State University, Monterey Bay
Response to the CSU Academic Senate regarding AS
Governors Proposed Community Service Graduation
The following is CSU Monterey Bays response to the CSU Academic
Senate Resolution 2471-99 concerning Governor Gray Davis proposal
to create a "graduation requirement for community service"
for undergraduate students in California public institutions of
CSU Monterey Bay (CSUMB) is in a unique position to respond to
this resolution, as it is the only public higher education institution
in California to have already incorporated policies and programs
that meet the Governors call to service. Instead of community
service, CSUMB embraces the richer concept of service learning.
CSUMB has adopted a service learning graduation requirement
through which all CSUMB students engage in community service activities
as part of their academic coursework. Service learning is:
- meaningful community service, that is
- integrated with academic learning, and that
- promotes learning about compassion, diversity, justice and
social responsibility (See "CSUMBs Service Learning
Prism," Attachment I).
Service learning is embedded in both the lower division
general education curriculum, and in the academic requirements of
each undergraduate degree program (See "CSUMB Service Learning
Requirement," Attachment II). Through this service learning
requirement, all CSUMB students engage in community service that
is an integrated part of their academic learning programs. Each
academic year nearly 50% of CSUMB students enroll in a service learning
course, and contribute thousands of hours of community service to
over 250 different K-12 schools, community organizations and social
service agencies while simultaneously making progress toward degree
Before responding to the questions put forward by the CSU Faculty
Senate as part of AS 2471-99, we would like to 1) provide a brief
overview of the research findings from our service learning program;
and, 2) clarify that we support the Governors overall statement
that " a service ethic should be taught and reinforced;"
and that this be accomplished through the creation of a service
learning graduation requirement.
Overview of CSUMB Service Learning Research Findings
During its first five years of operation, CSUMBs service
learning program has grown to become a recognized national leader
in the service learning field. The program has hosted visitors from
universities across the country, seeking to learn how to create
and sustain a university-wide service learning program. On-going
research has shown that the service learning program has had a positive
impact on students academic learning and on their community
to civic engagement. Of the nearly 1000 student surveyed over the
past three years:
- 69% have a more positive attitude toward service;
- 91% feel more comfortable participating in the community;
- 91% feel that the service activities enhanced their academic
- 74% would enroll in other service learning courses beyond
the CSUMB requirement. (See "Summary of Service Learning
Research: Student Impact," Attachment III.)
Furthermore, three years of pre- and post- testing of students
enrolled in the lower division required course Introduction to
Service in Multicultural Communities, has also shown a significant
impact. Research has shown that after taking this introductory course,
students are more committed to civic participation, felt better
prepared for their careers, and felt more competent and effective
working in a community service setting (See Attachment II).
Finally, our community partners have stated unequivocally, that
service learning has had a positive impact on the quality of services
and care provided by their organizations. (See "Building Community,"
Support for a Service Learning Graduation Requirement
We support the Governor in his view that "a service ethic
should be taught and reinforced as a lasting value in California."
Yet, we do not support the idea of creating a community service
requirement to accomplish this goal. Requiring students to volunteer
in their spare time creates an additional burden on students. Furthermore,
this parallel set of activities does not have the benefit of the
educational supports that are necessary to harness learning from
community service experience. Isolated community service can be
a dis-service to both the student and the community. As educators,
we encourage the Governor to provide the financial support necessary
for all campuses to develop a service learning requirement.
Based on the four years of research at CSUMB, the Governors
goal of enhancing community participation and civic engagement can
be accomplished through a service learning requirement that integrates
community service experience into a Universitys core academic
program. We further underscore the importance of making learning
outcomes related to civic engagement and social responsibility an
explicit component of all undergraduate education programs.
NOTE: To facilitate
our response to Resolution AS 2471, the questions have been regrouped
into four categories which were developed by faculty at San Francisco
State University. These categories are: program overview, liability,
community issues, and institutional resources.
I: Program Overview
Is the proposal clear in its intent in terms of the breadth
of the application of the proposed requirement across programs and
the timeline for its implementation?
The Governors proposal is clear in its intent: to foster
an ethic of service among California higher education students.
However, the concept of a "community service graduation requirement"
is very vague and could be pursued through a variety of programmatic
initiatives. This needs clarification.
During the planning stage of our campus, a similar question was
being considered: how to help CSU Monterey Bay students develop
an ethic of service and commitment to multicultural civic engagement?
A Community Service Advisory Committee was formed, chaired by Dr.
Timothy Stanton, former Director of Stanford Universitys Haas
Center for Public Service. The committee recommended that CSUMB
NOT develop a community service graduation requirement, but
rather, create a service learning graduation requirement,
embedding service learning into the campus academic program.
CSUMB recommends that CSU system take a similar approach, emphasizing
Incentives vs. Mandate
Do you agree with the statement in the May Academic Senate CSU
resolution that a service ethic is fostered better by providing
incentives and opportunities than by mandating service?
CSUMBs service learning program has not been built by providing
"incentives and opportunities," but by mandating that
all students enroll in a service learning course to meet the graduation
requirement. Our research data shows that this requirement has been
extremely effective in fostering a "service ethic" among
CSUMB students. As service learning is a requirement, we can therefore
say that the results of our research pertain to the entire student
body, and not necessarily those students who have a pre-disposition
to community service involvement.
Other campuses have expressed the concern that fostering an ethic
of service and civic engagement may be thwarted by making service
mandatory. We would like to underscore that CSUMBs research
data show this not to have been the case. CSUMB students
overwhelmingly state that their commitment to service has increased
through their service learning experience. We feel strongly
that this experience is an essential part of a "21st
century higher education," and should be experienced by all
What would you foresee as benefits to students in the performance
of (service)? How and why could this enhance their learning?
There are numerous benefits to a service learning experience. Four
years of pre- and post- testing in our core course (Introduction
to Service in Multicultural Communities) has shown that students
achieve statistically significant increases in each of these four
areas: civic participation, career preparedness, academic relevance,
and community service self-efficacy (See Attachment II. In addition,
early results were published in the Journal of Experiential Education,
December 1998. See Attachment V).
In addition, student surveys show that students overwhelmingly
feel that the service activities enhanced their academic learning.
91% of nearly 1000 students enrolled in service learning courses
report this positive connection between service and learning.
For a more detailed discussion of the multiple benefits of service
learning, see Giles and Eyler, Wheres the Learning in
Service Learning, Jossey-Bass, 1999.
To what extent should community service be (or not be) credit
At CSUMB, credit is not given for the accomplishment of an activity
of service. Rather, credit is given for the learning that results
from service experience, and that is incorporated within the learning
objectives of a specific service learning courses.
Would this requirement be met in the lower division or upper
division years? How would you address transfer and articulation
issues with community colleges in your service area?
CSUMBs service learning requirement is two-tiered (See Attachment
I). The first component is embedded into the General Education program.
CSUMB has developed an innovative outcomes-based general education
program, comprised of thirteen University Learning Requirements.
One of the thirteen is called Community Participation, and
is met by meeting specific learning objectives related to "the
development of self-reflective, culturally aware, and responsive
community participation through reciprocal service and learning"
(See "Community Participation University Learning Requirement,
Attachment VI). To meet these requirements, most sophomore students
enroll in the course Introduction to Service in Multicultural
Upper division students must complete a service learning course
in their major. Service learning is therefore one of four "Graduation
Learning Outcomes," that are required for all CSUMB students.
We are currently working with local community college partners
to pilot sections of the core course that could be taught at the
community college level. These courses would meet the lower division
General Education requirement in Community Participation.
Hours of Service
What limits, if any, should be attached to the terms "service"
and "community," assuming that a "community service graduation requirement"
should be multifaceted?
At CSUMB, the Service Learning Institute monitors the courses that
meet the Service Learning requirement. All courses that meet this
requirement receive an "S" designation in the course catalogue.
In order to receive an "S" designation, and thereby fulfill
the Service Learning requirement, a course must meet the following
- Involve students in service activities or projects with external
communities [emphasis added] that are responsive to community-identified
- Require students to integrate the learning derived from service
with subject matter outcomes through reflections exercises,
discussion, written, oral or media presentations. (See "Criteria
for the Service Learning "S" Designation," Attachment,
These criteria were established by CSUMBs Service Learning
Faculty Council. Operationally, this has meant that at CSUMB, service
learning takes place off-campus, with partners from our neighboring
communities. During our first four years, CSUMB students have had
service learning placements at over 250 community organizations,
schools and social service agencies. Service learning has become
a principle vehicle for connecting the university with its surrounding
communities. Both for-profit and non-profit agencies are appropriate
for service learning, if the learning that results is related to
the concept of "service" and the outcomes of the course.
What would be an appropriate amount of community service (e.g.
number of hours) to be required for graduation?
As the credit is given for learning, we do not mandate a specific
requirement for service hours. The Service Learning Institute recommends
that the hours be sufficient and appropriate for the accomplishment
of the specific task, and that this be determined collaboratively
by the faculty and the community partners for the specific course.
On average, students spend approximately 30 hours on community service
during a semester-long service learning course.
For courses on our campuses that have a service component, who
will evaluate the appropriateness of that service toward satisfaction
of the community service graduation requirement under this program?
As described earlier, the Service Learning Faculty Council developed
the criteria for the "Service Learning Designation" and
monitors the designation approval process. The criteria are especially
broad to enable the individual faculty person to design service
learning experiences that address their specific content area and
expertise. As with all course development, faculty are ultimately
Do you anticipate any special problems concerning transfer and
articulation issues between CSU and the UC and/or Community Colleges
related to a community service graduation requirement?
As service learning is integrated into the degree programs and
the General Education requirements, the articulation procedures
currently in place should also be sufficient to address this component
of the academic program.
If community service is not to be a blanket graduation requirement,
which programs should be excluded and/or which students should be
As with all academic degree requirements, no student is given a
waiver for the service learning requirement at CSUMB. Since we are
building an outcomes-based degree program, it is possible for students
to demonstrate prior learning that is sufficient to meet the service
learning outcomes for either the Community Participation ULR (general
education component) or the major-based service learning requirement.
As with other aspects of the degree program, students would prepare
a portfolio demonstrating the learning that meets the appropriate
outcomes in order to "assess" for this component of their
If a student volunteer is rejected by the proposed agency, what
provisions will you be able to make to accommodate the student?
Flexibility is the key. In general, each service learning course
is partnered with four or five different organization, all of whom
have been pre-selected by the faculty instructor. If an initial
placement does not work out, efforts are made to find a site that
is appropriate for all constituents. Students are also given the
opportunity to identify service placement sites that were not previously
known by the professor, but which meet the requirements for the
Time to Graduation
What effect would you anticipate on time-to-graduation?
None. CSUMB has integrated service learning into the General Education
program and into each undergraduate major without extending the
What assessment measures are you prepared to set up to evaluate
the success or failure of the community service program?
CSUMB has established a set of processes to assess the impact of
the service learning program. "Service Learning Process Evaluations"
are filled-out at the end of each semester by students, faculty
and community partners. The Service Learning Institute administers
these assessment instruments and employs a part-time assessment
specialist to tabulate and prepare reports on the results. Faculty
are given the opportunity to review the student and community partner
evaluations of their course. Overall results are communicated to
the campus academic leadership in the form of annual reports.
Because of the unique nature of the required lower-division course,
Introduction to Service in Multicultural Communities, a pre-
and post- survey was created, based on an instrument developed by
the Service Learning Research and Assessment Center at UC Berkeley.
The survey is conducted in each section of this core course, and
the results are tabulated each semester. In addition, focus group
interviews with community partners have been held to get a better
sense of the community impact of the service learning program.
Section II: Liability Questions
Would you anticipate any new, burdensome issues regarding legal
liability between the campus and the community?
Liability is not a new issue, as academic programs have been running
field-based experiences and internship programs for years.
Would there be any unusual dangers and risks in your service
No more than students experience in their day-to-day routine as
students, employees, consumers, family members, etc.
If your students in clinical professional programs perform community
service, will they be risking any particular liability?
Our campus does not offer clinical professional degree programs.
What area of campus will take on the responsibility for resolving
legal issues arising from the performance of community service?
The University Counsel.
If the community service is to be done in K-12 classrooms, can
issues and costs of fingerprinting, character references, drug-testing,
and the like be resolved?
Currently, there are special issues related to the collaboration
with K-12 schools. Some school districts require that volunteers
receive TB tests and be fingerprinted and receive the appropriate
background checks through the Department of Justice. The fingerprinting
process is especially costly, $42 per student. Neither the school
districts nor the University is capable of meeting this additional
expense. It would be helpful if school districts would be able to
receive the same cost-free screening process that is available to
non-profit organizations. This is an issue that can be addressed
in Sacramento. Simply passing these costs on to students is not
a reasonable alternative.
Section III. Issues from the Community Side
Are there enough off-campus service demands and opportunities
for your campus population for the performance of community service?
CSUMBs Service Learning Institute maintains a "Service
Opportunities Data-Base" that contains over 600 agencies who
have requested support from CSUMB service learners. After four years,
over 250 of these organizations have actually partnered with a service
learning course and received students. At a recent meeting of the
Community Advisory Board, community members expressed that there
was no shortage of opportunities for service placements. Rather,
they felt that it was most important for the faculty to develop
meaningful relationships and partnerships with their organizations.
As these partnerships grow, the communitys ability to provide
quality supervision for service learners should also increase.
Are there potentials for damage to already-accredited professional
programs because of an increase in the ratio of students to supervisors
(or volunteers to agencies)?
Members of the Community Advisory Board did not feel that this
was an issue. They felt that there was room for service learners
in addition to the already-accredited professional programs.
Do you anticipate your students competing with other state interests
e.g., a need to place welfare recipients in community service
Again, this was not seen as an issue for our Community Advisory
Board members. Rather, Department of Social Services representatives
felt that CSUMB students could play an important role in facilitating
the work-learning process of former welfare recipients.
Areas of Need
What community needs in your community might be addressed by
community service done by your students?
During the start-up phase of our campus, a survey instrument was
sent out to over 3000 schools, community organizations and non-profit
agencies to determine the types of activities that would be most
appropriate for CSUMB service learning partnerships. The Community
Advisory Board continues to inform the faculty of the most pressing
issues that they are confronting. It is through faculty/community
dialogue that CSUMBs curriculum and the needs and realities
of the community come into more clear alignment.
Should assessment of community needs be done with attention
to the effect of mandatory community service on town/gown relationships?
Our initial survey was done with the clear expectation that service
learning would be a requirement at CSUMB.
Have you done or anticipated a survey of your communitys
ability to train, accept, and monitor alternating flows of student
volunteers? How will they affect agency profiles?
Supervising service learners requires time and resources. Not all
organizations have this capacity, and so not all organizations are
appropriate service learning partners. Yet, we have found that it
is important to offer training and support to enable organizations
to develop the capacity necessary to be effective service learning
supervisors. Student leaders have played extremely valuable roles
in this liaison function, helping to orient, monitor and supervise
service learners at specific community partner sites.
We have found that through service learning, the campus has developed
numerous connections to the local community: to teachers, counselors,
environmentalists, workers, non-profit managers, and many, many
others. As a result of service learning, the campus and the community
are truly intertwined, and developing a greater ability to work
together. The latest round of evaluations from Community Partners
testifies to the positive impact that service learning is having
in the local community. For the 1998-99 academic year, of the 72
community partners who completed their evaluation surveys, only
8 felt that the experience was not "very satisfactory"
or "satisfactory" (See "1998-99 Year End Evaluation
Report," Attachment VIII). Of the 8 who felt that the partnership
was only "somewhat effective," 6 indicated that this was
due to the newness of the program and the lack of clear expectations.
Section IV: Institutional Resources
On your campus, who would monitor completion of this requirement?
How efficient would this be? What additional resources would be
needed for this? What specific costs would you anticipate in implementing
such a requirement?
At CSUMB, service learning is coordinated by the Service Learning
Institute (SLI). The SLI has three functions:
- Delivery of Instruction: Faculty of the SLI are responsible
for delivering the lower division required course that meets
the Community Participation University Learning Requirement.
Multiple sections of this course are offered each semester,
and taught by the SLIs two full-time faculty and other
part-time instructors. Currently the SLI delivers approximately
1.5% of the CSUMB curriculum
- Instructional Support. The SLI provides support for
service learning to take place in each of the twelve undergraduate
degree programs. The SLI provides training and support in: faculty
development, partnership development, assessment and evaluation,
logistical coordination, etc. Each semester the SLI staff support
over 30 service learning courses throughout the university (See
"Service Learning Courses, Spring 2000, Attachment IX).
- Student Leadership Program. The SLI runs a student
leadership program to train students in service learning skills.
These students then provide support to our programs campus-wide.
Student leaders work as course assistants with service learning
faculty and work as community liaisons at specific community
partner sites. Each semester, the SLI employs approximately
20 student leaders working in this capacity.
To accomplish these three primary functions, the Service Learning
Institute has a staff of eight full-time employees. The SLI staff
includes: a faculty Director; Coordinator of SL 200 Instruction;
Programs Coordinator; Community Partnership Coordinator; Science
and Technology Service Learning Coordinator; K-12 Service Learning
Coordinator; Information Specialist; and, Administrative Assistant.
The SLI also has part-time consultants to support Evaluation and
Fund-Raising. The CSUMB general fund provides approximately $400,000
in annual support for the SLI.
In addition, the SLI has brought in approximately $150,000 annually
from private foundation and governmental sources to support the
CSUMB service learning program. These funds have supported program
innovation, faculty development efforts, and the creation of CSUMBs
unique student leadership program.
CSU Monterey Bay
Response to AS 2471-99
Attachment I: CSUMBs Service Learning Prism
Attachment II: CSUMB Service Learning Requirement
Attachment III: Summary of Service Learning Research: Student Impact
Attachment IV: Building Community
Attachment V: Rice and Brown (1998). "Transforming Educational
Curriculum and Service
Learning," Journal of Experiential Education, December,
Attachment VI: Community Participation University Learning Requirement
Attachment VII: Criteria for the Service Learning "S"
Attachment VIII: 1998-99 Year End Evaluation Report
Attachment IX: Service Learning Courses, Spring 2000