Faculty Features

Andy Hill

A word from Professor Andy Hill on what service learning courses mean to him, and why he chooses to teach them. Thank you for your hard work!

Andy Hill"In Social Change and Social Issues, my First Year Seminar linked to the Service and Leadership Residential Learning Community, students complete 15 hours of Service Learning, primarily with local non-profit organizations I have contacted prior to the semester or ones which students select and vote upon in class in the first week of the semester. This fall, our two main organizations with which we worked continually throughout the semester were Watauga Habitat for Humanity and the Watauga Humane Society. Students write Service Learning journals, 1/2 page for each hour of SL they complete. Their semester-ending research paper focuses on an issue of their choosing confronted by the main organization they worked with, and includes a 1-1.5 page ethnography. Both the ethnography and the SL journals are to be written based upon the students' reflections surrounding the culture of the organization, how it felt to engage in this SL, and consideration and speculation about the effects of their work on those with whom they worked, for whom they worked (mentioning the power structure and their sense/level of autonomy), for whom the work was intended, and the effects of the SL upon the students themselves. The ethnography can be based on material from the journals, but is required to be worded in a more formal way that would meet the standards of an academic research paper, while still being written in first person perspective.

In addition to the Service Learning, students also write up two Civic Engagement events which they are required to select and actively attend over the course of the semester. These can range from a variety of issues and formats, such as meet-the-political-candidate forums, hall council meetings, and other events during which relevant community issues are discussed. Students then write a 1.5-page reflection on what they learned and how this helps them to be more civically engaged."