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Service-Politics and Civic Engagement: The Development and Evaluation of an Innovative Service-learning Course Marshall Welch, Ph.D. William Chatwin Noella Sudbury University of Utah Introductions and Overview Instructor & Students Who are you? – Why are you here? Background Rationale

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slide1

Service-Politics and Civic Engagement: The Development and Evaluation of an Innovative Service-learning Course

Marshall Welch, Ph.D.

William Chatwin

Noella Sudbury

University of Utah

introductions and overview
Introductions and Overview
  • Instructor & Students
  • Who are you? – Why are you here?
  • Background
  • Rationale
  • Course Description: “Ping-pong” Instructor & Student Perspectives
  • Course Outcomes & Evaluation/Research
slide3

Service Politics & Civic Engagement Class

  • Rationale & Impetus – Campus Compact Summit Panel of Ehrlich Award Winners
  • Tom Ehrlich presentation on civic engagement at Campus Compact Summit
  • Going beyond student volunteerism and service-learning to bring about change
  • I wanted to learn more about it along with students
background
Background
  • Previous conferences and professional literature call for developing civic education coupled with research and evaluation of the course impact.
  • Formative evaluation necessary to assess class format & activities.
  • Summative evaluation & outcome-based research is needed
call for research
Call for Research

Eyler (2000) asked:

  • How can we design measure of understanding and problem solving that allow students to demonstrate their competence rather than simply testify to it?
  • How can we embed authentic assessment measures into the service-learning experience?
  • How can projects be designed to increase students’ sense of engagement with community partners?
call for research continued
Call for Research (continued)
  • Kahne, Westheimer, and Rogers (2000) maintained that higher education has a critical role in promoting civic engagement. They also proposed that research on civic engagement should focus on “strategies for supporting the development of informed, thoughtful, and active citizens” (p.49). This moves us “away from questions of whether service-learning works and toward a richer conceptualizations of service, of learning, of citizenship, and of the relationship between them” (p.49).
background citizenry skills
Background – Citizenry Skills

Battistoni, R.M. (2002). Civic Engagement Across the Curriculum. Providence, RI: Campus Compact.

Political knowledge and critical thinking skills

Communication skills

Public problem solving

Civic judgment

Civic Imagination & creativity

Collective Action

Community/coalition building

Organizational analysis

theoretical models
Theoretical Models
  • Vygotsky (1978; 1986)– constructivist approach of allowing students to construct their learning experience – [challenge for students used to “transactional” education experiences].
  • Kahne, Westheimer and Rogers (2000) – developing 3 types of citizens: a) responsible, b) participatory, c) reformer
  • Colby, Ehrlich, Beaumont, and Stephens (2003) - active learning, learning as a social process, knowledge is shaped by contexts, reflective practice, and capacity to represent an idea in more than one modality
slide11

Key Definitions: Civic Engagement

  • Responsible community involvement and citizenship characterized by: personal reflection, inner development, thinking, reading, silent protest, dialogue & relationship-building, sharing knowledge, political participation, community service, cultural & spiritual forms of expression, and/or expression through the arts (Pew Foundation)
slide12

Key Definitions: Service-Politics

Bridging community service and conventional politics for systemic change (Student Wingspread Statement)

slide13

Course Overview

  • Honors 3354 (3 cr. hrs)
  • Met weekly – 15 weeks
  • 03/04: 8 students enrolled (course title confusion) in a day course
  • 04/05: 11 students enrolled in an eve. course
  • Reflection journals using ABCs – topic collectively generated
course overview cont
Course Overview (cont.)
  • Class product =
    • 03/04: Create a student handbook for service-politics & civic engagement
    • 04/05: Create a student handbook of service-politics tactics
  • Service-learning component 03/04:
    • 5 Agencies: 1 On Campus + 4 off campus
  • Service-learning component 04/05:
    • 10 Agencies: 2 On campus + 8 off campus (2 projects at 1 agency)
slide15

Course Overview (cont.)

Text:

The New Citizenship: Unconventional Politics, Activism, & Service by, Craig A. Rimmerman

Selected readings

04/05: Instructor created an informal “handbook”

slide16

Class Pre-flection

  • 03/04 - Brainstormed list of skills & concepts necessary for civic engagement
  • 03/04 - Created class covenant of guiding principles and values
  • 03/04 - Expectations, role clarification
  • 04/05 – Reflected on our personal motivations for being civically engaged
  • 04/05 – Respond to the statement: “The way we live our life is inherently a political and spiritual act.”
class pre flection will s student perspective 03 04
Class Pre-flection: Will’s Student Perspective 03/04
  • Personal Expectations
  • Course Covenant
  • Typology of Service
class pre flection noella s student perspective 04 05
Class Pre-flection: Noella’s Student Perspective 04/05
  • Setting the tone
  • Revisiting initial impressions
  • Creating a comfortable atmosphere
slide19

Service-learning Projects: 03/04

  • Student Union waste audit
  • Alternative weekend on homelessness
  • Established campus group addressing homelessness (2 students)
  • Payday loan research & pamphlets in Spanish
  • Archeological site stewardship training manual
  • Health care client interviews for advocacy group
  • Marriage-bill research for advocacy group
will s waste audit
Will’s Waste Audit
  • Collected & analyzed waste from Student Union
  • Formal report & recommendations to Union Administration
  • Display in “free speech” area
  • Project continued
service learning projects 04 05
Service-learning Projects: 04/05
  • Legislators’ report card (more detail in a moment)
  • Pay-day loan research
  • Established campus group addressing homelessness
  • Anti-child porn website
  • On-campus dialogue on religious diversity
  • Youth leadership training manual & brochure
  • Created infrastructure for Faith-based Choral Fest
  • Sponsored on-campus tour for disadvantaged children
  • On-campus Animal-rights awareness campaign
  • On-campus student health insurance awareness campaign
  • Community environmental education events/brochure
noella s legislators report card
Noella’s Legislators’ Report Card
  • Response to article written during March 2004 in the Salt Lake Tribune
  • Independent research and tracking of the 2004 Legislative Session
  • Partnership with many local interest groups
  • Partnership with Salt Lake Tribune
  • Formal report discussing outcomes
  • Model for a possible project next year
slide23

Topics 03/04

  • Student Wingspread Statement on Service Politics
  • Typology of service
  • Change agents as role models & theoretical foundation
  • “The Man Who Planted Trees”
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Civic indifference
  • Legislative change
  • Advocacy
  • Creating student-led courses + structure of the university
  • Change process & stress
topics 04 05
Topics 04/05
  • Student Wingspread Statement on Service Politics
  • Typology of service
  • Change agents as role models & theoretical foundation
  • “The Man Who Planted Trees”
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Higher Education 101
topics noella s student perspective 04 05
Topics: Noella’s Student Perspective 04/05
  • Wingspread Statement
  • Moving from volunteerism to civic engagement
  • Using change agents and events throughout history as leadership models (scavenger hunt)
  • Learning the school system
  • Didn’t get through everything
topics will s student perspective 03 04
Topics: Will’s Student Perspective 03/04

Constriction between years

  • Response to Apathy (civic indifference)
  • Legislative Change/Advocacy
  • Student Taught Courses
  • Change Process & Stress
slide27

Skills 03/04

  • Goal statements & action plans
  • Public relations/press releases
  • Community-based research
  • Advocacy tactics
  • Internet as a tool (didn’t do as much as I wanted)
  • Oral Presentations
  • Group dynamics, organizing groups, & collaboration
skills will s student perspective 03 04
Skills: Will’s Student Perspective 03/04

Same and Different

  • Goal Statements/Action Plans/Group Dynamics
  • Internet Under-utilized Tool
  • Oratory
  • Community-Based Research
skills 04 05
Skills 04/05
  • Goal statements & action plans
  • Public relations/press releases
  • Internet & blogging
  • Advocacy tactics
  • Oral Presentation skills
  • Organizing groups/running meetings
  • Group dynamics, organizing groups, & collaboration
skills noella s student perspective 04 05
Skills: Noella’s Student Perspective 04/05
  • A skill for everyone
  • The importance of action plans
  • Group feedback
slide31

Guest Speakers 03/04

  • Directors of non-profit advocacy groups
  • State Senator
  • Local news reporter
  • Campus P.R. officer
  • Political campaign manager/Congressional Aide
  • [*only 1 guest speaker on P.R. in 04/05 due to election]
guest speakers will s student perspective
Guest Speakers: Will’s Student Perspective
  • Reporter Retracts Statement
  • Ashley, Will You Marry Me?
  • The Bill and Linda Show
slide33

Activities & Assignments: 03/04

  • “Killer articles”
  • Reflection (written vs. alternative forms)
  • Create “answer key” to post-test of concepts
  • Oral presentations
  • Press release
  • Action Plan
activities assignments will s student perspective 03 04
Activities & Assignments: Will’s Student Perspective 03/04
  • Killer Articles - missing link to internet and current events
  • Reflection Alternatives
  • I Didn't Trust Classmates Answers
activities assignments 04 05
Activities & Assignments: 04/05
  • Reflection (written vs. alternative forms)
  • Create “answer key” to post-test of concepts
  • Oral presentation on project
  • Press release
  • Action Plan
  • Tactic presentation
  • Tactic handbook
activities assignments noella s student perspective 04 05
Activities & Assignments: Noella’s Student Perspective 04/05
  • Combination of Oral, Written, and Group Activities
  • Learning from Reflection
  • House Party: writing the answer key
  • Presenting my project
  • Putting skills and tactics to use
slide37

Course Impact

  • Pre and post test on cognitive measures
  • Pre and post measure on citizenry
  • Course evaluation
  • Class product
  • Unexpected outcomes 03/04:
    • Change process & time
    • Stress + “Success” and “failure”
    • Democracy Dialogue & S.P.A.C.E.
  • Unexpected outcomes 04/05:
    • Noella’s independent major
slide38

Cognitive Pre & Post-tests: 03/04

  • 50 key terms & concepts
  • Dichotomous scoring 1/0
  • Pre mean = 3.87
  • Post mean = 45.87
  • t = - 44.2344
  • SD = 2.67
  • P < .000
cognitive pre post tests 04 05
Cognitive Pre & Post-tests: 04/05

t = -31.909

SD = 3.94

p = < .000

citizenry assessment
Citizenry Assessment
  • Modified Eyler & Giles (1999) [with permission]
  • Part I = Opinion (26 items)
  • Part II = Skills & activities (21 items)
  • Part III = Behaviors (25 items)
  • Part IV = Demographics (12 items)
  • Limitations = small n + lack of matched pre/post in 03/04 sample
part i sample items
Part I – Sample Items
  • I feel social problems should be of concern to me.
  • Government should help solve social problems.
  • It is important to me to personally influence the political structure.
  • I can play an important role in improving my community.
pre post scores part i citizenry opinions 04 05
Pre/Post Scores Part I: Citizenry Opinions04/05

*p < .000 significant difference between groups’ post mean scores

part ii sample items
Part II: Sample Items
  • Thinking critically.
  • Ability to take action.
  • Knowing where to find information.
  • Ability to lead a group.
  • Ability to speak in public.
  • Tolerance of people different from me.
  • Ability to work with others.
pre post scores part ii citizenry skills 04 05
Pre/Post Scores Part II: Citizenry Skills04/05

No significant difference between groups’ post mean scores [p < .102]

part iii sample items
Part III: Sample Items
  • I discuss political/social issues with friends.
  • I carefully consider facts before taking a stand.
  • I sign petitions.
  • I read the newspaper or watch TV/Web news everyday.
  • I vote in local elections.
pre post scores part iii citizenry behaviors 04 05
Pre/Post Scores Part III: Citizenry Behaviors04/05

*p < .007 significant difference between groups’ post mean scores

slide50

Course Evaluation 03/041= Strongly Disagree 6 = Strongly Agree

  • I developed leadership skills = 5.57
  • I have a better understanding of diverse group/diversity = 5.71
  • I developed my collaboration skills = 5.14
  • I provided a needed service to address a community need = 5.71
  • I learned to be a good citizen = 5.0
  • I better understand course content through service in this class = 5.86
slide51

Course Evaluation 03/041= Strongly Disagree 6 = Strongly Agree

  • I reflected on what I learned in class = 6.0*
  • I think recipients of service have something of value to offer to my learning = 5.57
  • I learned from class members as well as the instructor = 5.86
  • I believe it is my responsibility to help solve social problems = 5.71
  • Community partners played an active part in my learning = 5.57
slide52

Course Evaluation 03/041= Strongly Disagree 6 = Strongly Agree

  • I will use class information in the future = 5.86
  • I used knowledge from the field/discipline to guide my service experience = 5.14
  • I would recommend the community partner I worked with = 5.0
  • Overall, this was an effective course = 5.63
  • Overall, this was an effective instructor = 5.71
  • Overall, this was an effective course = 5.82 (04/05)
  • Overall, this was an effective instructor = 5.78 (04/05)
students responses to cognitive and citizenry measures
Students’ Responses to Cognitive and Citizenry Measures
  • Will’s Response:
    • Cognitive and Citizenry Measures Very, very difficult for me to assign personal values
    • Relative Understanding vs Improvement
  • Noella’s Response:
    • Pre/post exam showed an increased understanding and familiarity of concepts
class product 03 04 04 05
Class Product 03/04 & 04/05
  • Students created a handbook/manual for civic engagement and service-politics [03/04].
  • Students created a tactic handbook [04/05].
  • Application of assimilated knowledge in projects.
  • Service-learning projects all had outcomes, primarily at a high degree of satisfaction and impact.
students responses to class products
Students’ Responses to Class Products
  • Will’s Responses:
    • Manual Was Messy
    • Project Orientation Essential
  • Noella’s Responses:
    • Creating the manual and handbook
    • Learning from knowledge and experience in class and in the future
    • Personal project outcomes
unexpected contributed outcomes
Unexpected/Contributed Outcomes
  • Two students went on to create & implement Democracy Dialogue project Spring Semester.
  • Two students began the Service Politics & Civic Engagement (SPACE) program at the Bennion Center.
  • Student presentations.
  • Student contribution to chapters
  • Create independent major on Social Justice
slide57

What I Learned: The Good News & What Went Well

  • “Scavenger hunt” of change agents
  • Power of reflection
  • Empowering students with creating assessment rubrics
  • Obstacles to social change discussion
  • Innovative projects
  • Tactic handbook & presentations (04/05)
the good news what went well students perspective
The Good News & What Went Well: Students’ Perspective
  • Will’s Responses:
    • Democratic Classroom
      • Ownership
      • Collaborators
      • CTR vs CTL
  • Noella’s Responses:
    • Knowledge
    • Action
    • Inspiration
slide59

What I Learned & Will Do Differently:The “Bad” News

  • Oral Presentations (03/04) – objective/context not articulated [Much Better 04/05]
  • Better up-front work with agency partners (still a challenge)
  • Select/choice from menu of partners & projects
  • Student handbook  student tactic manual (better)
  • “killer articles” = major “dud” & hoop jumping
  • Agency evaluation “input” and signoff on projects (better 04/05)
  • “Volunteer” mentality and meltdown of 2 students (03/04)
  • Student perception of change process & “failure” (03/04)
the bad news students perspective
The “Bad” News: Students’ Perspective
  • Will’s Responses:
    • Timeline
    • Failure to Change
  • Noella’s Responses:
    • What were the other students doing?
    • Working with a hard agency partner
    • Balancing time
return to call for research
Return to Call for Research
  • Eyler (2000) called for:
    • Demonstration of problem solving
      • Action plans + service projects + develop class manual
    • Authentic assessment measures
      • Action plans + service projects + class manual
    • Increasing students’ sense of engagement with partners
      • Sense of engagement  self report on survey
      • With partners  yes & no
return to call for research cont
Return to Call for Research (cont)
  • Kahne et al (2000)
    • Develop richer conceptualization of service, learning, citizenship and the relationships between all of them
      • Projects + survey results + student perspectives seem to confirm this
    • Create participatory citizens & social reformers
      • For the most part – nurtured both types of citizens
theory re visited validated
Theory Re-visited & Validated
  • Colby, Ehrlich, Beaumont, and Stephens (2003) - active learning, learning as a social process, knowledge is shaped by contexts, reflective practice, and capacity to represent an idea in more than one modality
this year s class
This Year’s Class
  • Access syllabus, readings, & “handbook” at: www.bennioncenter.org/welch
  • Student tactic manual
  • Focus on change & stress early on
  • Oral presentation – “press conference” + “lobbying” + “report to donors” formats
  • STILL struggle with community partnerships
  • Working together to help with action plans (interpersonal)
tentative plan for next year
Tentative Plan for Next Year
  • Group projects (include conservative causes)
  • Create manual and/or website
  • Explore & utilize art as a “tactic” for change
  • Provide artistic alternatives for reflection
  • Work longer/harder in summer with potential community partners
  • More dialogue among students in class
  • More guest speakers
  • “field trips”???