Serving Society

  1. Serving society placements are intended to provide an opportunity to bring academic learning to bear on concerns in the local community. Additionally, serving society placements provide a practical context in which to test, refine and flesh out classroom learning. Serving society programs should provide students with the opportunity to read and think about issues of justice, reconciliation, and restoration and to think critically about what it means to be a Christian in a fallen world.
  2. Serving society may be a component of a standard course or it may take the form of a stand-alone service learning internship with a course designation of 190SS. In any case, the experience should conform to the following standards:
    1. Community being served should be clearly identified. The notion of community is broadly defined and may extend to the natural world.
    2. The placement should not be confined to routine or clerical duties but should involve direct contact with the community being served.
    3. The service learning experience should demonstrate clear continuity with the academic program.
    4. A clearly defined mechanism for reflection and processing of the experience must be identified and conducted under the supervision of an appropriately qualified member of the faculty or staff.
    5. Students who intend to participate in a serving society experience to satisfy the Serving Society; Enacting Justice general education requirement should verify that the General Education Committee has approved the specific option being considered.
  3. Expectations related to internship/practicum-based serving society learning: Depending on the number of units and departmental goals, internships should conform to the following guidelines.
    1. A maximum of 12 units of practicum credit may be applied toward the degree. This includes student teaching, practicum field experience (includes San Francisco Urban Studies internships, E&B IBI programs, etc.), elective internships and service learning internships.
    2. All practicum work must be conducted under the oversight of both an academically qualified Westmont supervisor and a professionally qualified on-site supervisor. Depending on departmental goals and expectations, the academic supervisor should maintain ongoing contact with the on-site supervisor and conduct at least one on-site visit.
    3. In order to receive academic credit for a service learning internship/practicum, a student must file a completed Internship/Practicum Learning Agreement Form (ILAF) with the Director of Internships and Practica within the first four weeks of the semester.
    4. Early in the semester, a Learning Plan or Contract must be in place. In the case of a formal internship program within a department, this may consist of the course syllabus. In all other cases, the student should develop the plan in consultation with the practicum supervisor. This plan should include:
      1. The goals for the semester including both academic and service-related goal
      2. The resources used and activities performed (including assigned readings).
      3. The means by which work will be evaluated.
    5. As a general rule, a student earns one unit for every three hours-per-week of on-site work. The amount of on-site work should be reduced in cases where significant additional writing, reading or class attendance is required.
    6. A student should meet with the Westmont academic supervisor at least twice for each unit of credit.
    7. Every student doing a service learning practicum should produce a final project in the form of a portfolio or a term paper. Each intern is encouraged to use the final project as the basis for an oral presentation in which the student substantiates the learning activities performed during the practicum. The portfolio should include, but is not limited to:
      1. The learning contract.
      2. Journals or logs.
      3. Documentation of learning/work accomplished.
    8. The on-site supervisor will provide a written evaluation of the student’s work
    9. All work must be performed in the term for which the student is enrolled.
    10. No incompletes may be given unless the original internship plan specified work that extended beyond the end of the semester.