Community Engagement & Service Learning
Connecting the college and community for the purpose of fulfilling community needs and giving our students a rich academic experience—that’s community engagement! The Department of Community Engagement works with students, instructors, and community organizations to identify opportunities for partnership. By working together, Western can fulfill community needs while giving students a deeper academic experience.
The phrase “community engagement” is used as an umbrella term at Western that consists of general service/ volunteering and service-learning. Community Engagement is used in the classroom to teach students course outcomes and competencies but also used in extra-curricular aspects of student life.
A method of teaching characterized by all of the following conditions: student participation in an organized service activity that meets an identified community need and is connected to course content/ specific learning outcomes with structured reflection occurring before, during, and after the activity.
Why use service-learning to teach course content?
- Learning is at its best when students are required to apply what they’ve learned through community problem-solving, teaching the community, or providing direct service.
- Course completion and grades are generally higher. Students enjoy real life scenarios rather than hypothetical projects.
- Provides students with opportunities to become active in their communities which will lead to a deeper sense of social responsibility and civic engagement.
- An opportunity to expand a students’ network helping them with their future job search.
- Provides services and solutions to needs in our communities.
Community Need, Local Agencies, and Volunteering
Ugetconnected is a local platform funded by Western Technical College, Great Rivers United Way, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Viterbo University. The online platform features opportunities for potential volunteers to serve in the community, matches volunteers with their interests, and serves as a listing of local agencies in our community.
- TRACKING: required for all community engagement and service-learning activities. Service hours must be tracked by completing this online form. Students or instructors may submit the form at the completion of the service hours. On-Line Tracking Form: https://wtc.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_78THLY9TulXLqlf
- REFLECTION: Ideas for Reflection Questions & Exercises – PDF
- RESUME: students often don’t think about listing this sort of classroom experience on their resume. Encourage them to list it similar to how they’d list other involvement and work experience. Community-Engagement-on-a-Resume – PDF
- OFF-CAMPUS TRAVEL FORMS: the College requires travel forms to be completed for all (classroom or club) student travel off campus. The forms can be found on the Western Student website.
- PROJECT NOTIFICATION: complete this form for any project involving children, fundraising, controversial topic, or food.
Fundraising/Service Learning Activity Proposal
- GUIDELINES: follow these guidelines for any community engagement activity. These guidelines keep the College and students out of risky activities. Guidelines for Service Learning, Fundraising, Community Project – PDF
- $350 MINI GRANTS: needing funding for supplies, travel, professional time spent coordinating service-learning details? Work with Kari to apply for a mini grant through the Wisconsin Campus Compact organization.
- USA PRESIDENT’S VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD (PVSA): let students know that they can be recognized for their time spent in service. Details of this recognition can be found at https://www.westerntc.edu/Volunteering.
Contact Kari Reyburn, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more resources, templates, and documents to design service-learning in your course.
Community Engagement Coordinator