Saint Mary’s faculty curious about implementing service-learning into their courses in the upcoming academic year now have access to in-house peer mentors to answer questions.
Dr. Chantal Hervieux (SSB), Dr. Meg Ternes (Science) , and Dr. Stephen Schneider (Arts) have agreed to become Faculty Champions for Service Learning, to acts as a resource for fellow professors interested in learning more from those who have gone through the process.
Sarah Bray, Service Learning Coordinator, says it will be another layer of support to help both faculty, students, and local community organizations reap the benefits of service learning.
“In my role, I take on the logistic and administrative tasks, coordination and student preparation to make the experience as seamless as possible for professors,” she says. “But I think many faculty members will find it helpful to hear the perspectives and insights of fellow professors.”
Dr. Meg Ternes, professor of psychology, was a service learning ‘newbie’ until she piloted SL in a course this past winter.
Though always interested in incorporating SL into courses, she hesitated to add additional work when her courses were already working well.
“Working with Sarah meant that I could incorporate SL without adding much work to my busy schedule.,": says Ternes. “Sarah made the links with the community partners and connected them with the students. She provided orientation to the students, dealt with all of the paperwork, and answered any questions, and even provided me with sample syllabi and assignments.”
Service learning helped bring concepts to life for Dr. Ternes’ students. “It’s clear that the students learned a lot from their experiences,” says Dr. Ternes. “I can tell them in class about some of the correlates of criminal behaviour or victimization, such as substance use, poverty, or mental health, but giving the students the opportunity to observe these associations by working at homeless shelters or food banks or programs for at-risk youth, really drives these points home.”
Meet your SL Faculty Champions
Faculty Champion (SSB): Dr. Chantal Hervieux
Assistant Professor, Management, Sobey School of Business
Type of SL: Project Based, Placement Based, and Blended Options
Optional or Mandatory? Usually mandatory (all students participate)
How many years involved? Has used experiential learning approaches for over 10 years. Was introduced to Service Learning at SMU by Dr. Cathy Driscoll and Dr. Margaret McKee.
Community Partners: Often organizations who would work to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (food security, poverty, etc.) – Parker Street Food Bank, SMU Community Food Room, Action Against Hunger Canada, Common Good Solutions, Feed NS
Examples of SL in academic courses: Ethical Responsibilities of Organizations (MGMT 3480); Social & Sustainable Entrepreneurship (MGMT 6690)
Faculty Champion (Arts): Dr. Stephen Schneider
Associate Professor, Graduate Programs Coordinator, Criminology, Faculty of Arts
Type of SL: Usually placement based
Optional or Mandatory? Mandatory (all students participate)
How many years involved: 10+ years
Examples of Community Partners: Pathways to Education, Start2Finish, BRAVE, as well as fieldwork in Dr. Schneider’s projects with at-risk kids: SMU PALS and SMART (the Saint Mary's Academic Resilience Team).
Examples of SL in academic courses Community Development (CRIM 4826); Crime Prevention (CRIM 4801)
Faculty Champion (Science): Dr. Meg Ternes
Assistant Professor, Psychology, Faculty of Science
Type of SL: Placement based
Optional or Mandatory SL: Optional & student suggested
Optional; students chose to participate in either the academic stream or the SL stream of the course
Student Suggested; 5 students suggested their own community partners within Dr. Ternes course!
How many years involved: Piloted first SL course this Winter 2019
Examples of Community Partners: Start2Finish, Adsum House, Canadian Mental Health Association, Out of The Cold Shelter, Nova Scotia Health Authority
Examplesof SL in academic courses at SMU: Offenders & Victims (PSYC 4827)