Description: The University of Missouri-Kansas City vision statement expresses a value for “active engagement” with Kansas City and the region. One of the primary ways UMKC engages with regional communities is through student learning that bridges classroom and community. The service-learning component of the Gateway Program fulfills an integral part of that vision. Key projects include the development of Serve2Learn, an online management tool for service-learning, development of a 15-member consortium partnering institutions of higher education with community partners, and the development of an internal infrastructure that brings faculty, students and alumni together to serve the community.
Project Period: Ongoing
Funding Source: UMKC
Applied Research: Ongoing program evaluation of service-learning (S-L) at UMKC and its impact on community partner organizations.
Community Services and Supports: Service-learning bridges classroom and communities. Students enrolled in service-learning courses apply classroom theories and skills to address or solve problems identified by community groups.
Information Dissemination: Disseminate information regarding service-learning in greater Kansas City communities as well as across the UMKC campus.
Interdisciplinary Personnel Preparation: Service-learning deepens students’ understanding and application of classroom theories and skills. Through service-learning, students are put to work on projects that address real issues in their communities. Students gain real-world experiences – the opportunity to apply what they learn in class in the social context of the community. The outcomes can be significant, depending on the project. The student outcomes almost always include increased civic, personal, and social skills as well as career exploration.
Program Need and Historical Context
- Desired increase in students’ understanding of classroom theories and skills
- Desired increase in students’ understanding of community and societal issues and challenges
- Desired increase in students’ marketable skills and career networks
- Desired connection of university to community for partnerships and collaboration characterized by reciprocity
- Desired increase in bringing non-profit expertise to the classroom for purposes of resource-sharing and examining problems and solutions
Consumer and Community Involvement
- A value of S-L is that it is done in partnership with the community. This value expresses itself by encouraging nonprofit community groups to identify needs for possible service-learning partnerships.
- Because S-L connects classroom and community, community-based organizations become closely connected to UMKC faculty and the students they teach, often spanning semesters. High quality service-learning requires a collaborative relationship with community organizations and students.
Significant Project Activities and Outcomes
Developing a conceptual framework for a campus-wide program and infrastructure support in collaboration with the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching (FaCET) and the Provost’s Office.
- The Institute is working collaboratively with other schools, colleges, and administrative units to implement this plan.
- The Institute is serving as both a thought leader and project organizer.
- Assistance provided to faculty on an as-needed basis to begin service-learning in one or more courses or to significantly revitalize existing service-learning.
Web-based interface to support academic service-learning, community service and volunteer internships. Called Serve2Learn, this decentralized system for project management will allow administrators, faculty, students and community partners to interact and manage service-learning opportunities. On-going program evaluation of service-learning and its impact on student learning and community-based partner organizations.
System:The successful implementation of this project will help the university connect to the community; enhance student learning and career opportunities, and helps solve community problems.
Leveraging:The successful implementation of this project will gain additional resources for UMKC through grants and community recognition.