Service-Learning Institute (SLI). The SLI was piloted in May 2016, and implemented in May 2017, 2018 & 2019. Faculty apply to participate and, when accepted, are matched with a community partner. To date, 42 faculty/instructors and 1 staff person have participated in a SLI and 36 service-learning projects have been implemented. Highlights of this program include multiple faculty working with the same community partner to implement service-learning projects across courses and the participation of staff from Student Life and Event Services to support consistency between curricular and co-curricular activities. In 2019 faculty from other local colleges and universities participated in UNI’s SLI to increase collaboration and promote best practices across institutions.
For more information about the Service-Learning Institute please visit the office of Community Engagement.
Service-Learning Course Designation. The process for designating a course as service-learning launched in fall 2019. Accordingly 11 courses will have the Service-Learning (SL) attribute during the 2020-2021 academic year. There is a SL course in all of UNI’s colleges. At UNI a course must meet seven criteria including building critical thinking and professional communication skills, having the project align with academic coursework and community strengths and needs, student preparation for the project and for active citizenship and social responsibility. The course must include purposeful and guided reflection and build cultural competence for engaging with diverse populations in diverse settings. The seven criteria is a comprehensive requirement aligning with university learning outcomes, best practices in service-learning, and addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Click here for more information about Service-Learning course designation.
Community Engagement Celebration Day. UNI’s first Community Engagement Celebration Day was held in April of 2018. The event is now an annual event and was also held in 2019. In 2018 approximately 120 faculty, staff, students and community partners showcased 70 projects. In 2019 approximately 105 faculty, staff, students and community partners showcased 56 projects. Each project is entered into one of seven categories: Service-Learning/Live Client Project, Student Organization/Student Group, Research-Based Project, Individual Student Project, Commitment to Service (faculty/staff only), Social Justice (theme-based category), Sustainability and Environmental Awareness (theme-based category). There is also a People’s Choice Award, for which all projects are judged. In addition to the presenters, approximately 40 leaders from the community are invited to judge the projects each year. Judges include city mayors, school superintendents, nonprofit leaders, and university administrators. The event is open to the public. One project from each category is recognized at an awards ceremony following the exhibition of the projects. The winner in each category receives a $200 sponsored by Veridian Credit Union.
For more information about Community Engagement celebration day click here.
What’s next? All three of these programs have elevated the value of service-learning and community engagement across campus. Most notably is a slow and steady shift to embedding experiential education into academic programs. Knowing the importance of service-learning and its impact on student learning outcomes and the benefits to community, faculty, staff and community members have reached out to the Office of Community Engagement for support in making meaningful, intentional and mutually beneficial partnerships between UNI faculty, staff and students, and the community. Both the Service-Learning Institute and Community Engagement Celebration Day are now annual events. And it is a goal to increase the number of service-learning courses each year.
Pilot a Community Engaged Department/Program Institute. More information can be found here.
Recognition at graduation