Service-Learning Course Proposal

EMAIL ON 12/12/2016 FROM: David Manderscheid, Executive Dean and Vice Provost

I am pleased to issue once again this year a call for proposals for the development of new undergraduate service-learning courses in the College of Arts and Sciences. Service-learning is widely recognized as a “high-impact” educational practice, creating a mutually beneficial collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global). Service-learning courses epitomize OSU’s motto, Disciplina in civitatem, Education for Citizenship, creating a meaningful, real-world, multidirectional transfer of skills and knowledge among students, faculty, and community partners. 

Ohio State started the Service-Learning Initiative ( in 1999. In May 2007, the Council on Academic Affairs approved the proposal for policies and procedures for listing service-learning courses with an “S” suffix. This addition makes it easier for students to locate service-learning courses and provides standards for course design across the university. Now, more than 80 service-learning courses are offered  in nearly 40 departments across the university. With the more recent creation of the STEP Program, as well as the Open Option category of the General Education curriculum through which students can fulfill a General Education requirement through an approved service-learning course, the College of Arts and Sciences is now taking a leading role in the expansion of valuable service-learning opportunities for our students.  


Service-Learning is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students (a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs, and (b) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility. 

For the purposes of this grant, we want to distinguish clearly between service-learning, as defined here, and other forms of University-sanctioned civic engagement or volunteerism that are not course-based or credit-bearing and not part of the University’s curricular offerings, but which may be organized and/or promoted through the Office of Student Life or through student organizations. Also, for the purposes of this grant, proposed courses should be undergraduate (2000-4000-level) or dual career (5000-level) courses.  

Overview of Grants 

The grants for service-learning course development are intended to encourage and support the work needed to develop and sustain new service-learning courses that will become a regular part of each department's offerings. The expectation is that once fully approved, courses will be offered at regular intervals of no longer than every two years. Faculty members whose service-learning course proposals are accepted will receive either (a) a one-course release from teaching or (b) a summer stipend (equivalent to 1/9th salary) in order to fully develop the proposed course (including securing a commitment from one or more participating community partners). In case option (a) is chosen, those faculty members’ TIUs will be compensated at the lecturer rate to offset the cost of the grant recipients’ course release.  In addition, for either option, once the proposed courses are successfully developed and taught for the first time, the College of Arts and Sciences will award the offering faculty members a one-time stipend of $2,000. Minimum enrollment levels for the initial offering will be governed by the offering faculty members’ TIUs, in compliance with Faculty Rule 3335-8-16(A). Finally, the College will also establish a service-learning resource fund to which instructors of service-learning courses will be able to apply for funding to cover such incidental implementation costs as student transportation or materials needed to assure that enrolled students do not incur additional costs (beyond standard student expenditures for textbooks, etc.).  Money awarded from this fund will be based on student enrollment and budgets proposed by the offering faculty.  

Grant Application and Selection Process

To apply for an ASC grant for a new service-learning course proposal, interested faculty must complete the attached ASC Service-Learning Grant Application Form and submit it via e-mail together with all the required supplementary materials as a single PDF document to Linda Hood, Executive Assistant to Associate Executive Dean Steven Fink, 114 University Hall ( The deadline for grant proposals to be reviewed during the 2016-2017 review cycle is Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

I will then charge the ASC Curriculum Committee with reviewing the submitted service-learning course proposals for service-learning grants. Up to 5 courses may be selected each year, ideally from a variety of disciplines. As noted above, faculty whose courses are selected will each receive either (a) a one-course release from teaching or (b) a summer stipend, to more fully develop the course to the point where it can be submitted for inclusion in the course catalog. If the course-release option is selected, the recipients’ TIUs will be compensated at the lecturer rate during this period to offset the cost of the course release.

Service-Learning Course Proposal [docx]

Subsequent Steps

Once the ASC Curriculum Committee has selected the service-learning courses for a grant, grant recipients will be personally contacted and given detailed instructions about the subsequent expectations and steps to be taken to insure that their proposed service-learning courses actually get on the books and are taught on a regular basis. For now, here is a brief overview of the subsequent steps:

  • Grant recipients will be encouraged to participate in the optional May/June 2017 Service-Learning Course Design Institute that we anticipate will again be offered by the Office of Service-Learning and UCAT (Dates TBD.)
  • Grant recipients should use their one-course release (to fully develop their course) within the 2017-2018 academic year (may be extended to 2018-2019 under special circumstances). Faculty who would prefer the summer-stipend option would be expected to work on developing their course during Summer 2017 (or Summer 2018 under special circumstances).
  • Grant recipients may find it beneficial to consult with the Office of Service-Learning for support in developing the service-learning component of the prospective course. At the end of the term during which the course-release or summer stipend is used, the faculty member will submit through the regular curricular approval channels a finalized course proposal including specific community partners confirmed, a full syllabus, and all the necessary documents for a new course with “S” suffix. The faculty member will work closely with his/her departmental curriculum committee (in particular, the department Director of Undergraduate Studies and/or curricular staff) and the ASC Curriculum and Assessment Services ( during this process. (Any new course can only be included in the university course catalog through submission in
  • As is the case for any new course proposal at the university, the new service-learning course will then be duly vetted by the College Curriculum Committee for inclusion in the course catalog. This will also include a review by the Office of Service-Learning, which approves requests for the “S” suffix university-wide.
  • Once the course has been added to the course catalog and is taught for the first time, the faculty member will receive a one-time honorarium of $2000 from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Questions can be directed to Associate Executive Dean Steven Fink (

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