Northwestern State University is a responsive, student-oriented institution that is committed to the creation, dissemination, and acquisition of knowledge through teaching, research, and service. The University’s Office of Service-Learning assists the University with meeting one of its primary goals: “To promote economic development, community service, and an improved quality of life in the region”. Through service-learning projects, students use theory and skills learned in the classroom to solve ‘real-life’ problems.
The Office serves as a point of contact where the community and university can join together to identify needs and share resources. The director serves on the University of Louisiana System Council on Service-Learning and works closely with faculty, staff, students, and community to share information about resources, projects, and professional development opportunities.
The NSU Office of Service-Learning Mission Statement
The NSU Office of Service-Learning seeks to promote and develop Service-Learning as pedagogy in undergraduate and graduate education. The Office provides faculty and staff consultation and guidance with Project Development, Implementation, Assessment and Curriculum Integration. The Office serves as a point of contact where the community and the university can join together to identify needs and share resources. Inquiries about service-learning from interested faculty, staff, students, and community partners are welcome.
Office of Service-Learning Goals
- Promote student learning and development by facilitating service-learning in which students solve ‘real-life’ problems by applying theory and skills learned in the classroom.
- Develop and maintain partnerships between NSU and our community.
- Disseminate information to faculty, students and the community about service-learning resources, projects, and professional development opportunities.
A teaching technique in which students participate in a community service activity that is clearly related to the academic objectives of a course and/or major field of study. As a result, students gain relevant, hands-on experience while improving the quality of life of citizens in our region.
The Corporation for National Service (CNS) uses the service-learning definition listed in the 1993 National and Community Service Trust Act.
Service Learning: Federal Definition
What is Service-Learning?
Service-learning combines service to the community with student learning in a way that improves both the student and the community. According to the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993: (23) SERVICE-LEARNING— The term ‘service-learning’ means a method—
- under which students or participants learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that—
- is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students, or the educational components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled; and
- provides structured time for the students or participants to reflect on the service experience.
The purpose of the 1993 Trust Act:
- IN GENERAL- Section 2 of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12501) is amended to read as follows:
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.
- FINDINGS— The Congress finds the following:
- Throughout the United States, there are pressing unmet human, educational, environmental, and public safety needs.
- Americans desire to affirm common responsibilities and shared values, and join together in positive experiences, that transcend race, religion, gender, age, disability, region, income, and education.
- The rising costs of postsecondary education are putting higher education out of reach for an increasing number of citizens.
- Americans of all ages can improve their communities and become better citizens through service to the United States.
- Nonprofit organizations, local governments, States, and the Federal Government are already supporting wide variety of national service programs that deliver needed services in a cost-effective manner.
- Residents of low-income communities, especially youth and young adults, can be empowered through their service, and can help provide future community leadership.
- PURPOSE— It is the purpose of this Act to—
- meet the unmet human, educational, environmental, and public safety needs of the United States, without displacing existing workers;
- renew the ethic of civic responsibility and the spirit of community throughout the United States;
- expand educational opportunity by rewarding individuals who participate in national service with an increased ability to pursue higher education or job training;
- encourage citizens of the United States, regardless of age, income, or disability, to engage in full-time part-time national service;
- reinvent government to eliminate duplication, support locally established initiatives, require measurable goals for performance, and offer flexibility in meeting those goals;
- expand and strengthen existing service programs with demonstrated experience in providing structured service opportunities with visible benefits to the participants and community;
- build on the existing organizational service infrastructure of Federal, State, and local programs and agencies to expand full-time and part-time service opportunities for all citizens; and
- provide tangible benefits to the communities in which national service is performed.
- Is a method whereby students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of communities;
- Is coordinated with an elementary school, secondary school, institution of higher education, or community service program and the community;
- Helps foster civic responsibility;
- Is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students, or the education components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled;
- And provides structured time for students or participants to reflect on the service experience.
The Director of Service-Learning (hereafter called the Director in this document) directs and administers all operations and activities of the university’s Office of Service-Learning. This office promotes student learning and development by facilitating service-learning projects in which students solve ‘real-life’ problems by applying theory and skills learned in the classroom. The director works with faculty, staff, students and community partners to coordinate and implement relevant service-learning projects. S/he serves as a university liaison to the community. The director serves on the University of Louisiana System Council on Service-Learning and is responsible for disseminating pertinent information about resources, projects, and professional development opportunities for NSU faculty and staff. The director is also responsible for administering the UL-System’s annual service-learning survey. S/he serves on the university’s Academic & Student Affairs Council as well as the University Retention and Internship Committees. The Office is housed under Student Affairs. The director is responsible for other duties as assigned including academic advising and teaching at the undergraduate level.
Service-Learning Liability Waiver& Talent Release
PARTICIPANT’S NAME: __________________________________________________________
SERVICE-LEARNING PROGRAM TITLE: ______________________________________________
COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY:___Northwestern State University of Louisiana __________________
PARTICIPATING AGENCY: _________________________________________________________
As a service learner, I am providing community services as part of my coursework and not as an agent of Northwestern State University of Louisiana, who holds no responsibility and liability for me while I am engaged in this activity.
I voluntarily and knowingly assume any risk associated with the service program and waive my right to assert any claim against the participating agency or any of its officers, agents, servants, employees and volunteers for injury, death or damage to my person or property resulting from my participation in this activity.
I release and hold harmless Northwestern State University of Louisiana, the State of Louisiana, all State Departments, Agencies, Boards and Commissions, as well as its officers, agents, servants, employees and volunteers, from any and all claims, demands, causes of action, expense and liability arising out of injury, death or damage to my person or property while participating in this activity.
I confirm that any and all material furnished and/or performed by me for the above titled activity is either my own or otherwise authorized for such use without obligation to me or to any third party. I also agree to the use of my name, likeness, portrait or pictures, writing, voice, performance, and biographical material about me for academic and program-related promotional purposes.
I hereby waive any claim to the rights of photographs or recordings made of me during this activity. I hereby authorize the editing, duplication, reproduction, copyright, exhibition, broadcast and/or non-profit use and distribution of said recordings for purposes deemed suitable by the University. I hereby waive any right to approve the finished products.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana and the UL System reserves full distribution rights to its program and all related materials, through any and all forms of duplication, both in the United States and all foreign markets.
Signature of Participant (if 18 years of age or older) Date
Signature of Participant’s Parent/Representative (if under 18 years of age) Date