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Civic Engagement in Higher Education

Edited by JoAnn Campbell and John Hamerlinck

Minnesota Campus Compact

Between August of 2005 and March of 2006, the Upper Midwest

Campus Compact Consortium (Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin)
hosted a series of online learning opportunities on four topics related
to civic engagement in higher education. Topics included:
• Reflection
• Power Dynamics in Campus-Community Collaboration
• Assessment and Evaluation of Civic Engagement Initiatives
• Risk Management.

This series of virtual conferences brought together knowledgeable

facilitators and more than 180 registered participants from across the
country to define and discuss practical matters associated with
community-focused teaching and learning. Each dialogue ran for two
weeks and was in the form of threaded conversations supported by
daily blog updates by the facilitators. Participants could respond to
any question or idea raised in the discussion at any time over the
course of the forum.

This publication is not a word-for-word transcript, but rather, it is a

compilation of comments, materials and resources provided by our
facilitators as well as highlights from each of the four dialogues. We
hope you find it useful as you negotiate the sometimes complicated,
yet profoundly rewarding world of campus/community partnerships.

-- John Hamerlinck

Copyright © 2007 by Upper Midwest Campus Compact Consortium

Iowa Campus Compact Sandra Hansen, Executive Director

www.iacampuscompact.org Sandra.Hansen@iacampuscompact.org
100 Wartburg Blvd. (319)352-8660
Waverly, IA 50677
Fax (319)352-8582

Minnesota Campus Compact Catherine Reid Day, Executive Director

www.mncampuscompact.org catherineday@mncampuscompact.org
2356 University Ave W, Suite 280 651-603-5087
St. Paul, MN 55114-1898
Fax: 651-603-5093

Wisconsin Campus Compact

www.wicampuscompact.org Pamela Proulx-Curry, Executive Director
UW-Parkside pamela.proulx-curry@uwp.edu
P.O. Box 2000 (262) 595-2048
Tallent Hall, 900 Wood Road
Kenosha, WI 53141-2000
Fax: (262) 595-2501

Cover by Satellite Design, www.satellitedesign.com


Campus Compact is a coalition of more than 1,000 college and

university presidents — representing some 5 million students — who
are committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education.
As the only national association dedicated to this mission, Campus
Compact is a leader in building civic engagement into campus and
academic life. Through our national office and network of 31 state
offices, member institutions receive the training, resources, and
advocacy they need to build strong surrounding communities and
teach students the skills and values of democracy.

Campus Compact's membership includes public, private, two- and

four-year institutions across the spectrum of higher education. These
institutions put into practice the ideal of civic engagement by sharing
knowledge and resources with their communities, creating economic
development initiatives, and supporting service and service-learning
efforts in key areas such as literacy, health care, hunger,
homelessness, the environment, and senior services.

The Campus in Community Civic Dialogues were made possible

through a grant from Learn and Serve America Higher Education, a
program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.


1. Introduction 5
JoAnn Campbell
2. Reflection 7
Facilitators: Keith Morton and JoAnn Campbell

3. Power Dynamics in Campus- 40

Community Collaboration
Facilitators: Luther Snow and John Hamerlinck

4. Assessment and Evaluation of Civic 50

Engagement Initiatives
Facilitators: Christine Maidl Pribbenow and Dean

5. Risk Management 63
Facilitator: Jeannie Kim-Han

6. Additional Resources 76

7. Facilitator Bios 88

Campus Compact staff members are frequently asked what is the

future of civic engagement? Where is service-learning going next?
What will community-based research, teaching, and co-curricular
activities look like in the next decades? With no crystal ball, we can’t
be precise, but with over 100 member campuses--public, private, two-
year four-year, urban, suburban and rural--the Upper Midwest
Campus Compact consortium has an expansive, in-depth picture of
this exciting work that links campuses and communities.

A number of factors are shifting in higher education: new

technologies engage more learners, changing demographics affect
college enrollments, and funding challenges require entrepreneurial
work that crosses systems and borders. Some of these changes are
reflected in the topics here—power dynamics between campuses and
communities become more visible the more we engage, and readers
will find a helpful, lively discussion with Luther Snow and John
Hamerlinck about myths of power. Liability and risk management
issues grow more complex as higher education sees the world as a
classroom. Jeannie Kim-Han grounds her discussion of the
opportunities to manage risk in years of experience at a state
university and provides online and print resources upon which to

The other two issues urge the field to do even better what it already
does well—reflection and assessment and evaluation. While quality
service-learning has always required ongoing opportunities for
structured reflection to help students link their experiences with their
academic study, long-term community and campus partnerships
require even more nuanced practices. Keith Morton provides
scaffolding that should help readers take reflection to another level.

Directors of civic engagement programs know that assessment builds

the knowledge needed to improve and grow the work in their
institutions, yet the topic of evaluation is one some of us avoid. Dean
Pribbenow and Christine Maidl Pribbenow supply definitions,
practices, and resources in a manner that opens the area up for the
new, the experienced, and the reluctant.

These online forums created a conversational tone that invites you to

enter the dialogue, and we urge you to email these authors with your
own questions and comments. After all, the future of civic
engagement is what those in the field create. Please add your voice.

JoAnn Campbell
Minnesota Campus Compact
June, 2007

Facilitators: Keith Morton
and JoAnn Campbell

The following two essays set the stage for a conversation about
reflection that includes finding ways to develop a coherent trajectory
of student reflections, assessing reflection, and how the process
differs in a co-curricular setting and a classroom. Keith Morton’s
essay describes the cognitive dissonance that motivates students to
reflect and the relationship between how deeply and frequently
students serve and what is possible to glean from reflection. JoAnn
Campbell’s personal reflection illustrates the challenges for faculty,
staff, and community partners who lead reflection on tough topics.
Service-learning pedagogy constructs a different kind of knowledge
that allows those in the academy to work on the challenges in this
world, guided by theory, but grounded in lived experiences.
Reflection helps students bridge those worlds.

Some Thoughts on Reflection

Keith Morton

I think the process of reflection starts well before the first journal
assignment, small group discussion or presentation. It begins, I think,
as the service sites are being selected and the service experiences are
being developed. I think of it as trying to bring my expectations for
what people in a class or group might learn into balance with the
types of experiences they might have. I might initially think of the
service I am developing for a course as a ‘‘text’’: how will it figure
into the course? What will we do with the text? How will we
demonstrate what we have learned by reading it? The limit to this

analogy, of course, is that the service experience can’t be written or

read in advance, only anticipated.
I also think about achieving balance between what I want students or
participants to learn and the types of experiences I am trying to make
available to them. Here is one way I think about this ‘‘balance’’: 2

The graph is intended to be suggestive rather than prescriptive. It

argues, I think, that the most you can hope to do with a peripheral or
episodic service experience is have a discussion about it; that
developing an experiential base dense enough to understand it as a
case study requires more time and attention; that skill development
requires conscious effort, repetition and growing awareness of
context; and that a cycle of action/reflection demands a complex
experiential basis and significant amounts of reflection time. This
cycle occurs as the thinking people do about their experience is used
to modify a subsequent experience or alter the situation in which the
initial experience occurred. It is this process that led Kurt Lewin, who
helped found the field of organizational development after WW II, to
declare that ‘‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory.’’ Each

experience invites us to develop or modify a theory describing the

‘‘truth’’ of that experience and propose subsequent action leading to
It is worth noting that significant issues of power begin to emerge in
the cycle of action and reflection: who is included in the creation of a
new ‘‘theory’’ of action; does it include the people served, or only
those serving? Whose interpretation of a situation will be considered
‘‘true’’? Who will authorize or direct subsequent action steps --- is it
the people most impacted by those steps? Often, these issues of power
are implicit in less engaged or more episodic service experiences; but
they become explicit in a cycle of action and reflection.

The point I most want to emphasize with this graph, however, is what
you cannot do: you cannot develop a cycle of action and reflection,
for example, unless you will return to the service site after reflecting
on prior experience, and put the new learning into practice. It’s an
obvious point, perhaps, but one worth keeping in mind. I have seen
many faculty and staff disappointed when a limited service experience
doesn’t bring about an ‘‘aha’’ moment or transformational experience.

I think of several design principles when I try to design service

experiences, building in large part on the work of John Dewey, Kurt
Lewin, David Kolb, Donald Schon, Nel Noddings, Nell Morton and
others.4 Noting that not "all experiences are genuinely or equally
educative," Dewey argued that educative experiences could be judged
by whether or not:
• the individual grew, or would grow, intellectually and
• the larger community benefited from the learning over the
long haul;
• the "situation" (Dewey's word for a discrete episode of
experience) resulted in conditions leading to further growth,
such as arousing curiosity and strengthening initiative, desire,
and purpose.

The responsibility of the educator, Dewey also pointed out, is to

create the conditions for experiences that would result in this kind of
growth, a responsibility that required:
• knowledge of the "students";
• understanding of the types of experience that could help them
• the ability to anticipate and respond to the particular
"situations" that develop as an experience unfolded.

Types of Service

  ctitioners often envision the process as helping
students or participants make the leap from ‘‘charity to justice.’’ I
think this is a miscast typology. I’ve come to think that there are
several --- in my typology three --- paradigms of service: charity, project
and social change.5 Each of these can be done in ways that are ‘‘thin’’
and lack integrity --- diminishing everyone involved. And each can be
done in ‘‘thick’’ ways, with integrity. The measurement of integrity, I
also think, is relationship: are the relationships more whole than they
were when you began?
What distinguishes the three types of service is not so much the
activity done as the spirit in which it is carried out and the sense of
time that the participants bring to it. In some of the research I’ve
done, those who I identify as doing ‘‘thick’’ charity have a deep
commitment to relationship and understanding of a situation. They
attempt to be fully present for someone else. This has the potential to
be transformative for all parties. Most often, however, people doing
this deep form of charity don’t expect to change very much. They
have a sense, articulated by Daniel Berrigan, that ‘‘hope is out of
time.’’ That is, time is cyclical or teleological --- but certainly beyond
our human ability to know or control.

Thick forms of project service --- the dominant form for students’
service learning experiences --- is reflected in the nonprofit sector.
People identified as respected leaders in this type of work often have
a strong identification with what I call the ‘‘sweaty little body’’ sense
of time: at a certain time today, 30 (or 300) sweaty little bodies will
show up for our program and we had better be ready to work with
them. In other words, their sense of time is practical, linear,
incremental. Injustice, from this point of view, results from our not
being ready, from not having available the resources people need,
when and where they need them.

Finally, social change practitioners often describe time as a flow of

history, and understand themselves as a part of it. They sense that
others will follow them, but for now it is their turn. The change they
are about is political or institutional or cultural --- changes that can take

 ‘‘The Civil Rights movement
started when the first African slaves were brought to the colonies,’’
one older activist told me. ‘‘The movement is 400 years old. It has
probably 300 more to go. Let’s take the long view.’’

This typology --- or an alternative one you might have more faith in ---
matters, I think, because it suggests the possibility that we are not
trying to move our students from charity to justice, but rather trying to
help them find their own best, ‘‘thickest’’ expressions of service. I
assume that they serve for different reasons, see the world in different
ways, understand justice and make meaning in different ways. I want
them to understand the strengths and limitations of their perspectives
and to learn to draw on one another. In short, I see one important goal
of reflection being an effort to answer the question, ‘‘What type of
service is the most meaningful to you?’’

Thinking of service in this way challenges what has become

something of a truism in service learning: that the goal is to move
students from charity to justice; from direct service to engaged
citizenship. My goal is to make these concepts problematic, and to
value individual experience - and the making of meaning from that
experience --- over abstract (i.e. not based on one’s own experience)
theory. This approach insists on the particularity of experience, and
argues for theory constructed out of experience, rather than
experience used to illustrate theory. It argues, too, that the concept of
citizenship is multidimensional, internally divergent, contested.

Anticipating and responding

 owever, is not so much about how to design service
experiences as it is about ‘‘anticipating and responding to the
particular ‘situations’ that develop as an experience unfolds.’’ Here
are some ideas I use as I think about reflection.

Once unmoored from the logic of service as extracurricular, as a

good thing for people to do, once service becomes an object of
reflection, then society, economy, politics, power and history come
tumbling into the classroom.’’ 6

Mary Stanley, in this statement, invites us to consider what it is that

we want to have come ‘‘tumbling into the classroom,’’ and to figure
out how to draw this out. It’s worth taking seriously the directionality
of Stanley’s observation: these elements come into the classroom and
we respond to them. Many people new to service learning or
experiential education are uncomfortable with this directionality.
Traditional education tends to move learning from the classroom to
the world. Rather than seeing service learning’s directionality as
something strange to formal education, think of it as a regular element
of an experimental method: it is this ‘‘tumbling in’’ that creates the
cycle of action and reflection. As the world tumbles in to the
classroom, what can the classroom do to generate useful knowledge
that will improve a situation or deepen our understanding of what it

‘‘[Dissonance] throws learners temporarily out of balance to move

them toward deeper understanding. [Reflection is] the ability to step
back and ponder one’s own experience, to abstract from it some
meaning or knowledge relevant to other experiences. The capacity for
reflection is what transforms experience into learning’’ 7




‘‘cognitive dissonance’’ - the temporary gap that exists between what

we think we already know and a contradictory experience or piece of
evidence. Much of the research in this area suggests that we have a
high ability to ignore experience or evidence that introduces
dissonance. So --- how do you call it into attention and make it
something to embrace rather than avoid? Where in an experience is
that dissonance most likely to surface? That is where you want to be,


guiding factor in theentire process of reflection 8

While Dewey did not use the phrase ‘‘cognitive dissonance,’’ he

anticipated it in this statement. It is this desire to resolve a perplexity
that you want to develop in students or participants, and which
motivates their learning. It can be difficult to do this in the face of
reports that a service experience is ‘bad’’ or ‘‘frustrating’’ or doesn’t
conform to expectations. This is a critical moment. Similarly, it can
be a problem if an experience has no rough edges, if it was all ‘‘good’’
or ‘‘fun.’’
Reflection, to a large degree, is the process of balancing cognitive
dissonance so that it becomes a motivating perplexity, rather than an
emotional or psychological threat that results in withdrawal or a
retreat to over-simple dualisms. A student’s encounter with someone
they perceive as radically ‘‘other,’’ for example, can call the student
into an enlarged understanding of diversity, or it can cause her or him
to withdraw and retreat into a safer dualism of us/them. I generally
want a situation where students can take many small steps. As Kim
Boyce, a colleague I worked with for several years at the University
of Minnesota YMCA always said, ‘‘We want to create a situation full
of the possibility of short-term failure, but pretty much guaranteeing
long-term success.’’

The process proper

Reflection seems to me to be based on two related principles:
1. Teaching from the microcosm; Creating a complex,
paradoxical and meaning-rich microcosm in which a teacher
can teach and a student can learn; filtering course or program
themes through the immediacy of experience; bringing
students inside the subject.
2. Creating purposeful dialogue: Anticipating and asking the
appropriate question at the right time, as one would do in any
seminar; creating dissonance - between ideas, between
experience and belief. Journals, simulations, art expression,
guided written reflection, small group discussions - these are
only tools for inching toward such dialogue.

I imagine reflection as taking place in a particular type of space. It is a

space associated with learning circles, in which participants sit facing
one another. But it is primarily an intellectual and moral space. ‘‘

teach is to create a space in which the community oftruth is
practiced...Most definitions of leadership are about filling the space -
with whatwe know, want done; rather than creating a space....The
ground upon which one standsmust be firm enough to sustain the
space... ’’ Parker Palmer

This open space, according to Palmer, has:

• a quality of openness
• boundaries (without boundaries, space is a void)
• hospitality (true hospitality requires rigor)

One way to create such a space:

• sit in a circle
• put out a fruitful question or story and insist people stay with
it and take it seriously
• teach from a microcosm: what happened? How did it feel?
What questions did it raise? What’s next? What would you
like to know before you do it again? What context is important
to understand?

This is all a complicated way of saying that reflection is about finding

a way to engage other people in an ongoing dialogue that is
attempting to reach one or more truths about the meaning of

Knowing when we have ‘‘learned’’ something



" ‘‘student
centered’’ learning processes) is that they lack intellectual rigor. I
think there is a lot of confusion over this point, and that this confusion
can lead to weak learning. The confusion arises when facilitators or
faculty find themselves faced with a set of opinions that all seem
equally valid: seven people have had the ‘same’’ experience and
interpreted it differently. Since they all had this experience, their
interpretations seem to be equally valid. And reflection --- learning ---
stops. Moving forward from this point requires two conditions be met.
First, the learning that counts has to shift from the individual (what
have I learned) to the community (what have we learned). This is the
shift from a private to a public culture, and it can be difficult to
accomplish. We have to learn to make this shift. The second condition
is that we shift from having opinions to making judgments ---
judgments which are, in turn, held up to scrutiny within the
community of learners (a fluid term that can stop at the classroom
door or include a larger community outside the doors).

Most, if not all, disciplines, contain two elements: an agreement about

what constitutes the ‘‘literature’’ of the discipline (even if this
agreement includes controversy), and an agreement about what counts
as an acceptable research methodology (even if this is a fairly
pluralistic accounting). This is as true in the humanities as it is in the
sciences; as true in business disciplines as it is in the social sciences. I
don’t believe service learning is a discipline. Nonetheless, I think
service learning is developing a literature, as an interdisciplinary
field; and I think it can have a compelling research methodology.

I think of a service learning ‘‘research method’’ in the following way:

We might think about beginning with individual experience: what

happened? How did you feel? What do you think? Was it ethical or
unethical or…? Quite often, this knowledge is expressed in the form
of stories --- complex, sometimes paradoxical, often unfinished, often
suspending judgment. And then we might add to the discussion a
relevant literature --- on homelessness or source point pollution or
ethical development--- with the goal of asking a new question: how
does our interpretation compare to the interpretations of others
concerned with similar questions? Can we begin to imagine ourselves
as part of the dialogue in this larger community? What can we learn
from this comparison? And, finally, we might develop some particular
objective data, data that will hopefully help illuminate both the
literature and the experience. What I am inviting, in other words, is an
integration of ways of knowing that are typically distinct and separate
in higher education. A colleague of mine in English teaches a course
on the literature of the Holocaust. Her students serve in the
community in a variety of sites, some connected to historic
interpretation, others to the aftermath of communal violence. The
students interview survivors of the camps. They plan an on-campus
conference commemorating the Holocaust, and open to the public. It


history is imagined and created, drawing on literature, personal

stories, historic documentation. I teach a course on community
history, centered on a neighborhood adjacent to my campus. The
centerpiece of the course (for now) is Adrienne Rich’s long poem, An
Atlas of the Difficult World#$

metaphoric idea of ‘‘mapping’’ history and cultural change. We
catalog a local cemetery, and construct social histories of the people
buried there. How many of them died in which decades, of what
causes? Why do most of the headstones note a county and parish in
Ireland? Our answers are a map that is simultaneously geographic,
historic and narrative. Reflection, then, is about deliberately dipping
into different ways of knowing what appears to be a single
experience, and comparing what you see from those different
perspectives, trying to bring them into a common frame.

As we move from individual to communal ‘‘knowing’’ this process

gets quite messy. We have to agree on what our stories mean. We
have to agree on a relevant literature and what it means. And we have
to believe the integrity of the data we have collected.

Ideally, our descriptions of our experiences, the stories told however

formally or informally in the literature and our objective data will
intersect exactly. If this happens then we have a fact or an
interpretation that we can trust for now --- something that we in this
community believe to be true.

More often, as the diagram suggests, there is some open space in the
triangle. How do we then account for this space? Experience just is ---
it is always true. But are we interpreting it honestly and fully? Is there
some flaw or problem or disagreement in the literature that we have to
understand or come to terms with? Was there a problem with our
objective measure? This continual adjustment and experimentation is
reflection. We might think of reflection, then, as creating a space in
which people’s experiences are taken seriously --- as seriously as a
literature and objective data. Stories, emotion, values and history are
all allowed to ‘‘come tumbling into the classroom.’’ It is this process
that creates new knowledge.

Goals of reflection

ng I’d like to begin closing this document by

offering a working definition of service learning:

Service is a process of integrating intention with action in the context

of a movement toward a just relationship.
Nadinne Cruz, 1994

Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the

transformation of experience
&  '() 

Learning and
Development 1984:38.

Service learning, I think, offers a particular type of experience

(service) that we try to transform into knowledge. How do we
integrate intention with action and move toward more just

The argument here is that knowledge is socially constructed --- it is

both a private and a public resource. It is an inherently ethical (or
unethical) process. Does it lead us toward more just relationships --- to
ourselves, to one another, to people we will never meet but whose
lives are implicated in our own, to the natural world?

How to do all of this in 14 weeks, 4 years or a lifetime

$ se by trying to summarize a few points I see as central:
We want experiences to introduce cognitive dissonance --- enough so
people are unsettled, not enough that they withdraw. We then want to
help people make meaning out of that dissonance.

We want people to engage their hearts and minds and bodies --- the
goal is to encourage people to go the next step. We have to learn to
construct a common, ‘‘public’’ space to which we add our
experiences, and engage in dialogue about what they mean. This leads
toward an inherently pluralistic perspective teachers or facilitators and
students/participants are ‘‘constructing’’ knowledge together, more
than they are trying to ‘‘get through’’ the knowledge base of a
discipline. Learning takes place in an ethical framework in which
justice is of central concern.
Finally, it is a lifelong process. Activists Helen and Scott Nearing,
best known for their contributions to simple living, ecology and
nonviolence, summarized the life lesson they wished to pass on as
‘‘Wherever you are, do the best you can and be kind.’’ Reflection, I
think, is a way of engaging the world --- never finished, but basically
the same today, at the end of the semester, at the end of four years of
college, and at the end of a lifetime.

Morton, Keith. ‘‘Issues Related to Integrating Service Learning into the
Curriculum,’’ in Service-Learning in Higher Education: Concepts and Practices
Ed. Barbara Jacoby. Jossey Bass Publishers, 1996: 276-296.

Morton, Keith and Sandra Enos. ‘‘Service Learning and Citizenship


Reconsidered.’’ Journal of Public Affairs. Special Issue: Service Learning and Civic
Engagement in Higher Education. Summer 2002.
Kurt Lewin, ‘‘Group Decisions and Social Change’’. Swanson et al. Eds, Readings
in Social Psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1952.
Morton, Keith, et al. Foundations of Experiential Education
Society for Experiential Education, 1998. (The text of this pamphlet originally
appeared in the NSEE Quarterly, 23, 3 Spring 1998: 1, 18-22. It is available
electronically at http://www.nsee.org/found.htm. )
Morton, Keith. "The Irony of Service: Charity, Project and Social Change in
Service Learning,"
Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. 2, Fall 1995: 19-32.

Stanley, Mary. ‘‘Expanding the Commons: Civic Education Through Thought and

Action,’’ The Maine Scholar, Autumn 1991, v4, 257-271.

Hutchings, Pat and Wutzdorff, Allan. ‘‘Experiential Learning Across the


Curriculum: Assumptions and Principles,’’ Knowing and Doing: Learning Through

Experience Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1988.
Dewey, J. (1938; 1963).  

Publishing Company.
Reflecting at the Speed of Life
JoAnn Campbell

Things come and go in a deeper rhythm, and people must be

taught to listen; it is the most important thing we have to learn in
this life.
Etty Hillesum

I’m a former writing teacher, so reflection-- thinking about and

processing experiences and information to give meaning--strikes me
as a natural element to any kind of education. However, such
thinking is not an inevitable part of experience, so we need to
incorporate it into community-based learning or research, contexts
which provide a shared experience or text for a class to analyze and
discuss. The very nature of community-based learning requires
students to act in ways that may be new to them, in arenas that are
strange and sometimes uncomfortable, or within frameworks that may
require them to make a paradigm shift. Such contexts can also lead to
insights about oneself and one’s beliefs, stereotypes, fears, emotional
responses, memories, anxieties, or blind spots if the experience can be
articulated, shared, and analyzed. In other words, by doing something
often outside of our routine or comfort zone, we get a chance to learn
lessons that complement, deepen, and expand academic lessons
learned in a classroom through traditional means. Reflection helps
students translate experience into something from which they can
learn. Otherwise, they may embody the T. S. Eliot quote—“We had
the experience but missed the meaning.” Let me illustrate.
One semester when I taught a service-learning class I volunteered at
the local food bank, a warehouse that collected expired and discarded
food to redistribute to other food shelves and community kitchens.
As I moved pallets of canned goods and sorted donated bakery bread
into categories of “usable” or “moldy,” I saw the goods an organic
food distributor had donated--packets of Earl Grey tea, beautiful
purple tins of grape seed oil, and cans of elaborate curry sauces. "I'd
love some of that," I thought. "I don't make THAT much money--how
much would they miss one of those cans of oil?"
These thoughts took me by surprise and gave me pause--was I really a
thief at heart or was there something else going on? I tend to see the
world as filled with lessons (the byproduct of having teachers for
parents, I suppose) and therefore knew to look for another meaning in
this anti-social impulse. In one of my favorite books, Woman on the
Edge of Time, Marge Piercy creates a utopia where someone who
steals is showered with gifts because clearly he or she is feeling a
lack. Maybe my desire for something I didn’t have could be filled in a
healthier way. What had I not been giving myself that I needed? One
immediate answer that came to me was time. I'd been so busy that I
hadn't given myself the kind of leisurely, nurturing time that I need to
feel sane and whole. I had also been so busy I didn’t even know I had
this need. Doing the slow, steady work of counting cans and moving
boxes at the food bank had created a space for me to feel that I was
missing something and figure out what it was.

The next day in class I told that story, including my own chagrin
about wanting to steal and the realization that what I really needed
was time for myself. The importance and usefulness of that insight
convinced me what a rich learning environment such work typically
labeled “mundane” can provide if we are open to it and willing to
look at ourselves. I want my students to see the world metaphorically
and to find a lesson in every situation; reflection makes that possible.

What’s so scary about reflection?

The act of reflection has the potential to crack open neat, prior
categories for people, which may explain some people’s hesitation to
lead reflection sessions because the results are very unpredictable.
I’ve certainly made inadequate responses or failed to ask a key
follow-up question when faced with a student’s strong and sometimes
emotional reaction to a service-learning experience. Yet I’m coming
to see that facilitating effective reflection is less about my ability to
ask the perfect question than it is about my ability to receive the
students’ experiences, questions, and frustrations, and to create a
space where students learn something by re-visioning those
experiences. The more I read, learn, and think about reflection, the
more central the act of listening seems to be.
Listen and Listen Again
In “Tell Me More, On the Fine Art of Listening,” Brenda Ueland
writes that listening is so powerful it “creates us.” Ueland’s claim is
that when one is listened to “ideas actually begin to grow within us
and come to life” (i). She uses the metaphor of a fountain that flows in
each one of us to describe the effect listening has on a person. These
fountains of creativity and authenticity can get clogged with debris,
and what unclogs the fountain and allows its waters to run pure is
creative, non-critical listening. The initial unclogging of the fountain
means some of that debris has to come out before the pure, creative,
and authentic gems come forth. Ueland relates this phenomenon to
writing: “Pour out the dull things on paper too—you can tear them up
afterward—for only then do the bright ones come. If you hold back
the dull things, you are certain to hold back what is clear and beautiful
and true and lively. So it is with people who have not been listened to
in the right way—with affection and a kind of jolly excitement. Their
creative fountain has been blocked. Only superficial talk comes out—
what is prissy or gushing or merely nervous. No one has called out of
them, by wonderful listening, that which is true and alive” (ii).

How do we listen with “affection” and “jolly excitement” in the

academy where we are paid to evaluate or judge students through a
particular disciplinary lens? I think the requirement of grading
students can be skirted in certain contexts, classroom activities, or
even assignments. For instance, in his book Hidden Wholeness
Parker Palmer shares how to create a “circle of trust” in which the
whole person is encouraged to come forth. Palmer writes that the
point of a circle of trust is "not to persuade anyone of anything or to
reach consensus on how things really are but to help each person
listen to his or her inner teacher" (99).

If we don’t allow students’ and our own inner teachers to come forth
in service-learning settings, we may be missing an opportunity. In
“The Irony of Service,” Keith Morton establishes a typology of
different paradigms for service and claims that it is not up to us to
change or transport students from one paradigm to another, despite
the fact that education seems to be about changing students into
something else—lifelong learners, active citizens, productive workers,
critical thinkers, etc. Rather, Keith argues that each paradigm can be
done well or not. If we create a circle of trust where a student can
truly explore her responses and construct her own meaning, we have
opened the opportunity for her to be an effective change agent in the
world--and to make the changes that emerge for her and seem crucial
to fulfill who she is today.
I've come to believe that trying to change anyone is a form of violence
that stems from my own fear and need to control. Palmer defines
violence as "any way we have of violating the identity and integrity of
another person" (169). That is, until we accept, embrace, and enjoy
students exactly where they are, there is little chance that a semester's
experience, however intense and well-planned, will transform them
into more caring, thoughtful, civically engaged people. We may have
had students who had the sought-after "aha” moment, seen the world
through different lenses, or whose lives have shifted dramatically
after a service-learning course. In order to be willing to let go and
make an attitudinal or behavioral shift, I would bet those students felt
accepted and cared for when they started that experience rather than
judged and seen as deficient,
Preparing to Facilitate
I must also apply that kind of acceptance to myself if I am to be an
effective facilitator. Here are a few ways I remind myself that I’m
perfectly capable of helping others think deeply about what they have

Slow down— Margaret Wheatley says that the most radical thing a
leader in the 21st century can do is slow down. Deep reflection
requires the time and space for students to articulate what they
haven’t thought or felt before. The facilitator’s job is to create that
space, what Wheatley calls a “front porch,” in which to share ideas.
This can look very different from a rushed, syllabus-driven semester.

Visit the sites of the students’ service experiences—know the

students’ text. This should be obvious, but I suspect not all of us have
been to each site at its busiest or most chaotic times and viscerally
experienced what our students have. I find it easier to respond more
authentically and ask genuine questions based on my experience
rather than on something I read in a mission statement or an abstract
concept of how things operate.

Write with the students and share your responses. Something

shifts in a room of writing students when I’m writing too—there’s
urgency or energy that signals this is an important activity. At some
point in every semester, reflective writing should be done in class or
at the community site—to indicate how important it is, certainly--but
also because there’s an increased energy when writing with others,
much as there is when meditating with others.

Ask honest questions. Years ago a friend from graduate school told
me about serving on a dissertation defense at her first academic job.
She tried really hard to ask questions that would impress her new
colleagues, but soon she found herself immersed in the topic and
asked questions she wanted to know. “Then I really did impress
them,” she observed. Students know when a question is leading and
when it’s open to whatever their answer may be. Also, the more I
focus on my performance—do I appear smart? insightful? wise?--the
less likely I am to hear fully what the person is saying and ask a
useful question.

Welcome intimacy into the reflective space. Reflection is a chance

for the student to listen, perhaps for a first time, to the inner teacher
Palmer writes about, the only one who truly knows what is needed for
the next step in the individual's growth and development. For many
learners, starting with the self is the entry point to interest in and
understanding of more theoretical subjects. If it’s not ok for an
integrated or whole self to participate in a reflection session, then
many will not learn all they can from the conversation.

Find a colleague or community with whom you can reflect on your

own experience in this field. I sometimes forget that relationships lie
at the heart of effective community-based education; indeed, that’s
what drew me to and keeps me in this field. We’re often so busy
doing the work, handling the logistics, obtaining funding, and
supporting students and faculty that we don’t take time to think about
the larger issues we hope to address, the impact this has on our lives,
or the parts of our lives that aren’t included in the work. We all need a
community of supportive, non-judgmental listeners with whom we
can try out ideas and create knowledge.

Works Cited

Hillesum, Etty. An Interrupted Life and Letters from Westerbork.

NY: Henry Holt, 1996.
Morton, Keith. “The Irony of Service: Charity, Project and Social
Change in Service Learning,” Michigan Journal of
Community Service Learning, 2 (Fall 1995): 19-32.
Palmer, Parker. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journal Toward an
Undivided Life. SF: Jossey-Bass, 2004.
Piercy, Marge. Woman on the Edge of Time. NY: Knopf, 1976.
Ueland, Brenda. “Tell Me More, On the Fine Art of Listening.” Utne
Reader, (November/December) 1992.
Wheatley, Margaret. Keynote address, “The Work of the Servant
Leader,” Robert K. Greenleaf Center Conference,
Indianapolis, Indiana, June, 1999.

It would be helpful to know a bit more about the context in which you
work and how this shapes your understanding and use of reflection:

• What sorts of students or program participants do you work

• What sorts of community experiences are they involved in?
• How much prior experienced do they bring to the table?
• What institutional niche do you inhabit - and how is this
• What is your best experience of reflection? Your worst?

For my part, I am a faculty member working primarily with

traditionally aged college students in classroom-based service
learning projects. these projects range from the 30-hour per semester
commitments of freshman, to year-long (or more) projects of public
service majors in a public and community service major.

I have worked as a staff member and/or executive director of

nonprofits, and I also work as a dialogue partner with several
nonprofit organizations -tied these days to community development,
local economies, nonviolence and ecological sustainability. In my
mind, at least, they all seem to fit together. In all of these ventures,
I'm interested in how people think and learn together.

Comment on Fear
JoAnn has a heading in her essay, "What is so scary about reflection?"
As I pondered Keith's question - "what was my worst experience with
reflection" - I found myself thinking that "fear of the unknown" is one
scary part of reflection. I never know how students (or colleagues) are
going to internalize an experience, what questions they will generate
for themselves and for others, and whether I will be able to respond

Jeffrey Howard's principles remind us that we must, to some extent,

let go of control of student learning outcomes (Principle #9: "Be
prepared for variation in and some loss of control with, student
learning outcomes"). I'd be interested in hearing how others cope with
this "fear factor," or in dealing with large deviations from intended
student learning outcomes during reflection.

Comment on Evaluation
I believe that perhaps the most significant barrier to substantive, life-
changing, eye-opening (insert your adjectives here) reflection within
the context of higher education is the reality of the political dynamic
created by the fact that teachers must grade students. I have taught a
number of courses where 90% of the graded assignments are reaction
papers - written reflection that includes no academic language, works
cited, etc. I tell students that I am looking for 1) honesty, and 2)
evidence that they can connect what they are reacting to, to what they
already know and 3) show some depth to their analysis.

First year students and seniors seem to have equal levels of anxiety in
dealing with my request. I find that to get the best effort from many
students I have to set the stage for this series of reaction papers by
doing lots of exercises where students get use to the idea of
associating themselves with an honest opinion in a public space. We
do a number of what professional meeting-goers would call "ice
breakers" throughout a semester. This seems to help. There are,
however, always students who respond to even this simple kind of
activity as if they are being graded. It seems as though the sentiment
lurking in the background with a certain number of students is "If I
am completely honest I may be 'wrong', so I'll just say what might get
me a good grade."

I think this raises a real obstacle: grading. It gets in the way of
creating the sort of “safe space” that JoAnn and Parker Palmer talk
about. My experience is that it takes a lot of time and patience to
create that space – a process of unlearning has to happen as students
are learning the new way. And, no matter how much you try to keep it
muted in the background, the grade is always there, a symbol of the
differential in power between teacher and students.

Since I have to grade at my college, I’ve tried to make the best of it. I
try to acknowledge that it’s there, but to remove it from center stage. I
think of a range of assignments, from private to public: the private
graded on volume or completion (say an intellectual journal); the
semi-public (leading or participating in a workshop, taking
intellectual risks in an essay or dialogue, for example) is graded more
on the risk taken and the effort made than on formal standards; while
the public assignments (a final project, presentation to a community
group) are graded on more conventional standards that include quality
of presentation.

In entry-level SL courses, I often begin the semester by looking at the

way nonprofit and organizations work and are funded, and at the
philanthropic sector – as an historic and cultural phenomenon that
includes a dimension of power. I then require that the students
complete a grant application to the Community Credit Foundation, of
which I am the sole staff person. The application is quite formal
mimicking a generic application from the real world. It includes a
section that lists measurable objectives, and how they will be
assessed. Then, at semester’s end, they turn in the proofs they had
promised, demonstrating whether or not they achieved those
objectives. These proofs include testimonies from those benefiting
form their service, or from community partners; often a reflective
essay outlining what they have learned, any objective measures of
their impact, and so on. I grade their service based on this
performance report, not on what I observe them as having done.

Most of the time, the Foundation has enough points in it that everyone
could get full credit, at least in theory. Every so often, however, the
Foundation doesn’t have enough points – mimicking the real world.
Students get quite aggravated. One class even staged an in-class sit
down protest. Often a student or two who finds this unfair and who
has a strong sense of justice will refuse to participate – they don’t
believe in grading such a personal and authentic experience – and
leave their potential credits in the pool for the remaining students.

And suddenly, the problem of grading is made transparent and seems

to mirror the reality of the nonprofit sector. I’ve had some wonderful
discussions with people at this stage – about mechanics, about
presentation trumping quality, about social justice, and so on.
This has become a sort of model for me as I think about how to use
grading to best mirror a reality of the experience/learning I hope my
students will have.

Comment on Grading
My thanks to the others for sharing their insights on this challenging
issue of reflection as it relates to grading/evaluation. My belief is that
all cases of reflection are opportunities for assessment. Two
strategies my co-instructor and I have used--which certainly aren't
completely innovative--are (1) tutorials; and (2) multiple drafts of
reflective writings.

During our "Engaged Citizen" course in the spring, we met three

times with the students outside of class. These were "reflective"
sessions that allowed us to "assess" students' learning (from
experience) and push them deeper in their reflection and analysis. We
also tried, with less success, to form them in groups for the purpose of
providing opportunities for them to receive feedback from and be
pushed to deeper learning by their peers.

Also, in addition to numerous reflection papers, we built a structure

where they were composing a final synthesis paper (synthesizing
research, action/experience, and values) over the last 5-6 weeks of the
class. The drafts of this paper became opportunities for reflection and
for assessing their learning without the pressure of grading. We
found--in all cases--the quality of the final paper--primarily depth of
analysis--was much better because of this process.

The element that still challenges me and many of the faculty I talk to
is the actual assessment of the reflection on experience. I've had some
faculty experiment with rubrics.

Comment on Sequencing
Let’s address the notion of sequencing reflective activities for the
developmental level of the student. Should first year students be doing
a different kind of reflection than seniors? Can older students process
in ways younger students cannot? and if so, how do we build that into
a curriculum? (See the resource “Pattern of Response.”)

Comment on levels of reflection

Throughout my time as service-learning coordinator, I have
experienced reflection as a truly transformational experience for our
students and at times miserable failures.

I believe that it can be truly fruitful to assess if there should be

different levels of reflection for students at different stages of their
academic career. But one point that I want to make is that regardless
of whether students are first years or seniors, reflection that has the
power to transform a student’s learning experience will not happen if
students do not view themselves and challenge themselves to be
intimately engaged. True engagement calls for a student to
understand that they are responsible for their educational learning and
thus challenges them to explore the deeper stories and issues that
impact the learning and work that is taking place. For example,
because our program anticipates that students will learn more about
specific cases of social injustice and inequities, we also anticipate that
the idea of power structures (who has power, who doesn't) will come
into discussion and learning. We anticipate that their micro
experience will be related to the macro picture of communities and
societal structures and that students will see themselves as a part of
this picture. Too often, students can feel entirely separate from the
experiences that they are engaging in on a temporary (in our case, for
the semester) basis.

So my point is that, yes, students may be at different developmental

stages but one question to keep in mind is how can I, as a coordinator,
as a professor, as a community partner, use reflection to encourage
deeper levels of engagement with the issues that they are learning
about in addition to direct course content? How does one influence
the other? How do I drive reflection into action? I'm a strong believer
that reflection has to be facilitated in the community as well as the
classroom. Any ideas or thoughts about how I can increase
competency facilitating reflection with our community partners is
Resources from Keith Morton

Here are a few reflection tools/exercises I use in my work:

Community Gardens is a list of ways meaning can be made form a

community garden, compiled by my students and me over the years.

Community gardens have the potential the raise a number of

questions, questions that invite residents and visitors alike to look at
their world with new eyes:

What is a garden:

A place where food grows / is grown

What is food
Where does food come from
What does food mean
What is earth, soil
How does one garden

A symbol or metaphor (or practice) of reconnection with nature, a

“green space”
What is nature
What is our connection to it
What is bio-diversity
What is it one cultivates

A consideration of what it is to be healthy, to heal

What does it mean to heal the land or the community
What does it mean to contribute to life and beauty
What is “organic” (in addition to not-artificial)
What are life and death

A consideration of what it means to be a community

What do we eat
What does it mean to live well
What do we need to live well
What is our collective history
Who are we (one and many)
What is the meaning of poverty (of wealth)
What and who do we value
Is ours a place of scarcity or abundance
What does it mean to belong here
What is the political economy of the place
What are the politics of this place
How is our community a part of other webs of interconnection
in the world

©Keith Morton
March 1997 / September 2003

The following piece contains the quotes I mentioned in the conference

call about "how we know."

Some ways in which the experience of service learning might

transform how we know:

“Our theories of poverty are true, but they are much like telling a
drowning person that to survive, they must swallow the ocean.” We
do not know poverty in a way that allows us to work on it effectively.
–Lakshman Yappa, cultural geographer

“Higher education believes that the world can be divided into two
domains: the domain of the problem and the domain of the non-
problem. It ignores the likelihood that its way of knowing is
implicated in the problem.” –Lakshman Yappa, cultural geographer

• How we know matters

• Global theory is only half the picture, to be balanced by “local
• It is more complex than using experience to “test” theory”;
rather it is to suggest that how and what we know is shaped by
the particular context in which we find ourselves.
“The construction of social knowledge must self-consciously take
place in the domain of the “problem,” where it can be understood as
being a dimension of social action.”
– Mac Legerton, community organizer

• Social knowledge
• self-consciousness
• domain of the problem
• a dimension of social action

The pattern of response outlines the "stages" I think I observe people

going through as they work with school-based service.

Pattern of Response
1. The community neglects its children, and that’s why our help
is needed. Parents don’t, or can’t, pay enough attention to their
children. I am so fortunate to have what I have.
2. People outside the school don’t realize there’s a problem and
once they do, it will get fixed. Our/my volunteer effort will
add enough extra energy to the school to help tip things in the
right direction, and inspire others to pay attention (reading
Savage Inequalities, the Community and Schools, Raisin in
the Sun; ethnography assignments)
3. Someone in authority is at fault; we need to find out who this
is and call them to task. The most likely culprit is the principal
and the teachers who aren’t from this neighborhood. They are
bureaucrats and union members who don’t do any more than
they have to. The school needs caring, dynamic leadership.
4. It’s a political problem. Our service makes no difference. The
school board plays favorites and doesn’t have enough funding
to start with. People who don’t know anything about it make
too many decisions affecting the school. The principal has
little or no real authority.
5. The problem is systemic and too complicated. If you are poor
you get ignored. Where do you start? I feel guilty about what I
have. How do you overcome such institutionalized inertia?
6. Quit or find a way to accept that one is making a positive
contribution; that it’s a long haul, and you can only do what
you can do. Consciousness of the social, economic and
political dimensions of the system in which one is working.
Commitment to the relationships developed is primary,
sustaining, meaningful and sometimes transformational.

Reflection Questions lists several types of questions about service -

questions pointing to self, to community and to more global issues. It
was compiled at a workshop several years ago on Service Learning
and Community Economic Development .

Reflection questions

Some preliminary questions about direct service

• Who are you serving?
• What is the service you are providing?
• Are you responding to an existential human need (a need that
is caused by a natural condition of being alive such as famine
caused by drought) or to a need that is caused by people?

If the need is existential, why are you responding?

• If people cause the need, does your response in any way
contribute to the problem?
• If people cause the need, does your response do anything to
mitigate the cause?
• What do you know/not know about the situation you are
• What would improve the quality of your contribution?

Some preliminary questions abut inner work

• Why is it important to you to respond this need, or these
• What about you matters in this relationship?

How will your service affect you? How will it affect your
• How will it affect your community?
• How committed are you (or not) to what you are doing?
• How does the community you serve perceive you?
• How do you feel about what you are doing?
• What engages you most? Troubles you most?

Some preliminary questions about political engagement

• How does/will your service affect the person or persons you
are serving?
• What is their network of relationships?
• How does your service affect their network of relationships?
• How committed are you (or not) to what you are doing?
• What resources does your service consume?
• Where do they come from?
• What do they cost?
• Are the interests of the people you serve fairly balanced with
those of other stakeholders?
• How can you help the people you serve to change their
© Keith Morton / November 2002

Starfish Hurling is an intentionally provocative response to the

parable of the Starfish - useful for introducing some cognitive
dissonance; and for suggesting some of the creative tensions in

Starfish Hurling and Community Service

One of the most popular stories in community service events is that of

the starfish: a (fill in your description, usually young) person is
running, hurling starfish deposited on the beach by a storm back into
the sea. "What are you doing," asks a (fill in your description, usually
old) person, "you can't possibly throw all the starfish back. Your
effort makes no difference." "It makes a difference to this one,"
replies the first person, who continues off down the beach.
The usual conclusions drawn from this hackneyed tale are about the
importance of making a difference where you can, one person or
problem at a time; about not being put off by skepticism or criticism
or cynicism. The story acknowledges the relief that comes when we
find a way to relieve suffering. A somewhat deeper reading is that
there is merit in jumping into a situation and finding a way to act - the
first step in determining what possibilities for action might exist.

But the tale is, ultimately, mis-educative and I wish people would stop
using it. First, it is about a problem - starfish cast up by a storm - that
is apolitical (unless you stretch for the connection between pollution
and El Niño that might have precipitated the storm). There is seldom
any hesitancy or moral complexity in responding to a crisis caused by
natural disaster. It is the one circumstance in which charity can be an
unmitigated good. The story suggests that all problems are similarly
simple - that there is a path of action which is right and can avoid the
traps of politics, context, or complex and contradictory human

Second, the story is about helping starfish and not about helping
people. It avoids, therefore, the shadow side of the service, the sticky
problem of who deserves our help. The starfish are passive; they have
no voice; they cannot have an opinion about their circumstances, at
least not that we can hear. This one is much like that one. Their
silence coincides with the fact that they can have done nothing (the
story suggests) to deserve their fate. In most of the situations where
this story is told, service is about people working with people: people
with histories, voices, opinions, judgment, more or less power.

Third, the story avoids the possible complexity of ecology: it might be

that the starfish are part of a food chain that is being interrupted as
they are thrown back - birds might go hungry at a critical time of year,
for example; or it might be that the starfish have been released by a
storm from the ocean bottom because they have outgrown their
habitat. It is never smart to intervene in an ecosystem without
understanding how all of its parts are interrelated..

Fourth, the tale suggests that we should work from emotional

response and not our heads, even though the problem is, in this case, a
knowable one. As "overwhelming" as the miles of beach seem, the
dilemma of the starfish is finite and knowable - this many starfish on
this stretch of beach; a bit of advance organizing could result in
enough volunteers to return all the starfish to the sea.

Fifth, the story privileges random, individual acts of kindness. It

avoids questions of community (and we claim "community service"
as our ground after all). It avoids questions of working with others. It
polarizes the relationship of the two actors: how different would the
story be if the second person joined in with the first?

In short, the story does nothing to teach us about community or

service. This in itself is not necessarily a problem; it could be an
entertaining tale, and that could be enough. What makes it a problem,
however, is that the tale of the starfish pretends to teach us something
about community service, even as it misdirects our sympathies, our
intellects and our sense of purpose.

Don't go charging out to help. Talk, listen, build relationships, know

your self, your environment; work with others where they and the
situation itself can teach you how to act with more and more
knowledge and effectiveness. Stop hurling starfish.

Tanya is a very short story about a forced choice situation. I use it to

introduce the ways in which individual choices are connected into
larger systems; and to ask about how and where we draw the
boundaries of personal commitment.

Moving Tanya from Charity to Justice

Here's the deal: leaving a community meeting at an elementary school
about five in the afternoon, on a chilly March day in a New England
city. The school, situated in a poor, immigrant, transitory
neighborhood bisected by a highway, is 1970s-institutional and hasn't
aged well. About 20 people have been meeting to plan a community
garden project - including a quarter acre next to the school - for the
coming spring. The project is intended to create some green space,
provide opportunities for families to do something together, and even
to generate a small business for eight high school students.

I am on the faculty of a nearby college. A student with whom I am

beginning to work closely has joined me at the meeting, and we are
returning now to the campus. I am feeling good about the progress we
have made, the bureaucratic obstacles we have overcome, the hope
that is bubbling up. I am feeling good that some things talked about in
class presented themselves in the meeting. I am also late picking up
my two children, five and two, from daycare, so we are walking fast.

On a corner one long block from the school, next to a storefront

evangelical church serving Central American immigrants, and just as
the early spring sun is flattening back into winter light with no shine,
an eleven year-old girl approaches us. I know she is eleven because I
recognize her from the school, from her fifth grade class. She is tall
for her age and pudgy, squeezed into a too-small orange sweat suit
and black sneakers. Her hair is done up in two short, stubby braids
that are escaping their rubber bands. Snot has dried under her nose,
white against her brown skin, and the wind has caused and dried small
tears in the corners of her eyes. Her shoulders say she is cold. "Spare
some change?" she asks. There is not another person on the street as
far as can be seen in any direction.

What is the right thing to do?

It is more complicated than the cliché: do you give money or not? I

am pretty sure her mom has a drug habit and she needs to raise $10 or
so before she can go home. What options are there? Talk to the girl,
find out her name. Talk to her teacher. Or go back to my office and
call Bobby Fitzpatrick, the nice new cop who does juvenile in the
neighborhood. Or call a social worker at the Department of Children,
Youth and Families. Or walk her home and meet her mother. Or blow
her off, "Sorry, not right now."

And I am with a student: it crosses my mind, even then, that I have a

second moral problem, modeling a response. She is waiting, standing
at the center of the intersection, about ten feet away from us. I
remember her name. "Hey, Tanya." She looks at us for the first time
and, pulling on her sweat shirt, nods twice, searching in her memory
for my face.

What does it mean, in this context, to move from charity to justice?

© Keith Morton, September 1995


Power Dynamics in
Luther Snow and John Hamerlinck

Welcome to the forum everyone. We’re pleased and honored to have
you here. I encourage all of you to be active participants by jumping
in on any discussion thread that compels you to respond. This is a
conversation, not a lecture. My co-facilitator Luther Snow and I are
here to throw some ideas out there and to keep the discussion lively.
We will each post some opening remarks and then wait for the
collected wisdom of all of you to create a dialogue that will benefit
everyone interested in community-building through
campus/community partnerships.

When you are asked to facilitate a discussion on “power dynamics in

campus/community partnerships” you hope that there are actually
folks out there who want to engage in this conversation. You see, not
a lot of people out there are talking about power. If they were, there
would be a greater amount of power being created to bring about
positive change in the world.

Most of us are uncomfortable talking about power. That’s probably

because of all of the myths we’ve bought into regarding its very
nature. So before launching into the specific realities of
campus/community partnerships I think it might be valuable to look at
the notion of power itself.

There is a great book by Frances Moore Lappé and Paul Martin

Dubois, called The Quickening of America. In it they explore some of
these myths. I’ve listed four myths identified in the book below. They
are accompanied by the authors’ “empowering insight” related to each
myth. It would interest me to hear stories you may have that validate
these insights.

Myth: Power is a Dirty Word

The Limiting Myth

Power is evil. It’s always corrupting. It’s always used
by a few power holders to block change benefiting
others. To be good people, we should avoid power.

The Empowering Insight

We cannot realize our values or goals without power.
Power is the capacity to act publicly and effectively, to
bring about positive change, to build hope.

Myth: There’s Only So Much Power to Go Around

The Limiting Myth

Since there’s only so much of it around, the more
power you have, the less there is for me.

The Empowering Insight

Relational power expands possibilities for many
people at once. The more you use it, the more there is.

Myth: Power is a One-Way Force

The Limiting Myth

Power is a one-way force over someone. It means that
you’re in control and can get others to do what you

The Empowering Insight

Power always exists in relationships, going both ways.
In relationships, the actions of each affect the other, so
no one is ever completely powerless.
Myth: Power is About Today’s Victories

The Limiting Myth

Power is measured by the victories you achieve now.

The Empowering Insight

Power is more than today’s visible results. You can
reach your short-term goals and still have lost power.
Wielding power relationally builds future power.

(Lappé, Frances and Paul DuBois. 1994. The Quickening of America: Building Our
Nation, Remaking Our Lives, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.)

There is a common theme in the authors’ analysis of these myths. It is

that power is an unlimited and renewable asset. Power is also
something that should result from relationship building rather than
being an impediment to relationship building. This is an important
thing to remember whenever people in partnerships think to
themselves, “You need us more than we need you.” The fact is that if
we share a goal of creating stronger communities by maximizing our
combined assets, there is little value in trying to figure out who is
more “needy” within a partnership.

In physics, power is the amount of work done per unit of time. The
more energy you put in the equation, the greater the power. In
mathematics, ‘power’ is associated with exponentiation, a process of
repeated multiplication. Power in community is not that different. In
community partnerships, productivity and growth result from building
relationships. It is like Lappé and DuBois say, “The more you use it,
the more there is.”

Thanks for pointing us to the Quickening of America book, John. I
found it at the library and I really like it. It's got practical lessons
drawn from community stories and interviews with "regular people"
who have been thrust into extraordinary leadership. Yet it is
thoughtful about how these people experienced the dynamics of
Here's an example of the positive power dynamics you are talking
about. I found a friend in the book, a pastor from Fort Worth, Texas
named Terry Boggs who got involved in a church-based organizing
network called Allied Communities of Tarrant. He relates how the
community was threatened when Texas Wesleyan College announced
it was moving to a more upscale part of town.

A key point in the process was a meeting in the president's office.

ACT members prepared for this meeting for 2 1/2 hours, with role
playing and strategies for every scenario. When they got to the office
they found the chairs set up in two rows facing the table where the
president was to sit. So they reorganized the chairs into a circle.

The president's assistant was alarmed at the change. ACT leaders

were polite but firm. The meeting worked, and eventually, the Texas
Wesleyan did re-commit itself to the community.

Clearly, the chairs in a circle represent the positive idea of power.

They say that "we are all in this together." But to get to that message,
the community leaders had to take action. They had to show that they
had power, to get the college leaders to see that they could grow
together in the common interest.

Comment on Book
In teaching a service-learning course structured around the use of
dialogue and a group advocacy project (besides the requisite 25 hours
service), I just began using "The Quickening of America." Each
week, I find the students excited about the readings and discussion,
which is a pleasure. The outline of the chapters fits very well with my
course intentions also.

Last week we read the chapter on power and it was very clear to the
students that while the old metaphorical structures about power were
not going away, they could choose a different metaphor. It was an
"empowering" experience--and will open naturally to their working
together in teams on a community advocacy project. The book is a
wonderful text for dialogue.
I think what you said about making a choice is really important. We
can choose to look at power as a zero-sum game, or we can choose to
look at it as an open-sum game. Sometimes it's really hard to choose
the open-sum approach, but it's still a choice.

Comment on Neighborhood Work

How does one integrate local universities into the surrounding

Our goals here are:

1. Get more staff that work in the area to live in the area.
2. Create mixed-use neighborhoods surrounding these institutions that
provide services, shopping, entertainment and more to the institutions.
3. Move research and other ventures from the institutions onto the
local streets to provide a tax base, jobs, investment, and

Right now not much of this is occurring in Midtown Omaha.

I like your ideas of walk-to-work, lively neighborhood, and research
commercialization. I know of no fast road to any of that.
Neighborhood change takes years, as does commercialization.

The Asset Based Community Development approach says build on

what you do have, and enjoy even smaller successes as part of a larger
dynamic. Sometimes it's easier to get people involved in short-term
projects -- a festival, a service initiative, a visual change -- that can
lead to changes in attitudes and motivations. For what it's worth, I
really enjoyed downtown Omaha when I was last there!
Power Sharing

At the core of the power dynamics of partnerships is the concept of
power sharing. If we are simply coordinating schedules or
cooperating with someone else’s work, power plays don’t necessarily
rear their ugly heads. If, however, we are engaged in real
collaboration with its shared risk and shared accountability, then real
or perceived power imbalances are more likely to emerge.

Power sharing is critical to the success of community work. Without

mutual feelings of empowerment, engagement, respect, support and
validation there is no collaboration. The tricky reality is that
partnerships are entered into between institutions with traditional
hierarchical structures. Equality and consensus are not the modus
operandi of institutions.

The folks at InTime (http://www.intime.uni.edu) have provided a

rather useful, six-point “Checklist of Observable Behaviors” on their
Web site that works as sort of a report card for institutions who want
to be sharing power in their partnerships. It would be great if people
could provide examples of overcoming issues related to some of these
areas as they’ve figured out how to help collaborating partners
become better at what they do. If you know of other useful tools out
there please share them here.

___ 1. Communicating: an active, open exchange of ideas; requests

for justification

___ 2. Understanding: logical conservation; knowing each other's


___ 3. Being reliable: demonstrating ability; sending clear, simple

messages and showing how your intentions are mutually beneficial

___ 4. Being rational: balance between defending ideas and

challenging ideas; using emotional responses to help examine beliefs
___ 5. Being non-coercive: being willing to consider the possibility of
a change in your way of thinking; persuasion based on logic and

___ 6. Accepting: showing mutual respect and learning from one

another; listening to each other and participating in an open and
balanced conversation about stated beliefs

(Pappas, M.L., & Tepe, A.E. (1997). Pathways to knowledge: Follett's

Information Skills Model (3rd ed.). McHenry, IL: Follett Software.
Available: ( http://www.pathwaysmodel.com/the-model/text/search.cfm)

Comment on Communicating
"Communicating: an active, open exchange of ideas"

Let's say you have a group of 8-15 folks meeting to discuss campus
and community working together to solve a problem.....lots of times
in this setting you have one person hogging the time with one issue,
or a presenter who uses up the whole hour, or 3-4 people who do all
the talking....

Some suggestions to alleviate the above are:

1. Have everyone state/write what their 1-2 expectations are for the
meeting prior to the meeting. Then, re-visit these at the end and see
what has been met or not met.

2. If you have no set agenda, at the beginning of the meeting ask

people for agenda items.

3. If several people are hogging the discussion, every 15 or 20

minutes do a round table where you ask each person individually how
they stand on the current issue being discussed.

4. Put a short time limit - 10-15 minutes - on a presenter.

I like the idea of setting up processes early on in planning meetings
that might keep a partnership from falling into an "expert" model (in
terms of the higher ed. participation) and that recognize the
community's intellectual assets.

Comment on Oppression as Context

I believe all discussions regarding power and relationship building
should also include a contextual analysis re: classism, racism, sexism,
ageism, ableism, white privilege etc.

Right, and I think these interlaced contexts often shape
university/community dynamics. Often, though not always, the
campus folks are on the privileged end of the scale, and the
community folks are on the other end. On top of that, universities and
colleges are seen as highly resourced institutions compared to the
surrounding communities.

So there's power dynamics before you even say hello!

I couldn't agree more. It seems as though social justice-related
"teachable moments" could be incorporated into every partnership. I
believe a great example of balancing robust, discipline-specific
student outcomes with institutional examination of privilege is the
University of Massachusetts Lowell's Engineering department's
remarkable, Village Empowerment: Peru Project

The project, in which engineering students bring solar power to

remote Peruvian villages with no electricity, could have been a classic
charity model. If you look at their Web site, however, you can see that
the project is rooted in real discussions about privilege and values
across cultures. The folks in the Andes villages are not powerless in
this partnership because the campus takes time to examine the
oppression issues along with the engineering challenges.


We convened some focus groups across Minnesota a couple of years
ago. We asked people representing community-based organizations
what some of the barriers were to forming partnerships with higher
ed. institutions. A number of folks said that in general, they felt that
colleges and universities seem to form fewer personal relationships in
the community than people representing other community institutions
(for example K-12) - they also told us that campuses don’t initiate
enough of the partnerships that do exist that it shouldn’t always be up
to the community to initiate. Does anybody think that colleges and
universities are more arrogant than other community institutions?

Universities? Arrogant? In relation to communities?

Well, there sure have been some universities whose heavy-handed,

short-sided, and inconsiderate institutional decisions have hurt
communities. There is some reason to think this is especially true of
colleges and universities: the academic freedoms that universities
enjoy may also make campus leaders feel insulated from community
realities. "We're thinking about bigger things," is the sense that
communities sometimes receive.
Ironically, this insular thinking has also hurt universities' ability to
recognize and address the big picture. For example, universities have
been hurt by economic disinvestment in their surrounding
communities. Academic inquiry has suffered without the relevance
and engagement that comes from being connected to community

That's why, I think, optimistically, that we are seeing a new

movement in academia toward greater engagement in community life.
In many ways, I think universities and colleges today are becoming
more engaged than other large institutions. And the leading colleges
and universities are pushing other colleges and universities to move
forward as well.

So maybe, John, the answer to whether universities are especially

arrogant is, not for long!

Assessment and
Evaluation of Civic
Facilitators: Christine Maidl
Pribbenow and
Dean Pribbenow

This week’s online forum begins by asking the most important
question ever:

What difference do we make?

It is not rhetorical. And it is answer-able.

The answer to this ever-evasive question is what we need to know

when we launch a new program, write a final report to a funding
agency, or respond to a constituent or Board member.

When we analyze this question more closely, we see its two integral

What DIFFERENCE do WE make?

There is definitely a causal link inherent in the question and an

assumption that WE make a DIFFERENCE. That is, by doing
whatever it is we are doing, a difference is being made.

• So what are we doing?

• How is it different?
• To whom is it different?
• Is this difference better or worse?
All of these questions suggest a need for assessment and evaluation.
Assessment, or collecting data about something, comes first.
Evaluation, or putting value on these data, comes second. This is my
simplistic way of understanding the two, but let’s not get caught up in
the definitions…if you want to know if and how some program is
working, let’s talk about it. Now’s your chance to describe situations
or cases, bring up questions, and discuss evaluation-related issues
with others in our virtual community.

In turn, we hope to facilitate the discussion by moving it down

different “threads” of conversation, providing practical resources and
strategies, and by sharing our experiences.

So, let’s start the discussion by asking ourselves the critical question
to ask when we need to evaluate something: What do I want to know?

Evaluation 101
According to the National Service-learning Clearinghouse’s
handbook entitled, Educators’ Guide to Service-Learning Program

“Program evaluation is a process of gathering information about a

program to measure and understand the program’s results. Think of it
as an experiment, the kind students learn about in high school science
• You develop hypotheses that some set of actions (the
program) will result in some set of outcomes. These
hypothesized outcomes are usually stated as program goals or

For example: A program in which students work with senior citizens

at a senior center to develop an oral history of their community (the
program) will strengthen students’ planning skills, interview skills,
writing skills, and presentation skills, and help students develop
empathy for seniors; understand the effects of aging, learn historical
perspective and gain respect for older citizens (the goals).

• You then run the “experiment” (implement the program) and

gather data to test your hypotheses.

• You then analyze the data, draw conclusions regarding the

impact of the program, and generate insights into why the
program performed as it did.

The purpose of program evaluation is not to conduct the experiment,

but to support decisions regarding how to proceed. While it is not
formally part of the evaluation process, the final step in any
evaluation is to use the findings to make decisions regarding program
retention and/or program improvement” (p. 2).

There are many resources and toolkits “out there” that we will share
during this week. For example, the following article is a very practical
overview about program evaluation. To read it, go to

Gajda, R., & Jewiss, J. (2004). Thinking about how to evaluate your
program? These strategies will get you started. Practical Assessment,
Research & Evaluation, 9(8).

To help us all understand what these look like in practice, think about
a program or initiative that you’re implementing.
• Identify one outcome.
• What activity or activities are you doing to accomplish that
• What indicators will tell you that you’ve accomplished that

What about the difference between measuring ‘quantity’ and

‘quality’? Certainly, measuring for quality is the most challenging.
When you think about measuring the quality of your program, what
would you ideally like to know about it?
Perhaps some of you would be willing to share your stories of
successful and "not-so-successful" assessment/evaluation experiences.

For me, one of my more peculiar experiences (not at my current

institution) involved working with students from a business class to
design and implement an assessment of service-learning knowledge
and attitudes on campus. Imagine my "surprise" when preliminary
findings from the work of these five students showed that students on
campus didn't think service-learning was a good thing at all. As it
turned out, these particular students (and the other students they
talked to, who happened to also be in the class) didn't care for their
instructor, who, among other things, was requiring them to do this
"service-learning stuff."

Needless to say, the data were certainly skewed!!

Of course, when I discovered this, we made some adjustments and

ended up getting some useful information. But it was another good
reminder that all of this work has a context of which we need to be


Participant #1
At my university, we have embarked on a university-wide assessment
initiative in which all departments (curricular and co-curricular) are
asked to identify learning outcomes they wish to see in students by
the time they graduate. This has been an amazing process - complex,
confusing, but mostly motivating.

I am not sure if you are involved in any civic engagement/service-
learning initiatives at your institution, but if so, have you identified
any learning outcomes from those experiences or classes? Would you
be willing to share them with the group? Have others identified
student outcomes in their programs? How do these relate to your
Participant #2
You mentioned that the university-wide assessment initiative at your
university has been mostly motivating. In what ways has it motivated
you? What do you find yourself, or others, thinking about or doing
that was not thought about or done previous to the initiative?

Participant #1
The process has motivated us to be more intentional about our
practice. For example, as I design community service projects, our
new outcomes guide the planning of service and reflection activities.
We are in the initial stages, so I'm sure that the ways the process
affects us will continue to be revealed.

Participant #2
I'm not currently teaching courses but in an attempt to answer your
question of identifying any learning outcomes from experiences or
classes, I can use as a possible example the following from an
architecture design course which does incorporate service learning.
"In this course you will also continue to develop the sets of skills
necessary for competent design practice. These skills include working
in teams, working with clients, effective time management and
communicating your design ideas verbally, graphically and in
writing." Can this be used as an example of learning outcomes?

Absolutely-- those would be considered outcomes for students in that
particular class. To be honest, I've always struggled with how to
assess student learning, especially when they are learning "process"
things, such as working in teams, thinking critically, etc. It's so hard
to see and quantify. What have you done to measure your outcomes?

Participant #2
I know that this particular faculty member has used journaling as a
way to evaluate learning through reflection. However, this method
requires a great deal of commitment from the instructor to read and
respond to the journal writings. This faculty member has also
attempted to use video documentation and blogging as a way for
students to reflect and document on the learning process.
Participant #3
We are just beginning an evaluation of our program. We have five
citizen and faculty boards that connect community needs with
university resources. The boards make decisions on research projects
to fund (modest amount of funding) to bring researchers attention to
their issues.

Our evaluation seems overwhelming and complex-- citizens,

university researchers, university administrators, grantees, impact,
legislators, community leaders, etc... We are getting the resources
together and looked at our grand experiment. Our program is just 7
years old. Luckily, one of my staff has published and researched
sustainable development evaluation.

Even though my doctorate was based an organizational evaluation

thesis, it is still a daunting challenge to feel that this can be a "neat
little package." I'll just acknowledge the messiness and move ahead.

Surveys, Focus Groups and Interviews

One of the principles I learned in my methods courses was that "the
methods follow the question." That is, we should first decide what we
want to know—ask the question—then choose the best method to
answer it. Unfortunately, it goes back to identifying outcomes so that
we know WHAT we're trying to measure.

Surveys, focus groups, and interviews are all useful ways to identify if
learning is occurring or what impact your initiative may be having on
those involved. Done well, they are useful ways to assess and evaluate
if you are achieving your intended outcomes.

What questions and ideas do you have regarding these data gathering
approaches? What examples can you share from your experiences?

On Wednesday, we will be posting a list of websites that offer useful

strategies for developing and utilizing surveys and interviews. In
addition, we will provide examples of surveys and interview protocols
that we've used, including:

• Sample on-line surveys that we've utilized with service-

learning workshop participants; with community-based
partners; and with faculty;
• Examples of potential interview questions and general
guidelines. My own research has included looking at the
impact of service-learning pedagogy on faculty. I'll share some
of my interview questions, and also any of my findings for
those who may be interested.
• Focus group resources.

As I mentioned previously, some of my own research has focused on

understanding the impact of service learning pedagogy on faculty.
For my dissertation research done a number of years ago, I conducted
semi-structured interviews with 40 faculty using some of the
questions below to guide the interviews:
• How did you first come to implement service-learning in your
o What was your first experience like?
o Why have you continued using service-learning?
• How would you define service-learning?
• How were you supported in your efforts to implement service-
• In what ways has implementing service-learning affected you?
What have you learned? How?
o What have you learned about "your" community?
o To what extent does SL pedagogy align with your
teaching style?
o Has your experience with SL affected how you teach?
How you approach teaching? How you think about
o Describe your most memorable teaching experience
while using SL.
o To what extent was this a successful teaching and
learning experience?
• What are you doing differently? What/How have you changed
and why?
• In what other ways has your experience with SL affected your
work experiences?
• To what extent is your experience or how you're affected
shaped by the institutional culture?
• What are your plans for future involvement with SL?

Based on what I learned, I conducted follow-up interviews with some

of the faculty, where I asked questions like the following:
• Some of the faculty I interviewed discussed how their learning
goals were different in their SL courses from those in their
non-SL courses. Are yours different and, if so, how? To what
extent did the fact that you had to re-think your goals for the
SL courses cause you to re-think goals in your non-SL
• Did you feel you were able to accurately assess student
learning in your SL course(s)? Was it more or less
challenging? Explain.
• Do you think your teaching has changed as a result of having a
community-based dimension to your course? Explain.
• Overall, how would you describe the influence of SL on your
teaching or how you think about your teaching?
• In what ways has your own involvement in or knowledge of
the community been affected by your use of SL?

Lots of questions, I know...but what I learned was fascinating!

Here at Edgewood, we also conduct "exit interviews" with students

who have completed Human Issues Independent Studies. Below I've
listed some sample questions that we draw from for those interviews.

Exit Interview Questions

• Please begin by providing an overview of your HI

Study/Project and how you came to select this issue.
• Overall, what impact has your study/project had on you? On
others? How do you know?
• How have you changed as a result of your Human Issues
experience? (or, How will you be a different [teacher, business
person, nurse, etc.] as a result of this experience?)
• A critical incident is something that catches your attention,
startles you, something that conflicts with our
assumptions/beliefs. It could be something you read, see, hear,
experience, etc. What is one example of a “critical incident”
that you had during this experience and how did it affect you?
• I see you gathered insights from the disciplines of [fill in the
o In general, what themes emerged from this reading?
o How did the literature inform your project?
o Did you agree/disagree with certain aspects of the
• How did you draw upon your values for this project? In what
ways, if any, did you come to new/different understandings of
these values?
• Describe your significant action. In general, what did you
learn from your action?
• If you were to do this project over again, what would you do
• What do you see as the value of having Human Issues at
• Imagine you have graduated and are working in your chosen
field. You are approached by your boss (or the
CEO/Superintendent/etc.), and she/he asks for your
consultation on [students’ topic]. What recommendations will
you make to he/her for implementing change in this area?
• How can you continue to study-reflect-act on your human
o What are next steps for you?
Rubrics Cubes
Dean was correct when he said that my answer for every assessment
problem is, “use a rubric.” I have found rubrics to be incredibly
useful when trying to capture the most obscure things—like process
skills that students have learned, or products that they have created. If
you are unfamiliar with this term, I’ve included a few articles that talk
you through what they are and how you create them (found in "Tools
and Resources"). I have found that the chapter about rubrics in the
following book is one of the best (actually the whole book is
wonderful for anyone interested in assessment—even if you don’t
work in a post-secondary institution):

Using Rubrics to Provide Feedback to Students: in Huba, M.,

& Freed, J.E. (2000). Learner-centered assessment on college
campuses: Shifting the focus from teaching to learning.
Boston: Allyn-Bacon.

Rubrics force you to make subjective things, objective. As you

develop them, they force you to think about what you want students to
learn or how you want students to perform. When done well, they
clarify expectations and allow people to strive for their best because
they know how they will be evaluated. They are very powerful tools
for both teaching and assessment.

(For examples of rubrics see the “Resources” section of this


Are We Making Any Difference?

I think this is the most basic question that we ask ourselves when
thinking about our service-learning and civic engagement programs.
Of course, when I think about my program, I answer with a
resounding “You bet!” “But how do you know,” comes that little
voice in reply.

More often than not, my sense of impact has come from anecdotes
that other faculty have shared; from students who have stopped by my
office to share successes; and occasionally from a community partner
who takes that time to pass along appreciation.

But I’m really interested in student learning outcomes. How is this

affecting students—their learning, their confidence, their attitudes,
their sense of self-efficacy.

I’ve tried different approaches:

• End-of-course surveys, completed in addition to the standard
course evaluation;
• Exit interviews for students completing their “Human Issues
Studies” independent studies;
• Final synthesis papers.

Participant #4
I want to ask a few questions about anecdotal evidence of civic
engagement in service learning settings. I've used some of the more
formal assessment instruments in my service learning projects and
classes, but I'd like to hear more about systematic observational
evaluations (if such protocols exist).

I know in early childhood learning settings, outcomes are often

measured based on teacher observations, as in--today student X spent
a lot of time working to reach the overhead bar on the playground
using a set of stacking wooden boxes. She asked a classmate to help
steady the boxes so she could reach the bar. When she finally was
able to grab the bar, she shouted out "WE did it." Evidence of
teamwork noted.

So, here is observed evidence of learning about teamwork. No pre- or

post-tests, no reflections, no post experience interviews. With my
university students, I am often able to observe evidence of learning
about working in diverse cultural settings (for example). I witness
evidence of application of concepts covered in readings or lectures
that may or may not be captured in their journaling or in debrief
sessions. Has anyone had experience systematically recording
observations in a way meaningful to those critics who brush it off as
"anecdotal" and therefore without merit?

Thanks for your questions--and what great questions they are!
Christine and I talked quite a bit about this. Christine felt (as she
always does...;-) ) that rubrics would be the best answer (see the
chapter on rubrics in the Jann & Freed book on "Learning-Centered
Assessment---it's listed in the Tools & Resources thread; also she
posted an example of a rubric on 2/13 under the thread "Evaluation
101"). We looked through some of the resources we have in front of
us now and couldn't find anything that directly addressed your

I checked my resources and found one section of a workbook that

might be useful for you. It's from the workbook:
Assessing Service-Learning and Civic Engagement: Principles and
Techniques (Gelmon, Holland, Driscoll, Spring, & Kerrigan; 2001;
Campus Compact). pp. 66-73.

These particular pages focus on assessing the impact of faculty by

observing behaviors and dynamics within the classroom, but I think
something similar could be developed for students.

Participant #5
I'm interested in knowing whether tools exist that focus on evaluating
civic engagement outcomes over the course of an entire
undergraduate experience (as opposed to an individual course). Does
anyone know of any research on this area, or of particularly good
approaches that have been used in the past?

Others may have good ideas on this, but the approach that came to
mind for Christine and me was "Portfolios." It seems that trying to
capture "evidence" of learning and growth over an extended period of
time would necessitate an approach like this.
We gathered some resources/links on portfolios (see below), which
may be useful for you. Also, I know that IUPUI has been doing some
amazing work in the area of e-portfolios.

Finally, one program of interest that may be dealing with this is the
University of South Dakota's IdEA program (Interdisciplinary
Education and Action) at http://www.usd.edu/idea/. I'm not sure they
have the "civic learning" component, but they do set forth an
education plan that spans the Soph-Senior years, and they are utilizing
an e-portfolio system to capture students' work. Here are some other

Portland State U—Civic engagement/portfolio examples


Electronic portfolio for education (includes rubrics)


Bridgewater College

Portfolio project builder:


Class portfolio guidelines:


Syracuse's efforts:

Kennesaw State University:


Risk Management
Facilitator: Jeannie Kim-Han


While at her internship, a student has an epileptic seizure and
collapses in the office. The HR director of the company calls the
university’s Center for Internships & Service-Learning in hopes of
getting emergency contact information. The Center does not collect
emergency contact information. The staff check the primary
university database of student records, there is no emergency contact
information. The university does not require that students file
emergency contact information.

The above scenario is real. It occurred in summer of 2004 just eight
months after the Centers of Internships & Cooperative Education and
Community Service-Learning merged to become the Center for
Internships & Service-Learning (CISL). The above scenario was the
pivotal event which led to the changes of “managing” risk on our

Questions for Discussion:

1. If this happened at one of your partner sites (internship or
service-learning site), who would they call?
2. If your staff received such a call, how would they
3. What would be the reaction of your university risk

California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) Response

Why was the above scenario a pivotal event?
1. Although CSUF had just recently begun implementing the
recommendations of Best Practices for Managing Risk in
Service Learning Manual
(http://www.calstate.edu/csl/documents/Final_draft.pdf), it
was only after this event occurred that it became obvious
we needed additional information in case of such

2. The event also showed us that regardless of what type of

placement the student was at, they all needed to be treated
the same by the university if the following were true: the
activity/placement was part of a credit-bearing course.

What happened?
After almost 8 months of additional (the conversations around risk
began in 1995) conversations with the campus risk manager who also
happens to be a lawyer, it was decided that the university would:
1. Create a Learning Agreement which would be signed by
the partner organization and the university and
2. Have students sign a Consent Form before participation
in any off-campus credit-bearing activities.

What would be nice to do if there was enough staff and funding:

1. Site visits and assessments of risk of all partner
2. Orientations for ALL students prior to their going out into
the community;

So why aren't we doing these and other things that might help to
reduce risk? It's a cost benefit analysis that we had to undertake and
also had to be a bit more calculating as to whether or not it would
truly decrease or better manage risk or just open the university and its
staff to more liability. Why do you think that might be?

Participant #1
Although I have contact information for my VISTAs while they are
on a spring break trip with some of our students, it is unnerving to
think about any loopholes in the system. If someone calls our
president's office with an emergency, for example, would they know
to call me to get the information? Or if they call the dean of students
office, would they know? What if the secretaries are on break? Risk
management is often about communication management.

I couldn't agree more! So how would your President's office respond?

At CSUF, we've taken some steps to letting the various entities on

campus know that we are here. The primary is really our Risk
Management office. It's pretty safe to assume that the President's
office would contact them first although we are pretty fortunate in that
our President and his staff does know about our office. (The call from
my Scenario actually started in the President's office and was
transferred straight to me by the President's staff.) If this hadn't been
the case, the Risk Management office would most likely have been
the next office to be contacted. The staff in that office along with
their chain of command know that our office exists which helps to
make sure that information is passed on appropriately if anything
were to happen. Additionally, we have a good relationship with our
Dean of Students office and I have a slight advantage in that I worked
there for 4 years so know many of the staff, including the Dean.
Lastly, we've also taken our show on the road to the Deans &
Directors meetings, Chairs meetings and to some College and
Department meetings. By canvassing the campus with information,
I'm hopeful that if any emergency calls do come into the campus,
someone will know where to send the call.

I am going to focus this conversation on the forms that CSUF uses
and why. I will try to be as thorough as possible in describing how
we came to these decisions. I will be spending most of the discussion
on the Learning Agreement and Consent Form.

CSU Fullerton utilizes the following forms for risk management:

1) Learning Agreement - This document is the agreement between
campus and community partner. It generically covers the activities
that students should be participating in given that these are academic,
credit-bearing courses through which these activities occur. We
request that partner organizations think about creating service-
learning and internship scopes of work that would be both meaningful
to the student and helpful to the organization.

Once signed, Learning Agreements are in effect forever. Either party,

the partner organization or the university may cancel the agreement
with 30 days notice.

Why did we do this? Sheer volume. We currently have over 500

partner organizations and over 1500 types of academic internship and
service-learning placements. We asked ourselves, what would be the
point of having the agreements renew every year or every 5 years?
Would anything really change?

Instead of looking at renewing agreements, we at CSUF, again in

conversation with our risk manager, decided that we should review
and update all agreements every 3 – 5 years if that was necessary. We
are currently only in our second year of operating with the agreements
and thus far we haven’t had any deal breaking problems.

Issues in Implementation
1. The first issue we encountered was severe resistance from the
Deans of the 7 colleges at the university. They felt that because of the
worker’s compensation language (requires $1 million coverage (each
occurrence) for General Liability Insurance and $2 million minimum
coverage for General Aggregate; Workers’ Compensation Insurance),
non-profits, small businesses and self-insured government entities
would not want to sign the agreements. The Deans were also
concerned with how companies would perceive this language – not
being very partner oriented and debated as to whether or not this
would damage CSUF student chances of getting high quality
internships. Service-learning they were less concerned with since it
did not have the same scope of impact as academic internships.

2. We went back to the risk manager and worked with him to

create the second statement in the General Provisions section of the
Agreement. This section states that if the entity does not have the
necessary liability coverage AND the students (service-learning or
internship) are not being paid by the organization, then the university
would cover the liability.

This second statement did not become a permanent fixture in the

agreement until Contracts & Procurements requested that it be a part
of the boiler plate language due to staffing issues. It did not have the
staff necessary to shepherd an agreement back and forth from the
organization to the university and felt that if this second statement
was already present, there would be less difficulty in getting
agreements signed by the organizations. This was/is true, but it is still
difficult to get all agreements signed in a timely fashion.

2) Student Consent Form – This form generically outlines the

risks involved with participating in a service-learning or internship
activity. The student is asked to sign off on this form via an
internet/database system that we’ve designed to maintain this
information. The internet/database system was created because of the
fact that all consent forms must be kept for a minimum of 3 years.
Given that the university has 2000 students in academic internships
and over 1000 students in service-learning activities per year, keeping
all of that paperwork would become a job in itself. Thus our system
is housed online with students “signing” their paperwork via a
secured password system. The same database collects all student site
placement and course information which is how the consent form is
“completed” so that the student only needs to complete emergency
contact information in completing the form.

Because we know that students are not apt to read the entire
document, we are currently considering a quiz students will need to
take before they are able to sign off on the consent form to
demonstrate knowledge and understanding of what they are being
asked to sign.

We also debated on what this consent form should contain. CSU

guidelines state that the document should be specific in what the risks
of said activities might be. The issue though is that if we were to list
some risks and neglected to list other risks because we didn’t know,
situations changed, etc., we would be more open to liability then if we
had left it generic. Our stance is that we need to inform the students
to learn more about what the potential risks are and for them to
identify and be clear about those risks before they begin at that
placement site. Given the fact that we would never have the staff
power or expertise necessary to know what the risks are at an
organization, we decided that this was our best option.

Participant #2
I agree that we cannot anticipate every possible situation at a site.
However, I learned through a conversation with a colleague that if the
school shows it has made an effort in terms of notifying students
about risks, then that is some protection for the school. Is that true?

That can be one view of the situation. Our Risk Manager put on his
lawyer cap in answering this question when we posed it to him amidst
our discussions. His opinion was that if the university with its limited
resources did an inadequate job of finding out what the risks were and
thus didn't inform the student adequately, the university could be
liable in more ways than one.

First, because the attempt was made, the student could perceive
that what the university representative told him was all there was to
know about the risks involved and thus not look further and become
more well-informed. For example, if a student was tutoring in a
neighborhood where several rapes had taken place, what
responsibility does the university have in informing the student?

Even if the rapes were not happening at the time when the university
representative informed the student of the risks, could the university
be held liable if the student were raped? Possibly. Who could get
named in the suit? The university representative could be one; she
"knew" that the neighborhood was "risky" because she had informed
the student of some risks.

Second, what level of information would the university or university

representative have on every site? If the level of information varied,
that could also be perceived as inadequacy of due diligence. We
could just be opening ourselves up further in terms of what the
university could or should have done.

Lastly, who is giving us the information on what is considered

"risk"? The agency which fills out a form? Through an interview -
thus subject to interpretation? How far should the area of risk
extend? Is it localized to the site facilities or to all surrounding areas,
such as the neighborhood in which the site is located?

For all of these unanswered questions, we decided not to be specific

about the risks for particular sites. Rather, we felt that it was more
important that the student be informed that there are risks and that
they should become aware of what those risks are. I know this sounds
like we are putting the onus on the student, and I guess in a way we
are. But given today's lawsuit happy society, I think each person
should be responsible and understand the risks involved with each

Other considerations: I don't want to put one of my staff members in

the position of being named in a lawsuit because they were the one to
present the risks on a particular agency. I also can't expect that my
staff or I would be knowledgeable about all 500+ organizations in our
database and the risks involved with the agencies and their 1500+
internship & service-learning activities. Lastly, I can't vouch for the
risks even if they are outlined by the agency and put on file.

Is this an adequate defense? We don't know, thankfully, it hasn't been

tested yet. But given the fact of sheer numbers and thus increased
chances, we know that something could happen at any point. I do
know that other CSU sister campuses have taken the approach of
listing some of the risks. So even within our system, each campus is
taking a different approach.

Bottom line: We don't know which approach is better, but if it turns

out that we need to inform students of as many of the risks as
possible, I would need at least 5 more placement coordinator positions
and another 5 risk assessment specialists to visit each of the sites that
our 3000+ students may be at annually. Even then I don't know that
we would be able to cover all of them before the students were at the
sites. In my opinion, this type of model could kill any experientially-
based program.

Database Processes

Approval Process: Currently, faculty must approve academic

internship registrations for students in certain departments. When
students complete their online registration form and hit ‘submit,’ the
faculty internship coordinator receives notification via email
requesting approval. The faculty member has the choice of setting the
system so that he/she is notified to review a list of students or if
he/she wants email notification on each student. Once the faculty
member approves via an online form, then our office is notified via
email and the students are permitted into their respective courses.

The approval process is only for academic internships and does not
apply to service-learning courses.

Placement Information: Students must complete the online

Placement Form once they have identified a site at which they will do
their service-learning or internship hours. The online
Placement Form is tied to our database so that only "approved"
(Learning Agreements are in process or have been signed) sites and
their corresponding positions are listed in a drop down menu.
Students are NOT ALLOWED to type in a site. If their chosen site
does not appear on the menu, they are told to contact our office so that
we can guide them through the process of getting their site approved.

Placement information is available to faculty members by class and

accessible to them via their faculty portal.

Student Consent Forms: Students can only access the Student

Consent Form once they have completed the online registration and
placement forms. The registration and placement forms populate
specific fields in the Student Consent Form to reduce redundancy.
The only new information students are asked to complete is the
Emergency Contact Information. Once that is completed, the students
are able to "sign" the form by reverifying their ID & password. Once
the verification is complete, the form reappears on screen as "signed"
and the student may now print a copy or save to his/her files.

Faculty are able to create a report of what Consent Forms have or

have not been signed by the students via their faculty portal.

This electronic verification system is new and has never been tested in
a court of law. Until that time, we will not know whether or not this
is a valid enough method for having "signed" Student Consent Forms.
We currently CANNOT have online "signatures" with the Learning
Agreements between organizations and the university. All such
contracts and agreements must still be executed with a "wet" signature
by both parties.

Online Time Sheets: In an effort to capture what students are doing

and when, we have created an online time sheet so that students can
log in their hours as the semester progresses. The online time sheet
has a verification feature where the hours that are submitted are
emailed to the placement site supervisor who will receive email
notification that there are hours waiting to be approved. He/she will
then log into our website and access the community portal and
approve or not approve the student hours.

Faculty will be able to use this feature to track and see whether or not
students are completing all hours toward the end or if they are
dispersing their hours throughout the semester. Faculty will also be
able to generate a report on hours via their portal.

International Students: At CSUF, international students have to be

approved by an entity on campus to participate in off-campus work
like activities e.g. internships because the students are in the activities
for more than 60 hours per semester. Sixty hours is what we
determined to be the cut off point for whether or not students needed
to be registered and approved via SEVIS (Student and Exchange
Visitor Information System). On our campus service-learning does
not fall into this category because it is restricted to 40 hours or less.
To accommodate the SEVIS approval system, our online process
flags international students and funnels them through our
International Education & Exchange office which handles all SEVIS
related work. All of this is also completed via an online approval

Paperless: Our process was designed to get rid of as much

paperwork as possible. Moving to a paperless system has not been
easy. We are not completely there yet, either. Due to a number of
database glitches, it has been difficult to maintain the buy in from the
faculty so that the online system can be successful. We are hopeful
that with the additional faculty features that will be completed by the
end of the month, we will be able to get the faculty buy-in and they
will use the system as a tool to reduce the logistical work they have to
do so that they can get to the business of teaching.

Database System: Our web and database interface is asp.net. Our

database uses SQL coding. We interface with three databases on
campus. SIS+ (houses all student information, including grades and
courses taken), CMS (faculty & staff information for now although all
university systems will be moving to CMS by 2008) and Symplicity
(Career Planning & Placement Center database - purchased software

SIS+ provides us with student information including their address,

phone numbers, grades and courses they are taking for the semester.
This way we are able to populate certain fields and reduce the
likelihood of error. If address or phone corrections need to be made,
students are able to make changes to those fields. Courses they have
registered for, GPA and student ID numbers are unchangeable.

CMS provides us the portal connections and interfaces to be able to

send emails to faculty members and link them with various parts of
our database.

Symplicity provides us with a single process through which external

entities may interface with the university. We did not feel that it was
efficient for organizations to have to complete several sets of
"applications" to become a part of various databases so that they
could access our students. Thus, we have partnered with the Career
Center to try and create a seamless process for our community
partners. We are able to create an excel report which is downloaded
into our database so that our systems work with the various forms.
The beauty of Symplicity is that partners can retrieve archived
position descriptions, modify and re-post positions whenever they
choose. They can also post all positions full-time, part-time,
internship, service-learning, and/or community service through one
system. Symplicity will shortly have an online evaluation component
which we hope will further simplify the process of keeping track of
more qualitative information on sites and students.

Maintaining Information: The database system is designed to

maintain information indefinitely. Thus with the Consent Forms
online and with our search capability, we do not have to continue
what we have been doing for the past three years: collecting all
papers, scanning the papers so that we have easy access, putting all
papers in file boxes which are then stored on a pallet in physical
plant. We simply couldn't handle the volume of several thousand
sheets of consent forms filed in our office.

Final Thoughts
I thought I would leave you with these questions as you think about
managing risk for experience-based activities. Some of these are
from CSU's Best Practices for Managing Risk in Service Learning
manual (there is a link in the Resources section of the forum) and
others are just some of the questions that we've asked ourselves here
at CSUF as we developed our policies. I hope you find them helpful.

1. What activities will take place?

2. Who could be harmed? student, community organization,
3. What property could be damaged and how severely?
4. What is the maximum likely loss for each activity?
5. Are crowds or bystanders/passersby likely to be involved?
6. Will inherently dangerous activities be involved?
7. How likely is it that the University will be a defendant in the
event of a loss?
8. Is there a "Volunteer Policy" which covers volunteers to the
university? If yes, what is the coverage and who does it
cover? e.g. What is the definition of "volunteer" in that
9. Is there a state policy e.g. "Good Humanitarian" policy which
covers volunteers and good works? If yes, what does that
cover in relation to liability and lawsuits?
10. How might the university be found "negligent" in its
responsibilities to inform or protect the student, community
partner, the partner's clients? Definition of negligence: An
action or inaction of a reasonable person. So would a
reasonable person respond or act in the same way?
11. What types of placements will be allowed or not allowed
under various circumstances?

Scenarios we've encountered:

a. Service-Learning Student meeting an adult (service recipient)
for tutoring sessions. CSUF response: it doesn’t matter how old the
student is or how old the service recipient is. Something could be
done to or happen to the student as well as the service recipient.
Thus, no, they cannot meet alone, even if it is a public venue such as a

b. Academic Internship student working in a home-based web-

design company. CSUF response: Varies. Questions we ask to
determine if it is ok or not: How many others are at the home-based
company? Is there a separate office aside from living quarters where
the work is being done? Is this a legitimate home-based company?
Are they registered with the County and have the appropriate licenses
to operate? Can the company show proof of these documents?

c. Driving while on an academic internship or service-learning

assignment. CSUF response: Varies. Does the host site provide the
car, insurance coverage and liability for the student? If yes, then
additional paperwork is completed and the appropriate files noted and
student is allowed to drive. If not, the student CANNOT drive and if
they do, they are NOT covered by the university per the agreement in
the Student Consent Form.

12. If you use a hold harmless agreement, will it really protect

you and your organization in a court of law? Does it meet the
"responsible person" measurement? e.g. Students come into our
office every once in awhile with a hold harmless document that a
particular company wants them to sign which has language that
will cover the company in ALL cases, even natural disaster and
basically acts of God.

Last thought, our risk manager as well as others tell me that risk
management is a balance. That by beginning to manage the risk, we
are potentially opening ourselves up to more risk by being more
knowledgeable and therefore more responsible for those things that
might happen. Each person, office and university has to decide what
you are comfortable with and what the balance will be to protect our
students, partners, the university as well as ourselves.

Additional Resources

Selected Bibliography

Belenky, M. F., et al. (1986). Women's ways of knowing: The

development of self, mind and voice. New York: Basic Books.

Dewey, J. (1938; 1963). Experience and education

MacMillan Publishing Company.

Kolb, D. (1984).  

learning and
development. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Lewin, K. (1952). "Group decisions and social change." In G.E.

Swanson, et al. Eds. Readings in Social Psychology
Rinehart & Winston.

Kraft, Richard and Sakofs, Mitchell.  

Education, Second Edition. Association for Experiential Education.
(Boulder, no date). AEE, Box 249-CU, Boulder, CO 80309.

Morton, Keith. ‘‘Reflection in the Classroom,’’   

Integrating Service with Academic Study on College Campuses
Tamar Kupiec, ed. Campus Compact (Providence: 1993) 89-100.

Palmer, Parker. ‘‘Community, Conflict and Ways of Knowing,’’
Combining Service and Learning, a Resource Book for Community
and Public Service    for Experiential
Education (Raleigh: 1990) 105-113.

Reed, J. & Koliba, C. Facilitating Reflection: A Manual for Leaders

and Educators http://www.uvm.edu/~dewey/reflection_manual/

Power Dynamics in Campus-Community


Bringle, Robert G; Hatcher, Julie A. (2002). Campus-Community

Partnerships: The Terms of Engagement. Journal of Social Issues, 58
(3); 503-516.

Butler, N. and Tau Lee, P. “Trust Takes Time”


Estrada, Torri. “Focus On Collaboration”


Harkavey, I. & Puckett, J. (1991). Toward effective university-public

school partnerships: An analysis of a contemporary model. Teachers
College Record, 92, 556-581.

Holland, Barbara. (1997). Analyzing Institutional Commitment to

Service: A Model of Key Organizational Factors. Michigan Journal of
Community Service Learning, 4: 30-41.

LaMore, Rex. (2000). A Framework for University Outreach with

Communities. Community News, 12(2), 6-7.

Maurrasse, David J. (2001). Beyond the Campus: How College and

Universities Form Partnerships with their Communities. New York,
NY: Routledge.
Reardon, Kenneth M. (2000). An Experiential Approach Community-
University Partnership: The East St. Louis Action Policy
Development and Research, 5 (1), 59-74.

Stewart, T. "New Ways to Exercise Power," Fortune, Nov. 6, 1989.

Wondolleck, Julia and Clare Ryan. “What Hat Do I Wear Now? An

examination of Agency Roles in Collaborative Processes.”
Negotiation Journal 15, no.-- (1999): 117-33.

Useful Web Sites

Campus Compact

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health Principles of Good

Community-Campus Partnerships

“The Feminist Principle of Power Sharing”

from the Disabled Women's Network of Ontario

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse



Brukardt, Mary Jane; Percy, Stephen L. and Zimpher, Nancy L.

(2002). A Time for Boldness. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

Jacoby, Barbara ed. Building Partnerships for Service-Learning.

Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Kretzman, J. P. & McKnight, J. L. (1993). Building communities

from the inside out: A path toward finding and mobilizing a
community’s assets. Chicago: ACTA Publications.
Lappe, Frances Moore and Paul DuBois. (1994). The quickening of
America. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Mattessich, Paul and Barbara Monsey. Collaboration: What Makes It

Work—A review of Research Literature on Factors Influencing
Successful Collaboration. St. Paul: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation,

Rubin, Hank. Collaborative Leadership: Developing Effective

Partnerships in Communities and Schools. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Corwin Press, 2002.

Snow, Donald. “Coming Home-- An Introduction to Collaborative

Conservation.” Across the Great Divide. Ed. Phil Brick, Donald
Snow, and Sarah Van de Wetering. Washington D.C.: Island Press,

Winer, Michael and Karen Ray. Collaboration Handbook. St. Paul:

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 1996.

Assessment and Evaluation of Civic Engagement

For service-learning/civic engagement programs:

Assessment and Evaluation Resources (National Service-learning


Educator’s Guide to Service-Learning Program Evaluation


Learn and Serve America, Performance Measurement Toolkit


National Service-learning Clearing House: Evaluation & Assessment,

Links and Tools

Issue Topic: Evaluating Out-of-School Time Program Quality

Youth Civic Engagement: Emerging Theory and Practice, Margaret

Post, The Evaluation Exchange, Volume X, No. 1, Spring 2004

General program evaluation guides and tools:

Program Development and Evaluation (UW-Extension)


The 2002 User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation (National

Science Foundation)

Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation (online journal)


Trevisan, Michael S. & Yi Min Huang (2003). Evaluability

assessment: a primer. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation,

Resources for Methods in Evaluation and Social Research


Planning and Evaluation Resource Center (PERC)


Online Evaluation Resource Library


Program Assessment Toolkit:


Assessment related to service-learning/civic engagement:

Shumer’s Self-assessment for Service-learning


Service-learning Outcomes, Reflection and Assessment


National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC)


National Campus Compact


American Psychological Association – Civic engagement and service-



Astin, A. W., & Sax, L. J. (1998). How undergraduates are affected

by service participation. Journal of College Student Development, 39
(3), 251-263.

Astin, A. W., Sax, L. J., & Avalos, J. (1999). Long-term effects of

volunteerism during the undergraduate years. The Review of Higher
Education, 22 (2), 187-202.

Driscoll, A., et al. (1998). Assessing the impact of service learning: A

workbook of strategies and methods. Center for Academic
Excellence, Portland State University.

Eyler, J., & Giles, D. (1999). Where's the learning in service learning?
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Eyler, J.S., Giles, D.E., Stenson, C.M., & Gray, C.J. (2001). At a
glance: What we know about the effects of service-learning on
college students, faculty, institutions and communities, 1993-2000:
Third Edition.

Sax, L. J., & Astin, A. W. (1997). The benefits of service: Evidence

from undergraduates. Educational Record, 78, 25-32.

General assessment resources:

Huba, M., & Freed, J.E. (2000). Learner-centered assessment on

college campuses: Shifting the focus from teaching to learning.
Boston: Allyn-Bacon.

Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG)

How to use:

Classroom Assessment Techniques

Angelo, T.A., & Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom assessment

techniques: A handbook for college teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(Scholarship of Teaching and Learning)

Bass, R. (1999). The scholarship of teaching: What's the problem?

Inventio, 1(1).

Shulman, L.S. (2002). Making differences: A table of learning.

Change, 34(6), 36-44.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by design. Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Survey Resources:

Service-learning Research and Development Center (UC-Berkeley)


Campus-Community Partnerships for Health, Tools & Resources


Association for Institutional Research—Development of student

service-learning course survey

Writing Guides: Conducting Survey Research


Attitude surveys (from FLAG site)


Fanning, E. (2005). Formatting a paper-based survey questionnaire.

Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, Vol.10(12).

Frary, Robert B. (1996). Hints for designing effective questionnaires.

Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 5(3).

Online survey program: Zoomerang


Interview Resources:

ERIC/AE Staff (1997). Designing structured interviews for

educational research. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation,
About Interviews (from FLAG site)

Gelmom, S.B., Holland, B.A., Driscoll, A., Spring, A., & Kerrigan, S.
(2001). Assessing Service-Learning and Civic Engagement:
Principles and Techniques.

Focus Group Resources:

Example focus group protocol:

Basics of Conducting Focus Groups

About Focus Groups (from FLAG site)


About Rubrics:

Mertler, Craig A. (2001). Designing scoring rubrics for your

classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(25).

Moskal, Barbara M. (2000). Scoring rubrics: what, when and how?.

Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(3).

Rubrics (from FLAG site)


Using Rubrics to Provide Feedback to Students: in Huba, M., &

Freed, J.E. (2000). Learner-centered assessment on college campuses:
Shifting the focus from teaching to learning. Boston: Allyn-Bacon.

Rubric Examples:

Service-learning Rubric

Service-learning Project Reflections and Evaluation


Maryland Public Schools: Best Practices in Service-learning Rubric


Rubric for Assessing the Quality of School Service-learning


Using Rubrics to Assess Learning through Service in Maine

Using Rubrics to Assess Journal Entries

Service-learning Rubric for Teachers #1


Service-learning Rubric for Teachers #1


Risk Management
Articles by Michael B. Goldstein of Dow, Lohnes & Albertson, pllc

1) "The Volunteer and the Law", Comuniversity, No. 2, December,

1991. Association of Colleges and Universities of the State of New
York "The Volunteer and the Law", Comuniversity, No. 2, December,
1991. Association of Colleges and Universities of the State of New
2) "Legal Issues in Combining Service and Learning", J. Kendall, ed.,
Combining Service and Learning: A Resource Book for Community
and Public Service, Vol. II. Raleigh: National Society for Internships
and Experiential Education, 1990

3) With Wolk, Peter C., "Legal Rights and Obligations of Students,

Employers and Institutions", K. Ryder, J. Wilson, eds., Cooperative
Education in a New Era, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987

4) "Law and Ethics in Cooperative Education", The Journal of

Cooperative Education, Vol XX, No. 2. December 1984

5) "Who Pays? Your Liability for Volunteer Injuries", Case Currents,

Vol. VIII, No. 1. January 1982

6) "Legal Angle: Liability for Volunteers' Injuries", Synergist, Vol. 7,

No. 3. Winter 1979

7) "Legal Responsibilities of Intern Administrators", Issues in Work

Learning, Berea: Berea College, 1975

Other Authors & Articles:

Joyce, Sharon A. and Elaine Ikeda. Serving Safely: A Risk

Management Resource Guide for College Service Programs.
California Campus Compact. 2002.

McMeanamin, Robert W. Volunteers and the Law: A Guidebook.

TOMAC Publishing, Inc. 1996.

Mihalynuk,Tanis V. and Sarena D. Seifer. "Risk Management and

Liability in Higher Education Service-Learning." Community
Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH), February 2003

Hold Harmless Agreements: A Principles for Professional Conduct

White Paper.
NACE. 2004 http://www.naceweb.org/committee/whitepapers/hold_harml

Seidman, Anna and Charles Tremper. "Legal Issues for Service

Learning Programs." Nonprofit Risk Management Center and the
Corporation for National Service. 1994.

Web Sites - General Information:

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse Hot Topic: Risk


Nonprofit Risk Management Center


University of Illinois Extension - This site has an extensive list of

community service and risk management resources.

National Communication Association - Managing Risk


IHE Web sites

Boise State University - Service-Learning & Risk Management


California State University - Risk Managment


Maricopa Community College - Risk Managment


St. Edwards University - Uses a check system for when to use certain

Facilitator Bios

JoAnn Campbell is Associate Director at Minnesota Campus

Compact. JoAnn designs and coordinates the professional
development events for faculty, staff, and students. She conducts
fundamentals of service-learning workshops as well as trainings in
designing civically engaged courses, leading reflection, and building
campus-community partnerships.

JoAnn received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, her
MA from Penn State, and her BA from Valparaiso University, all in
English. She was on the faculty at Indiana University, co-founded the
office of service-learning, and served as chair of the executive
committee of Indiana Campus Compact. JoAnn serves on the
volunteer advisory board of Habitat for Humanity Twin Cities and is a
volunteer spiritual director with City House, a nonprofit that serves
those on the margins of society.

John Hamerlinck is a Senior Program Director at Minnesota Campus

Compact. He has practiced community development in the public,
private and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining Minnesota Campus
Compact John was a Program Officer with Southern Minnesota
Initiative Foundation. As a Senior Planner for the Minnesota Office of
Technology, John directed the Minnesota Internet Center project.

John’s broad experience in the community development field includes

community organizing and planning and facilitation in the areas of
technology, facilities development and fundraising. He has a B.A. in
American Studies and an M.S. in Social Responsibility from St.
Cloud State University.

Jeannie Kim-Han is Director of the Center for Internships &

Service-Learning at Cal State Fullerton, and brings a successful
record of working to build an infrastructure that supports both the
curriculum development and community partnerships necessary to
infuse experiential learning into the academic experience of students
through both service-learning pedagogy and internships. Ms. Kim-
Han has over 21 years experience in building and developing
programs and recruiting and managing volunteers as well as training
faculty members in service-learning pedagogy, particularly in relation
to connecting with and meeting community identified needs.

Given this work and as a result of her experience as Executive

Director of California Campus Compact (1992-1995), Ms. Kim-Han
has dealt directly with the issue of risk management over the last 16
years. She has had opportunity to examine the issue of risk
management from the perspective of student, community partner,
administrator and enforcer. Jeannie graduated from the University of
California, Los Angeles with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and is
currently pursuing an M.A. in Anthropology at CSU, Fullerton.

Keith Morton is Associate Professor of American Studies in English

at Providence College. Keith has worked in the areas of community
development, community service and community theory for the past
fifteen years. Prior to joining Providence College in 1994, he worked
as program and then executive director of the University of Minnesota
YMCA, which runs intensive service learning programs for 500
participants each year; and as director of Campus Compact's national
Project on Integrating Service with Academic Study. He serves on the
boards of several local and national organizations dedicated to
improving the quality of life for people in their communities, and is
particularly interested in youth development. He also works regularly
as a workshop leader and trainer for education and community-based
organizations. His teaching and scholarship focus on the historic and
present meanings of community and service in people's lives.

Keith has a B.A. in English and History from the University of

Massachusetts at Amherst. His M.A. and Ph.D. are in American
Studies from the University of Minnesota.

Christine Maidl Pribbenow has served as an Evaluation Director for

close to ten governmental (e.g., National Science Foundation,
Department of Education, Learn and Serve America) and private- or
foundation-sponsored grants (e.g., Howard Hughes Medical Institute).
She brings fifteen years of social science research experience to her
work as an evaluator and has most recently focused on assessing
teaching and learning initiatives, perceptions of climate in
postsecondary institutions, and overall program evaluation for multi-
year grants. Dr. Pribbenow received her Ph.D. from the Department
of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (former Educational
Administration) at UW-Madison in May 2000.

Dean Pribbenow is currently an Assistant Professor at Edgewood

College, where he teaches in and directs the Human Issues Studies
Program (HISP), an interdisciplinary, experiential program designed
to advance the liberal arts as fundamental to the world of citizenship,
work, and public life. His past experience includes serving as the
founding director of the Institute for Service Learning at UW-
Milwaukee and as a member of the planning team that formed the
Wisconsin Campus Compact. In addition, Pribbenow was formerly
Assistant Director of the UW-Madison Office of Quality
Improvement, where he organized and facilitated strategic planning,
assessment, and evaluation initiatives. He has taught courses on
engaged citizenship, educational planning and leadership, and
research methods. Pribbenow holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership
and Policy Analysis from UW-Madison, an M.S. in Counselor
Education from UW-Whitewater, and a B.A. in English from Luther

Luther Snow is the author of the books The Power of Asset Mapping
and The Organization of Hope: a Workbook for Rural Asset-Based
Community Development. Luther specializes in asset mapping and
"open-sum" methods and approaches, serving as a member of the
faculty network of the Asset Based Community Development
Institute. He has been a community developer and organizer for over
30 years, starting with grassroots organizations in inner city Chicago.
He now consults in the United States and Canada with a wide variety
of groups, including rural and small town communities, and
congregations, denominations, and faith-based coalitions.

He has worked with a number of university/community initiatives and

organizations, including Campus Compact chapters. He served as
Community Development Fellow at DePaul University’s Egan Urban
Center, one of the nation’s pioneering Community Outreach
Partnership Centers. Luther has a BA with honors from Harvard
College and an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate
School of Business. He lives in Decorah, Iowa.

The Campus in Community Civic Dialogues were made possible through a grant from Learn and Serve
America, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.