Service-Learning

Overall Augsburg Experience Criteria (approved by the Augsburg Faculty April 10, 2002)

  1. The Augsburg Experience integrates experiential learning with academic learning.   It demonstrates enhanced learning and reflects research and best practices of experiential education.
  2. An Augsburg Experience links on-campus learning to the constituency goals, mission, needs or ideas of off-campus people, organizations and/or communities, through community partners and/or professional activities and/or travel.

I.  General Comments

The main goals of the Augsburg experience are to link the theoretical with the practical and to link the on-campus experience to the wider community.  Through a reciprocal and mutually beneficial learning partnership with a community organization, constituency, or agency, community service offers students an opportunity to “test the relevance of theoretical, philosophical, and abstract concepts in real life situations and conditions.”1 Community service is carried out with the guidance of faculty; staff; the Center for Service, Work and Learning; and the teachers/leaders within the community organization.  The Center for Service, Work and Learning serves as a crucial liaison among students, community partners, and faculty, and sustains the integrity and quality of the program through its resources, literature, and scholarly information.  Community service is most often linked to a course, but may also occur in other contexts at sites in a manner approved by the Center for Service, Work and Learning.

from the document adopted April 10, 2002

II. Specific Guidelines for Service-Learning

  1. Faculty, staff and students developing a service-learning experience are advised to work closely with the Center for Service Work and Learning to select a site with a logical tie to the student’s major or other area of study, and/or to the content of a course.
  2. Community partners working with Augsburg students towards completion of an Augsburg Experience should engage the student in meaningful work and should be organizations that are able to involve students in working directly with those in the partnering agency and/or other members of the community.
  3. Students completing their Augsburg Experience through service-learning should be trained to see their service as a commitment and a responsibility to the partnering organization and the community, as well as an outstanding opportunity for their own growth and learning.

III.  Some possible venues:

A.  Service-Learning Courses:

  1. In order to qualify as an Augsburg Experience, community service-learning embedded in a course will typically involve a minimum of 20 percent of the course in terms of service hours, assignments, guided reflection, discussion, and related course activities. These activities will be integrated evenly throughout the duration of the course.
  2. A community service-learning course will typically be completed by juniors and seniors in accordance with the Augsburg Experience Task Force April 2002 document, which states, “the developmental approach is also desirable for Augsburg Experiences and hence [the Task Force] would recommend that most students complete this requirement in their junior or senior year.”
  3. A community service-learning course will directly link the content, description, goals, assignments, activities, and assessment of the course to the service experience and will state both clearly in the course syllabus.  The course will also provide a structure that enables students to learn about the theories and ways of knowing evident in the partnering organization and at the service site.
  4. A community service-learning course that qualifies as an Augsburg Experience is required to include structured reflection.  Reflection can take many forms and might include class discussion, journals, essays, e-mail or web-based discussion groups, service-learning portfolios, presentations, or photo reflections.
  5. Faculty developing an Augsburg Experience course are advised to consult with the Center for Service Work and Learning to access a variety of resources reflecting best practices for service-learning in the disciplines.

B.  Service-Learning Experiences:

“Students can also earn an AE designation without course credit if they work a specified number of hours off campus in a Center for Service Work and Learning approved site and engage in appropriate reflective activity with an Augsburg faculty or staff member.”

from the document adopted by the faculty April 2002

  1. To qualify as an Augsburg Experience, a student must complete a minimum of fifty hours of service-learning at one service site.  The hours must be completed in conjunction with Center for Service Work and Learning approval and must be spread over a reasonable period of time that allows for appropriate reflection, as well as the synthesis of ideas, issues and experience.
  2. To qualify as an Augsburg Experience, the service-learning experience will have the prior approval of the Center for Service, Work and Learning.  Typically, students will be concurrently engaged in the service-learning experience at the time they initiate and conclude the Learning Agreement Plan and two-session seminar.  AE forms are available at the Enrollment Center, the Center for Service, Work and Learning and online in a Public Folder.
  3. A community service-learning experience will provide the student with an orientation to the mission and goals of the community partner selected, as well as critical issues related to the site.
  4. The community service-learning experience will include relevant and structured reflection assignments that are guided by Augsburg faculty or staff, either through two meetings or seminar sessions.  These assignments will connect the theories, ways of knowing and information provided by the community partner to the theories and ideas of a student’s major, minor, or other area of pursuit.