It is extremely encouraging that substantial progress has been
made in achieving steps within the Strategic Plan. However, it is
also evident that much work needs to be done. As campuses responded
candidly to their ability to achieve the steps, many challenges
surfaced. Challenges are inherent in any developmental process,
and there is no exception for the CSU. This section will highlight
the more salient points to be addressed in the near future.
In general, it was clear that campuses would like to see more money,
time, attention and policies devoted to service-learning.
- Sources of funding surfaced as a major challenge
for every campus. Even for campuses that currently had funding,
there were concerns about future funding. No campus had secured
funding at a sustainable level indefinitely. Campuses have attempted
to secure funding in the traditional ways, through Campus Compact,
Learn and Serve, FIPSE, and the campuses themselves. Future funding
will need to come from creative and uncharted areas. Additionally,
individual institutions must provide more than lip service to
supporting service-learning. Funds must be available to support
offices of service-learning that can coordinate the necessary
elements of service-learning programs.
- As a result of limited financial support, campuses are also
faced with limited staff to attend to the details
required for successful partnerships on campus and in the community.
Often, offices were overwhelmed by the large scope of community
- As campuses began identifying the scope of community partnerships
and faculty involvement, they found that there was a lack
of an agreed upon definition for community service-learning
across the campus, in the system, and in the field. While identifying
faculty who may be using service-learning, it was necessary to
have conversations about the distinctions between community service,
service-learning, internships, co-operative experiences. Bakersfield
provided a definition of community service-learning in the cover
letter of its survey to faculty to assess their experiential pedagogical
tools, in order to avoid confusion. "Ive been doing
that; I just didnt call it service-learning," was a
familiar phrase when service-learning coordinators had conversations
with faculty. The CSU Strategic Plan offers a definition of community
service-learning, however, even that definition raised constructive
debate during a workshop offered at the system-wide Teacher-Scholar
Conference in July 1998. Each campus will need to adopt a definition
of service-learning that most closely connects to the mission
and culture of the institution, while at the same time, remains
consistent with the best practices of service-learning as established
in the field. This challenge is not particular to the CSU; it
is also occurring in the field across the country.
- The quarter system provides a challenge in creating
meaningful, worthwhile projects that can be completed in less
than ten weeks, for several CSU campuses.
- Questions continue to be raised about risk management
issues. What are the responsibilities of individual faculty, the
office of community service-learning, the campus, the system,
the community agency and the student? As students are placed in
school settings, in particular, there have been questions raised
about finger printing processes and background checks. Given limited
time and resources, many campuses have difficulty managing these
issues. Some campuses, such as Sacramento and San Marcos, have
developed processes and tools that allow for relatively easy management
of risk management issues. These tools can be shared with other
- Finally, a lack of incentives for faculty to be involved
(rewards), was noted as a major challenge. This is supported by
the analysis of the campus reports. Integrating service-learning
within a course is time-consuming and challenging, yet innovative
and effective. Faculty who do this work must be assisted in demonstrating
that their work is truly innovative and effective that
it adds value to the experience of both student and faculty member.
As stated earlier, this is a critical area that must be addressed.
The CSU campuses must work together to achieve these identified
challenges, as well as the many others inherent in the report. Despite
these challenges, however, campuses have found creative ways to
move forward. The resources and innovations campuses have utilized
are discussed next.