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Program History

Boise State SL documents for starting a SL program (and historic docs)

Annual Reports

Boise State University has provided strong support for Service-Learning since the program’s inception in 1998.  To generate support to start the program, an Advisory Board started meeting in 1990. Membership included a dean, students, community partners, university staff and faculty, and Campus Compact appointees. This group of dedicated people met consistently through the years to develop grant and fee proposals. Their efforts generated the funds and the program foundation for Service-Learning at Boise State.

Significant milestones include:

1990-1992: Student leaders started the process of creating an SL program at Boise State. Began Investigating SL programs at other schools, such as Bennion Center at the University of Utah and the SL Program at Weber State. Generated interest from study body (ASBSU) president. Submitted first fee proposal.

1992-1993: Received first funding from university President and ASBSU. Created the charter for Volunteer Services Board (VSB, a student organization) and an Advisory Board. Second fee proposal fails.

1993-1995: Volunteer Services Board (VSB) functions with limited funding, yet student involvement grows and new activities are established. First Volunteer Fairs were produced, and VSB hosted its first Agency Workshop for 32 community agency representatives.

1995-1996: Service-Learning Program gets a boost do to a new university President that is pro-Service-Learning! Boise State joins Washington Campus Compact. VSB hires its first graduate assistant to help organize and run the SL component of VSB. Attended the NASPA and AmeriCorps conferences on SL. VSB began to network with other Idaho Schools.

1996-1997: Undertook a three month lobbying process to gain a dedicated student fee. The fifth fee proposal passed! The University and Board of Education approved the creation of a SL Coordinator position.

1997: Hired full-time Service-Learning Coordinator to oversee both SL and VSB.

1998: Proposal for “Service-Learning 4th Credit Option” is approved by the Idaho Board of Education.

1998-2001: New SL Coordinator is hired; she brought experience as the SL Coordinator of the University of Utah Bennion Center. Forty-four faculty and thirty-two community partners are recruited, and over 350 students participate in SL.

2001: Proposal for “Fully-Integrated” Service-Learning course models are approved by the Board of Education. BSU-SLP is awarded a $20,000 grant from Washington Campus Compact to support strategic planning, implementation, institutionalization, and evaluation of Service-Learning at Boise State. Staff included a Coordinator, graduate assistant, and two workstudy students.

2001-2002: SL Coordinator enhanced infrastructure and programming processes to allow for continued growth. Created policies and procedures to strengthen, sustain, and assess relationships with community partners, faculty, and students.

2002-2004: SL continued to grow at a rate of five new classes per semester. New university president made a priority of “Civic Engagement”. Concerns about program capacity emerged. Moved from Student Affairs to Academic Affairs. Began offering annual faculty institute on SL.

2005-2008: Expanded SL course offerings into new disciplines including science, business, engineering, and education. Made the case for additional funding to build capacity. Gradually hired two new SL staff to coordinate community partnerships and coordinate student support programs. The Provost moved Service-Learning under the jurisdiction of the new Center for Teaching and Learning, emphasizing SL faculty development while adding funds to cover SL workshops and a SL Faculty Liaison (one course buy-out per semester). The SL Program continued to grow at a rate of 10-15 new SL courses per year while promoting quality partnerships, enhancing faculty skills, and supporting student learning experiences. Full time SL coordinator became SL director.

2006-2009: Won a three year, $30,000 grant from Washington Campus Compact to promote SL in Engineering, Education, and with education policy makers.

2008: Student participant numbers surpassed 1,000 per semester, while the total number of Boise State students who have taken an SL class reached over 10,000 in Spring 2008. University leadership shifted the funding source from student tuition to state appropriation, signaling even greater institutionalization.

2009: SL Director began mentoring other SL Programs in Idaho. Grant funding provided one consultant to build web tools for students working with refugees, and one consultant to coordinate SL in K-12 schools and in pre-service teacher education. Offered monthly faculty workshops including international SL, scholarship of teaching and learning, and SL in promotion and tenure. Shifted more attention to SL classroom research and community-based research. Broncos win the Fiesta Bowl… again!

2010: The SLP obtained $40,000 of federal stimulus money this year to support students’ community involvement through the SLP’s growing number of “beyond service-learning” programs.

2011: SL student work showcased in “To Be of Service” Art Exhibition in April 7-May 23, 2011 in the Student Union Gallery.  The SL Program facilitated the expansion of service-learning offerings by 30%, from 120 sections to 152 sections and from 2,412 to 3,185 students.

2012: SL Orientation videos are launched and are a huge success even gaining national attention! The Corporation for National and Community Service highlighted the videos on their Facebook page and multiple universities have contacted us for permission to use them.

2013: Orgsync is launched as platform on which students register for projects, agencies manage registration, etc.  Also launched initiatives to expand SL in STEM, to support SoTL research, and to facilitate SL in UF200– the new core course required of all sophomores. Expanded Community Work-study program to 53 students at 16 community sites! Six new departments incorporated Service Learning components into their curriculum.  By year’s end, 134 classes were offering SL.

2014: Broncos win the Fiesta Bowl… for the 3rd time!  SL staff started teaching UF200, modeling SL in the required sophomore class; recruited VISTA to support SL and community engagement in UF200 courses. SL Director joined Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Service to promote volunteerism across Idaho.
Applied for Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement and national SL Honor Role– successfully!

2015-2016: Banner year for bringing new faculty to SL: 36 new faculty taught with SL!  SL involvement expanded to over 3,000 students, 94 faculty, and 163 SL courses.  Began exploring SL with new models: via “engaged departments” and with interdisciplinary “Vertically Integrated Projects.” Campus received Carnegie Designation for Community Engagement (for the second time!)

2016-2017: The Service-Learning (SL) staff hunkered down to focus on expanding SL opportunities, retaining faculty involvement, revising faculty development strategies, and promoting the use of SL best practices. We also focused on fostering a campus climate supportive of SL, gathering data about SL impacts, and assessing community partnerships.

2017-2018: In addition to supporting 93 faculty (a net increase of 5), 159 SL classes classes (an increase of 11%), 72 community partners (including 77 site visits), 2,830 students (including 32 classroom presentations), the SL staff explored new SL models and campus partnerships that would expand our capacity and to grow. We took a deep dive into design thinking and advocacy as new SL models, and launch initiatives around these models next year.