Designation helps Students Identify Service Courses
By Christine Neff
East Carolina University students have long been passionate about serving their community.
Now, thanks to a new course designation, students will be able to seek out classes that incorporate service elements.
Starting in the fall 2009 semester, ECU students will be able to register for classes designated as service-learning courses.
Service-learning is a teaching strategy in which community service and reflection are integrated with course content. “We have students at ECU who are so committed to the mission to serve and want to seek out more service-learning opportunities. This designation will help them identify those courses,” said Sharon Ballard, associate professor in the Department of Child Development and Family Relations and chair of the Faculty Service-Learning Advisory Committee.
The designation “SL” will appear in the course catalog next to classes and/or sections that have a service-learning component.
After a student successfully completes the course, the SL designation will be recorded on his or her transcript.
This can benefit students as they enter the workforce, Ballard said. “Many employers are now looking for potential employees who have some experience in the community, so that can be very important,” she said.
Already, many faculty members at ECU include service-learning in their curriculum. To receive the SL designation, all courses must be reviewed by the advisory committee. “The advisory committee will make sure the course maintains the components of a high-quality service-learning course. We will be looking at how service activities help achieve course objectives,” Ballard said.
The process is completely voluntary. Service-learning is not a requirement for students or faculty members.“It is just one mode of teaching that is effective for many courses and many individuals. We want to make sure our faculty members have the support they need, and that our students receive a high-quality service-learning experience,” Ballard said.
More information on the criteria for service-learning and examples of service-learning pedagogy is available on the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center webpage, http://www.ecu.edu/vslc.