Reflection & Reinforcement: Community Engagement & Student Experience


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Dr. Suchitra Gururaj, Yvonne Loya, Amory Baril

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  • What? (the facts)So What? (analysis in terms of student’s values and goals of the partner)Now What? (ongoing impact, implications, and connections to theory and course learning)Continuous. Reflection is an ongoing part of the course and enables continuity through years of learning through service. Reflection occurs before, during, and after service. Connected. Reflection provides a link between the intellectual and theoretical aspects of academic learning with practical service, resulting in a “synthesis of action and thought.” Challenging. Reflection pushes students to think in a more critical way about issues, to question their original perceptions of issues, and to develop new frameworks for problem-solving. Contextualized. Reflection is appropriate for the setting and the context of the service-learning course and to the topics and experience that comprise the content of the course.
  • Reflection & Reinforcement: Community Engagement & Student Experience

    1. 1. Reflection and Reinforcement: Community Engagement and the Student Experience Session Agenda • Overview of the Volunteer & Service Learning Center • Review the Basis of Effective Reflection • Self-Reflection Activity • VSLC Student Leaders Panel • Q&A
    2. 2. OverviewThe Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC): • Is the connection to service through The University of Texas at Austin, • Coordinates volunteerism and service learning opportunities for students across campus, • And is the key liaison on campus for The Texas Campus Compact.
    3. 3. General Volunteer ServicesUT Volunteer Fair The UT Volunteer Fair provides an opportunity for student volunteers to gather information from a variety of non-profit agencies interested in working with the UT community.Online Volunteer Database Access the VSLC’s online database at to search for ongoing volunteer opportunities. Through this database you can search by interest area, non-profit group, or view the event calendar.Serve Here Spotlight A weekly listserv published every Monday, to a campus and community audience, announcing upcoming public service opportunities, service events, and scholarships and internships. Text UTVSLC to 22828 to sign-up.
    4. 4. Co-curricular Programs/EventsAcademic Service Learning Academic Service Learning classes integrates community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience and strengthen the community. Visit for a list of service learning courses.UT Service Scholars In partnership with the LBJ School of Public Affairs, this program engages UT students in intense service opportunities that prepare students to take their service interests to the next level.Texas FIRST This community service organization is designed to meet the needs of first year students. This organization holds community service, social, and refection events to increase student involvement with the Austin community.The UT Service Council This new initiative provides UT student organizations the opportunity to unify, collaborate, network, and develop public service opportunities on and off campus. It also provide a vehicle for students to collectively assess the needs of the university and the community, and react quickly for emergency events (Haiti Earthquake 2010, Bastrop Relief Effort, etc.).
    5. 5. The Academic Service-Learning ProgramAcademic service-learning is: • A form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address community needs; • A program of study that integrates service with goal learning outcomes; • A method of pedagogy in which service and learning are equally critical components.
    6. 6. Keys to Service-LearningReflection activities help students connect what they learn throughtheir service with the theoretical background that is set forth throughcourse materials.• What?• So What?• Now What?Reflection needs to be• Continuous• Connected• Challenging• Contextualized
    7. 7. Keys to Service-LearningReciprocity between the organization being served and those engaged inservice promotes a sense of mutual responsibility and a situation in whichstudents feel a sense of belonging in the community and community partnersfeel empowered to bring in the help they need to meet a priority.
    8. 8. Benefits of Academic Service-Learning CoursesStudents:• Engagement in academic service-learning may enhance students’interpersonal, cognitive, moral, and intellectual development, as well as a senseof civic responsibility• Students may also begin making deep connections between coursework andreal-world application in employment or community service.Instructors:• Faculty members have the opportunity to develop courses that facilitatestudent learning and encourage strong collaborative relationships betweenstudents and instructors.Community Partners:• Eager, enthusiastic student learners enable organizations to meet their goalsas well as represent the link between the partner and the intellectual resourcesat The University of Texas at Austin.
    9. 9. How You Can Help Build the Service-Learning Program• Let our students know about the idea of service-learning;• Learn what areas students are most interested in developing ;• Get a sense of what courses students are in that incorporate service.
    10. 10. Reflection Activity
    11. 11. UT Scholars Panel
    12. 12. Participate in VSLC Signature Volunteer Events and Opportunities Project 2012 – Be a part of UT’s largest day of service taking place on Saturday, February 25, 2012 in the Dove Spring Neighborhood. Project Reach Out – Bi-annual day of service event that is hosted in partnership with a variety of non-profit organizations throughout Austin. The Spring 2012 PRO Event will take place on March 24, 2012. Tower Awards - The Tower Awards are presented annually to honor excellence in volunteerism among the students, faculty, and staff at The University of Texas at Austin. Nominations can be submitted on our website. The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.
    13. 13. Contact us! Yvonne Loya Suchitra Amory
    14. 14. Questions?