FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM THE COMMUNITY

Why are students coming to the community?
Students are coming to your organization with a dual purpose – to have a community-based learning experience, and to provide service. The students are each in a specific course, with learning goals that match that course. For example, students in a child growth and development course will need to spend their time directly interacting with children.

What will the students do for our organization?
The role the students will play varies from one organization to the next. You determine where you see a need that students can address, and then discuss it with faculty members or service learning staff to determine if that role provides good academic learning opportunities for the students. Some examples include: a student studying psychology could be a mentor for someone with cognitive disabilities; a student in women’s studies could assist with programs for women; a student studying leadership could organize a special event for a community organization; a student studying health education could run an after-school gym program; students studying research methods could do research on behalf of an organization.

Is there anything that students cannot do for the organization?
Students are there to provide service and have a positive learning opportunity. All duties should relate to these dual goals. Spending hours photocopying may be a valid service to the organization, but it will not provide a learning opportunity. Students should not be involved in any high risk activities or any activities for which they are not adequately trained.

How much time will students spend at my organization?
The time commitment varies with the size of the job you need done, and the course the student is taking. It’s common for students to spend 1 ½ -2 hours per week over a 12 week term. It is also possible to do larger or smaller projects.

What is my organization’s responsibility to the students?
The organization is responsible to provide orientation and supervision for the student. Orientation will vary from one organization to another, but should include an introduction to the organization, its mandate, policies and services, a tour, introduction to other staff or volunteers, discussion of confidentiality, discussion of the student’s role. Supervision will also vary depending on the site and the duties of the student. Supervision may be on site each day or can be a weekly or bi-weekly contact to be sure that all is going well. Assign one person as the ‘site supervisor’. The student then knows who he/she would turn to with questions or concerns.

Are there any forms to fill out?
The student will have a Service Learning Agreement Form to complete, which will outline his/her responsibilities and learning goals. You will be asked to review this form and sign it. A few students will also have a form from their professor asking for your specific feedback on that student’s performance. Finally, at the end of the term, the service learning office sends out a questionnaire asking for feedback on the overall experience.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Megan Turner, Service Learning Program Manager at 902-867-2563, mpturner@stfx.ca

Arlynne McGrath, Community Support Coordinator at  902-867-3757, amcgrath@stfx.ca