Community-based organizations participating in service learning can benefit in a number of ways:
- Gain additional human resources needed to achieve organizational goals
- Inject new energy, enthusiasm, and perspectives into the organization's work
- Grow the organization's volunteer pool: service-learning students will share their experiences with friends and classmates
- Increase public awareness of key issues
- Reach out to youth — an important part of any organization's future support
- Educate students/youth about community issues; correct any misperceptions
- Help prepare today's students to be tomorrow's civic leaders
- Network with colleagues in other organizations and agencies
In order for an agency to be included in the listing, the following must occur:
- The agency representative must contact the Service Learning program at CNM for an initial interview.
- A CNM representative must conduct a site visit and meet with all the contact personnel the students would be reporting to.
- The agency may present proof of not-for-profit status (i.e., IRS 501(c)(3)).
- CNM must have on file a signed agency/CNM Letter of Agreement form, the Agency Description form, and a copy of the agency liability insurance.
An agency may be removed for the following reasons:
- At the agency's request
- Unresponsive to students calls and or CNM calls
- Student evaluations indicating a difficult learning environment (the evaluations are evaluated and facts are gathered prior to making a decision)
- Agency is deemed unsafe to students
- Failure to provide necessary documentation
The Service Learning Student
Gearing Service Toward Learning
Service learning students may work on any number of projects at your agency site. The projects must be related to the course outline that the student is taking the service learning through (see student syllabus). Students working on a project not related to their coursework may not receive credit for their leaning experience.
Any time given to the student for reflection upon what they are doing for you and how it relates to their coursework is beneficial. Students will learn more and understand their service further.
How to Interview Students
Students should be asked the questions on the provided list (presentation hand-out or printed out from the Service Learning Forms page). You may also use your own organizations volunteer interview form.
Students should be asked to present the following:
- The CNM Service Learning Enrollment Form and Student Timesheet
- A copy of their course syllabus (this will allow you an opportunity to plan their work at your site)
The Enrollment Form needs to be signed by the agency representative and student. The student then takes it to their instructor for their signature. The form is then routed to the Service Learning Office. A student is not enrolled in service learning until the forms have been processed.
The timesheet is the documentation that records the student's work at the agency site. It needs to be signed by the agency representative and is the responsibility of the student.
Agencies are free to accept students that meet their criteria for non-paid persons on their premises, just as with volunteers. Service Learning is different than volunteerism, but following your agency procedure for the interviewing and acceptance of volunteers would be a good practice for service learning students.
Agencies may require more hours than the 15. Students are required to fulfill the minimum of 15 but are informed if they are accepted at an agency that requires more hours that they are bound to that amount. Students are instructed in orientation that serving more hours can mean additional learning and work experience that may benefit them in the future.
Releasing a Student
A call must be made to the CNM Service Learning program to alert the director to the situation.
The procedure to release a Service Learning student should be the same you would follow to release a volunteer. Preferably, you will have met with the student to discuss the situation prior to release. If the situation is not remedied, then your agency procedure should be followed.
A letter documenting why the student was released and efforts on your behalf to prevent it should be sent to the Director of the Service Learning Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All documentation should be received by the CNM Service Learning within 48 hours of initial contact regarding release.