Washington Campus Compact Announces Findings

October 27, 2009

Western Region Faculty Engagement Survey Findings Announced

Evergreen Noted Among Colleges that Demonstrate High Levels of Commitment to Public Service as an Academic Aim and Educational Approach

Olympia, WA -- Washington Campus Compact and the Western Region Campus Compact Consortium released data today on a faculty engagement survey of the Western Region.

The first of its kind to collect faculty engagement data on service learning and community-based research across a multi-state region, the survey included more than 2,500 faculty members at 47 campuses across California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

So What is Service Learning?

Service-learning is education based in inclusive community assistance, activism and outreach. Students engaged in service learning activities attain academic goals via service to their community. Also examined in the survey, community-based research involves collaboration between researchers and community members in the design and implementation of research projects aimed at meeting community-identified needs.

The Evergreen State College was notable for its use of service learning in teaching of social sciences, cross-cultural and international relations, education and the humanities. In each of these areas, Evergreen reported higher use of service learning than Western Region averages.

Service learning at Evergreen was also characterized by a focus on learning that promotes socially beneficial aims. The most reported issues addressed by service learning efforts according to responders at Evergreen included cultural awareness, education and literacy, environmental issues, health care, homelessness, immigration and refugee assistance, low-income assistance, parks and gardens, visual and performing arts, and vulnerable youth.

Researchers working on the project collected common data across the Western Region in order to identify current faculty service-learning and community-based research practices; possible strategies to motivate and support new faculty to do service-learning and community-based research; best practices by which to support faculty who already incorporate service-learning and community based research into their work; and the potential impacts of service-learning and community-based research on faculty, students, campuses, and communities.

Established in 1992 and hosted at Western Washington University, Washington Campus Compact and its membership of 35 two- and four-year colleges and universities work to promote service learning as a means to provide meaningful experiences for students to become active, engaged leaders in their communities, further the civic and public purposes of higher education and strengthen communities. Washington Campus Compact is an affiliate state office of Campus Compact, a national organization comprised of more than 1,100 higher education institutions committed to the civic and public purposes of higher education

Participating Campus Compacts will be able to use data in the survey to shape strategic directions and programming as well as learn more about how faculty members are involved in service-learning and community-based research; how to support faculty; and how service-learning impacts faculty, students, and community members. “A research effort of this kind hasn’t been done in our region,” said Jennifer Dorr, executive director of Washington Campus Compact. “This research points to the significant impacts that service-learning has on faculty, students, and communities.”

The research project was funded by Learn and Serve America Higher Education, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service and directed by Washington Campus Compact.

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