"Incorporating service-learning in my course is much easier than I imagined. The office assists in finding appropriate projects, supporting students, and ensuring effective partnerships to support student learning - it makes the opportunity accessible for faculty and valuable for student learning.”
-Eric "Luke" Krieg, Professor of Sociology
SUNY is providing guidance for community-based applied learning experiences during the COVID-19 crisis, including community-engaged learning and service-learning. As a result, the Civic and Community Engagement Office strongly recommends REMOTE projects and experiences be developed for fall 2020 courses that incorporate community-engaged learning, service-learning, civic engagement, or other experiences that normally take students into the community. There are many opportunities for remote projects and experiences that can be mutually beneficial while considering the health and safety of our students and vulnerable community members, including resource development, remote delivery, and research-based activities. We encourage you to transition these experiences to remote activities rather than cancel your community partnerships.
If you do choose to continue placing students in the community, the following must be adhered to only for in-person, on-site experiences (not for remote experiences). Faculty members must ensure that the following conditions are met before students begin on-site experiences in the community:
Community-engaged learning or service-learning experiences must be with a nonprofit organization or school that has been a partner to Buffalo State community-engaged learning or service-learning in previous semesters.
Partner organizations where students will be on-site must be contacted by faculty members before students’ arrival to discuss how they are following Department of Health protocols. This information must be documented and on file with the CCE prior to students being on-site.
A “Plan B” option must be identified and outlined in the syllabus for any student unable or unwilling to participate in the on-site experience. The CCE must have a copy of the syllabus prior to students being on-site in the community, with “Plan B” clearly articulated.
Prior to students being on-site, faculty members will provide and collect from each student an acknowledgment form, indicating that the student recognizes the risks involved, has an understanding of the limitations of First Amendment rights regarding mask-wearing in the community, and knows the protocol for notifying the community partner and faculty member of illnesses that arise.
The community partner organization must return the community partner learning agreement to the CCE prior to students’ being on-site.
The CCE is here to assist with these transitions. Please contact us for remote partnership ideas and resources, as well as information about the requirements for on-site community-based experiences.
Do you need community partners for a fall course? Fostering good relationships takes time. In order to effectively identify community partners for the fall semester, the CCE must be aware of your service-learning course and need for community partners by August 15, 2020. We cannot guarantee that community partners can be identified after this date. Our goal is to help you establish meaningful community experiences for your students, and positive outcomes for the community. Contact us today to discuss your partner needs.
Service-learning at SUNY Buffalo State is driven by faculty who choose to incorporate a community-based learning project into a course that provides students with hands-on opportunities to learn course content while engaging with local communities. The Civic and Community Engagement Office provides a strong support system for faculty using service-learning including
• assisting in identifying relevant community-based projects;
• developing partnerships with community partner agencies;
• assisting with course conversion and service-learning course designation;
• coordinating student schedules and assisting students with logistical arrangements;
• providing orientation sessions to introduce students to service-learning, answer questions about community partner agencies, scheduling, logistics, and safety, in efforts to ensure the success of the partnerships;
• networking with SUNY Buffalo State service-learning faculty members and faculty members at other regional institutions through the Western New York Service-Learning Coalition;
• conducting faculty training and other professional development opportunities including a faculty fellowship program and a conference on service-learning in partnership with the Western New York Service-Learning Coalition;
• offering student and community partner assessment opportunities to help determine the effectiveness of the service-learning component of your course;
• recognizing faculty and students who have demonstrated excellence in service-learning at the annual Celebration of Community Engagement.
The Civic and Community Engagement Office staff is delighted to meet with you throughout the semester to discuss anything related to incorporating service-learning into your course work. Please feel free to contact Laura Hill Rao, Director, or Joy Guarino, Professor of Dance and Faculty Coordinator for Service-Learning, at 878-3919 to begin the conversation.
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