As a service learner it is important to remember that you are not only representing yourself as a student, but you are representing Monroe Community College.
- Treat your service as you would treat paid employment. Make sure to arrive on time. Tardiness is unprofessional and inconvenient to the site supervisor. Clothing should always be neat and professional. Ask what the dress code is if it has not already been mentioned.
- If you are working directly with individuals who your community site serves, make sure to obtain and maintain professional communication. Educate individuals about your role at the community site and for how long you will be there. Remember, this is a professional relationship.
- Make sure to take notice of the strengths in the community and how those strengths can be adapted to meet needs in the community.
- Develop and maintain a good professional rapport with those you work with. Be trustworthy, respectful and non-judgmental.
- Communicate with your site supervisor and your professor. If any situation arises that you have questions or concerns about, make sure to address them before it becomes unmanageable. Be proactive!
- Always keep in mind how you can tie course objectives to your service-learning experience.
- Plan a schedule with your site supervisor and stick to it. Any changes in your scheduled hours should be communicated with your site supervisor.
- Keep track of the number of hours you are at your site on your time log. This log must be turned into your professor.
- Ask questions at your site if you don’t understand something or want to know about it.
- Confidentiality! Make sure you maintain it. If you have questions about what information can and cannot be shared, ask about the policy of the community site. Don’t ever give out specific information about another person.
All community sites must conduct an on-site orientation. This is an opportunity to provide information and instruction to the student(s). It is important that students become familiar with your agency and staff, understand their responsibilities, learn about your policies and attend any necessary training. The more information that you can cover during the on-site orientation, the more prepared student(s) will be to work at your agency. Please encourage them to ask questions and give them feedback about appropriate behavior at the site.
The following are some suggestions for what you may want to include in your on-site orientation:
- Agency Information: Educate the student(s) about your organization: Whom do you serve? What are the demographics? How are you funded? What is your mission? What is your philosophy?
- Staff: Who are some of the staff and what are their positions? Is there any jargon or language generally used by staff that students would want to know?
- Provide a List of Contacts/Numbers: Please list people/agencies that will be useful for students in doing their work.
- Responsibilities: What is expected of the student(s)? Describe the role student(s) play in your agency. How will their performances be appraised?
- Policies: Sign-in/out, dress code, office rules.
- Training: If any is needed, what kind and when?
- Final Product: What is the final goal for your agency that is expected from the student(s) by end of service?
- Scheduling: What are your agency’s hours of operation? When should students complete their service? When will you meet with students during the semester to review work they have done independently?
- Supervision: It is important that all service-learning students have a contact person at the community site who will supervise them. The amount of time each student will need supervision will depend on the project or service activity. Students may be allowed to work independently without specific activities assigned each visit. When structured this way, supervision time can be more effectively used for questions and feedback. If the assigned site supervisor will not be available for any reason, please make sure the student has another site representative available if needed.
It is important to remember that students are not volunteers. Students are here to meet community needs, but they are also using this experience to enhance their learning of the college course material. Students are receiving academic credit for learning through their service efforts. Your assistance in helping service learners think about what their experience means to them and how it relates to their coursework is very valuable.
- Sign-In Procedure: Students are required to have a sign-in time log completed every time they come to your agency (if applicable). We ask students to have their site supervisor or someone from your agency initial their time log during each visit.
- Identification: Provide students with identification from your agency or require students to have their MCC identification available.
- Modeling: The site supervisors become part of the student’s image of what it means to be a professional in the world of work. Often the interpersonal relations that develop between a supervisor and a student are among the most significant parts of the student’s experience. Taking an interest in the student, his/her activities and sharing feelings and interests beyond the work situation can be very helpful.