Val R. Christensen Service Center
Purpose and vision
The purpose of the Service-Learning Scholars Program is to provide students with the opportunity to:
- Make a difference in their community
- Combine service with their academic course work
- Enhance learning through experience
- Create sustainable change in the form of a capstone project
History of the Service-Learning Scholars Program In the spring of 2003, Cameron Woolf was elected as the ASUSU Service Vice President. His election platform included the goal to institute a Service-Learning Scholars Certificate program by the end of the year. Cameron appointed a dedicated student, Aaron Brown, to work with him on the project as the Student Service-Learning Coordinator.
During the summer of 2003, Woolf and Brown worked closely with Community Service Director, Nellene Howard to formulate a plan of action. After conducting initial research and preparing a presentation, students met with USU’s Vice President of Student Services, Dr. Juan Franco, to secure his support.
At Dr. Franco’s recommendation, the students presented their plan to the Dean’s Council and met with Joyce Kinkead, the Assistant Provost. They assembled a faculty steering committee, elected a committee chair, and drafted a department head survey to determine the status of service-learning in the various departments across campus.
The faculty steering committee was successful in approving the criteria for service-learning course designation through the Educational Policy Committee. In addition, the Vice President for Student Services drafted a proposal for the Service-Learning Scholars Program to be presented to the Faculty Senate. The proposal was later passed by the University Executive Committee, Faculty Senate, and the Board of Trustees. Finally, on-going funding was secured through a Tier II tuition proposal, and a part-time faculty coordinator, Dr. Robert Schmidt, was hired in 2004. USU’s first Service-Learning Scholar, Karen Gourley, graduated in 2005
The students were successful in reaching their goals within the year. It was a wonderful experience for those involved. It is amazing what can happen when students are empowered!