork to our office. We prefer that they are sent or delivered to our office as soon as they are received. Please do not wait for all the applications to be turned in to you.
  5. Students PRINT the "Service-Learning Hour Report/Student Evaluation Form." Again, we will need these as they are submitted to you; please do not wait for the entire class to submit them.
  6. Students go back to our iCED website and complete the "Student Survey" which gives them an opportunity to evaluate their service-learning experience.  Results will be forwarded to you.
  7. We will print and distribute to you your students' personalized certificates and letters at the end of the semester.  It is our goal that the certificates and letters be distributed BEFORE finals week, however, we need ALL paperwork from you to make this happen!

    Questions:  Contact the Institute of Civic Engagement and Democracy (www.mdc.edu/main/iCED/locations/)

     

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How does service-learning connect to higher education and civic engagement?

Questions to consider…

  • What qualities/values do you want MDC students to possess as a result of being in your class?
  • What qualities/values do we want MDC graduates to possess?
  • What obligation does MDC have to produce good citizens and help maintain a strong democracy?
  • What more can we do to bring our mission statement to life and achieve The Learning Outcomes?

Higher Education and Democracy
"We [higher education] educate a large proportion of the citizens who bother to vote, not to mention most of the politicians, journalists, and news commentators. We also educate all the school administrators and teachers, who in turn educate everyone at the pre-college level. And we do much to shape the pre-college curriculum through what we require of our college applicants. In short, not only have we helped create the problems that plague American democracy, but we are also in a position to begin doing something about them. If higher education doesn't start giving citizenship and democracy much greater priority, who will?"

--Alexander Astin, professor and director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA on the unparalleled power higher education has to strengthen American democracy (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/6/95)

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I'm too busy already. How can I use service-learning in my class?
The Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy has staff at each of Miami Dade College's seven campuses to support you in using service-learning in your courses. We can connect you with community partners, provide you with reflection materials and ideas, and enter all service-learning paperwork into our database. It may take a little time to get started in service-learning, but we think you will find that projects tie in directly with current curriculum, and the benefit to everyone involved is worthwhile. We fully understand that everyone at the college is busy, and we'll do whatever we can to assist you in utilizing service-learning in your classroom.

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, or genetic information. Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for information.