Public Affairs


The California State University has received two grants from AmeriCorps and the Getty Grant Program that could total $2.7 million over the next three years to support service-learning programs in which students learn from community service experiences directly tied to the academic content of their courses.

AmeriCorps has already given the CSU $434,000 to support community service-learning partnerships that will address health and human service needs of children and families in 2000/01. The three-year proposal calls for expansion of the program after the first year and includes additional funding requests of $800,000 in the second year and $1.3 million the third year for a total of more than for a $2.5 million.

The $167,000 Getty grant, "Linking Service Learning and the Visual Arts," will partner CSU faculty and community agencies to develop an array of service learning courses in the visual arts.

"The California State University campuses are deeply involved in community service and service learning. It's a win/win situation. The community benefits from the service provided by CSU students and faculty, and CSU students experience additional opportunities to apply what they have learned in the classroom," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "The CSU is grateful to the Getty and AmeriCorps for helping our students and faculty continue to improve the quality of life in California."

More than 135,000 CSU students throughout the state perform a total of about 33.6 million hours of community service annually. That's a minimum wage value of about $193.2 million.

AmeriCorps Grant

During the 2000/01 academic year, 62 CSU students, serving as AmeriCorps members, will provide community service to local health and human service agencies and coordinate participation of other CSU students in community service and service-learning opportunities at these agencies. Students will be recruited from five campuses in the pilot year -- San Francisco State, San Jose State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU Northridge and CSU Dominguez Hills. Over the next two years, the program will expand to include additional CSU campuses and more than 150 CSU students.

Through the California Commission on Improving Life Though Service and as part of the "Service Learning for Family Health" Program, the grant also is designed to enhance the quality of student learning and promote an ethic of service. Other statewide partners include Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and the California Department of Health Services, Office of Multicultural Health.

AmeriCorps, a federal program initiated through the Corporation for National Service, supports local, state, and national organizations that involve Americans in community service. AmeriCorps members serve for a year and receive a living allowance, then receive an education award that can be applied to higher education loans or tuition.

Getty Grant

The Getty grant will support the development of a series of service-learning courses in the visual arts. The courses will offer CSU students opportunities to learn more about museums and other visual arts organizations to foster a better understanding of, and increased commitment to, the nonprofit arts sector.

The grant will fund a service-learning institute for faculty and deans at six CSU campuses -- Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, and Pomona. Selected faculty will then receive stipends to work with local arts organizations to develop new service-learning courses. In the future, the CSU hopes to expand this program to all of its campuses.

The Getty Grant Program is part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts. Since its inception in 1984, the grant program has given more than $89 million to over 2,200 projects in about 150 countries.

CSU Service Learning

The CSU has been heavily involved in community service and service learning for many years. In 1997 the CSU developed a Community Service-Learning Strategic Plan that provides direction for campuses to maximize the potential of service learning. Two key objectives of the five-year plan (1997-2002) are to engage students in at least one service learning experience prior to graduation, and to offer an ongoing variety of community service experiences so that all students will have those opportunities. All 22 campuses facilitate service learning and are supported by the CSU systemwide coordinator of service learning, a position created two years ago.

A recent survey of CSU students showed that 39 percent had either taken or are interested in participating in service learning, and nearly two-thirds who had taken service-learning courses indicated it helped them master the subject more than a traditional course.

June 15, 2000