Navigating the University
Rather than relying upon specific labels like ‘service learning’ versus ‘internship’ or ‘fieldwork’ it’s important to consider the function of the student’s experience, and the partnership or role within the community. In this handbook, you will find the term ‘service learning’ used throughout. This can refer to a variety of off campus learning experiences and activities that students engage in that contribute to the public good. The recommendations and requirements in this handbook are meant to apply to this variety of off campus learning activities that contribute to the public good, i.e. community engagement.
- Community Engagement: Is an umbrella term that encompasses the variety of ways the campus collaborates with the community to strengthen and improve the quality of life in communities, that is, contribute to the public good.
- Service Learning: Service learning is a teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned experiences in the community that contribute to the public good and are directly related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content and sense of social responsibility.
- Internships: From Executive Order 1064, “It is an off-campus activity designed to serve educational purposes by offering experience in a service learning, business, non-profit, or government setting. For the purpose of this executive order ‘internship’ does not include teacher preparation placements or clinical placements such as for nursing, counseling, physical therapy or occupational therapy.”
Even though there is some overlap between ‘service learning courses’ and ‘internships,’ the essential differences between an internship and service learning are as follows: internships generally require more hours and/or expertise; students may seek out internships independent of courses for pre-professional experience or pay; students may or may not be asked in any formal way to connect experience with discipline learning or social responsibility.
- Fieldwork courses (also called Field Instruction or Field Practicum) place students in supervised community-based learning experiences. Fieldwork courses are traditionally strongly connected to discipline learning, required in sequential courses for a major, require discipline-specific expertise and a large number of hours.
Finding University Partners
Academic service learning, internships, and community service are generally coordinated through three different areas in the university. There is no 'cookie cutter' model for developing partnerships. Mostly it takes good old fashioned leg-work. Generally, faculty and program coordinators are approachable -- however, because of the nature of 'academia' some folks here need a credential or degree to spark their interest. Therefore, learning the culture of the university: the lingo, academic calendar, and procedures will help you to be successful in the matchmaking process.
Academic Service Learning activities (service learning courses, internships, fieldwork) at CSUEB are facilitated through and connected to specific courses based on a faculty member's interest in sponsoring a service learning activity in his/her class. Some faculty actively seek out these types of projects by contacting the Center for Community Engagement. On the whole, we must reach out to faculty to let them know of the community-based learning opportunities for their students. The community partner can assist the CCE by informing our office of activities well in advance of the calendar date. Keep in mind that faculty must plan out courses the quarter before they teach them. For example, a faculty member teaching a course in the spring (end of March to beginning of June) will be planning a syllabus and calendar in the winter! Because we run on a ten week quarter system, there is not much room for last minute schedule changes. Understanding Service Learning Placements
Internships are coordinated through two offices: the Career Development Center and the department office. The Career Development Center has a great online submission form for internships (http://www20.csueastbay.edu/academic/academic-support/aace/resources/employers.html). Many department offices keep binders of internships or have faculty coordinators. You can contact the departments through the campus directory (http://www20.csueastbay.edu/directory/). The essential differences between an internship and academic service learning are as follows: internships generally require more hours and/or expertise; students seek out internships independent of courses for additional academic credit or pre-professional experience.
The third mode, community service, follows a more traditional model of volunteerism. Many student clubs and organizations engage in community service. The Center for Community Engagement's Pioneers for Change student leadership program may also be able to assist with events and activities. Our campus boasts a variety of clubs and organizations—social, cultural, academic—that may connect with the population or mission of your organization. Our Student Life and Leadership Program frequently coordinates community outreach projects. You can contact clubs and organizations through Student Life and Leadership, firstname.lastname@example.org.