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Thayne Center for Service & Learning

Assessment Summaries

Completed by the Thayne Center for Service & Learning

Our most recent Annual Impact Summary


Thayne Center for Service & Learning Annual Assessment Highlights
Curtis Larsen, Director
Lesa Bird, Administrative Assistant
Sean Crossland, Assistant Director/ Community Partnerships Coordinator
Lynne McCue-Hamilton, Community Work-study Coordinator
Brandon Devlin, Service-Leadership Coordinator
Lucy Smith, Service-Learning Coordinator
Jessie Winitzky-Stephens, Statistical Analyst

Program Evaluation: Community Partner Outreach
Alternative Breaks Final Report
Service-Learning Survey Report

The Thayne Center highlights three primary assessments for the 2015-2016 year: Community Partner Outreach Program Evaluation, Alternative Breaks Final Report, and the Service-Learning Survey Report. It should be noted that the Thayne Center experienced many substantial staffing changes during the year: the Service-Learning program migrated from the Thayne Center to being managed by the Associate Provost of Learning Advancement, the former Director left the college in August 2015, reorganization of the Division of Student Affairs removed the dedicated Director position, assigning some responsibility to the Assistant Vice President for Student Life (who serves a triple-role of Director of Student Life & Leadership, Director of the Thayne Center, and Assistant Vice President for Student Life) and some responsibility to the newly created Assistant Director position. The Community Partnerships Coordinator role was filled by the Interim/ Assistant Director from August 2015 until June 2016. 

Program Evaluation: Community Partner Outreach
The first assessment was performed by a team of graduate students from University of Utah’s Masters of Public Policy Program. The evaluation examined the perceived effectiveness of the Community Partnerships Program’s ability to expand the capacity of its partner organizations. The most notable takeaway from this evaluation was the team’s adamant opinion that the program is viewed as very accessible and highly valued by the organizations. The evaluation also provided recommendations that will be useful to provide a framework for the newly hired Community Partnerships Coordinator. These recommendations include streamlining communications, modifying the workshop series requirements, continue engaging faculty, promote events that add value to organizations, and revise the Tier III requirements. We plan to continue an annual assessment of this program.

Alternative Breaks Final Report
At first glance, it may appear that the Alternative Breaks Program is diminishing. Brandon Devlin was hired as Service-Leadership Coordinator in July 2015. In the 2014-2015 year, the Alternative Breaks program was managed by delegation to several staff members, one of which was not in the Thayne Center. Brandon assumed responsibility of an unhealthy program that was functioning at the minimum level necessary to be considered Alternative Breaks. 

In reality, 2015-2016 marks a new era in the Alternative Breaks at SLCC. Student trip leaders have assumed much more responsibility in the overall planning, development, and implementation of each trip. This will create a competitive process for student leaders to participate in this opportunity to hone their skills and allow for a stronger peer-to-peer connection. These students will receive trainings and leadership development throughout the year. With these changes comes a stronger emphasis on re-orientation and post-trip service. We are also reexamining what role the Alternative Breaks Program plays in the larger mission of the Thayne Center and SLCC. 

Service-Learning Survey Report
While the Service-Learning Program no longer reports to the Thayne Center, our work is still interwoven. Each semester, the Service-Learning Program administers a survey to students, faculty, and community partners involved in service-learning courses. 

Unfortunately, the student survey yielded a 2% response rate making the data inconclusive. 

Faculty surveys yielded a 24% response rate, making us somewhat confident in the findings. Faculty were overwhelmingly positive toward service-learning and its effect on students and the community. However, less than half of faculty members plan to highlight their service-learning work in rank and tenure documents. The majority of faculty provided students with a list of approved partners, though students were occasionally responsible for finding their own. The majority of respondents express belief in the efficacy of service-learning as a pedagogical tool. In addition, most believed it contributes to students’ personal growth. Half were teaching courses already designated service-learning by a previous instructor. One respondent who selected “Other” relayed that they were attracted to service-learning because of positive experiences with it when they were a student. All respondents required students to engage in at least one or two critical reflection activities. More than half required five or more such assignments from students. Respondents expressed a high level of concern about the challenges and difficulties they faced. Time and lack of support (both financial and from senior leadership) were most likely to be major concerns. The unpredictable nature of community work was a somewhat lesser concern, but also figured prominently. The rich responses included in the open-ended questions may prove to be of greatest value.

The Community Partner surveys yielded a 16% response rate. Since we have no way of ensuring respondents were representative of the population, caution must be used in generalizing findings to all service-learning community partners. Community partners reported working on a variety of issues. Youth and families was the issue most commonly supported by respondents, followed by health care and education. The majority of partners worked with very few students, though one worked with as many as 45. The average for all fifteen respondents was 8.07. Nearly half of respondents had participated as an SLCC service-learning partner for 3-5 years, while 40% had been involved for less than three years. Overall, respondents had positive experiences with SLCC service-learning. A large majority felt students contributed high quality work to their organization, and only a few felt students increased their own workload.


Thayne Center for Service & Learning Annual Assessment Highlights
Gail Jessen, Director
Lesa Bird, Administrative Assistant
Sean Crossland, Community Partnerships Coordinator
Lynne McCue-Hamilton, Community Work-study Coordinator
Lucy Smith, Service-Learning Coordinator

In 2014-2015 we coordinated nine community based student leadership programs that engaged 5,307 students in 125,564 hours of service, a contribution valued at $2,896,767 (per Independent Sector). Our collaborations with faculty led to 253 service-learning courses that engaged 5,068 students in 107,522 hours of service. Thirty-four students used their work-study financial aid funding to work as literacy tutors in two Title I elementary schools and at the YMCA. Students in the America Reads program served 12,609 hours and earned $153,081 in federal aid. On four different Alternative Break trips, 71 volunteers spent 1,699 hours building trails, restoring streams, planting crops with the Hopi, and caring for animals at Best Friends sanctuary. We also graduated the largest class of Civically Engaged Scholars in the history of the program at 42 students. Over the course of 65 sponsored projects and events, 487 students served 6,488 hours in our community.


Thayne Center for Service & Learning Program Review Strategic Action Plan
Gail Jessen, Director
Lesa Bird, Administrative Assistant
Sean Crossland, Community Partnerships Coordinator
Lynne McCue-Hamilton, Community Work-study Coordinator
Lucy Smith, Service-Learning Coordinator
Linnie Spor, Service Leadership Coordinator

As a continuation of our inaugural Program Review (2012-2013), our assessment for 2013-2014 was the implementation of our Strategic Action Plan. All department staff worked collaboratively to review our PR Self-study and PR Site Visit Team Report, specifically the recommendations for change. At that point we collaboratively established a strategic plan for every program in the department. Staff were responsible to report on their progress a number of times throughout the year, with a final report compiled in June 2014. The report is authored by every staff member, per the program(s) they coordinate. Even Student Services considers our Program Review process as officially over until 2018, the strategic plan continues to guide our work, the development of our programs, and the efforts to institutionalize service-learning across the disciplines.

Program Review Action Plan – Final Report FY14


Thayne Center for Service & Learning Inaugural Program Review 2012-2013
Gail Jessen, Director

Throughout 2012-2013 the Thayne Center engaged in a comprehensive review of our entire department, producing a self-study and strategic plan, as well as hosting an external review team. The full structure of SLCC's Student Services Program Review is explained on the Vice President's home page. All three phases of our Program Review examined the Thayne Center’s successes and challenges against our three-fold mission: 1) Establish capacity-building relationships with community organizations; 2) Facilitate service-learning development opportunities for faculty; and 3) Coordinate service leadership programs for students who are out to change the world. We also accept a larger, more institutional responsibility in our work. “Appeals for action in higher education are sounding a call for a renewal of civic mission while simultaneously reinventing approaches to teaching, learning, epistemology, and engagement” (Hoy, 2012). With this systemic focus, and in order to fulfill our mission and support the College as it fulfills its civic mission, we must dedicate sufficient resources, skill, and passion to each of the dimensions of our mission. This involves stakeholders at every level of the institution and from our surrounding communities. Our Program Review Action plan outlines a multi-year strategy with this focus in mind.


Teach Me To Organize: Thayne Center for Service & Learning Annual Assessment 2011-2012
Gail Jessen, Director

This year we focused our assessment on two specific programs: Alternative Spring Break (ASB) and America Reads. We've always claimed that students who spend their spring break with us, as opposed to a week napping on the shore in Cancun, are transformed into civically engaged leaders. Transformed. We really do say that. This year, we decided it was time to prove it. We also decided it was time to challenge the notion that a work-study job is unrelated to the development of ethical thinking skills and the appreciation of human differences. Can a work-study job really produce those outcomes? Yes. Ours did.


Empowering Leaders: Thayne Center for Service & Learning Annual Assessment 2010-2011
Gail Jessen, Director

I imagine you've heard the phrase "tomorrow's leaders." As someone who directs a center responsible for service-learning and student leadership development, you might think I'd use that phrase all the time. To be honest with you, it actually bothers me. I find it misleading and even unsettling. Some contend that leadership is an allusive concept, a set of characteristics and skills difficult to quantify; yet many of our assessments this year attempt to do just that.


Learning to Serve. Serving to Learn: Thayne Center for Service & Learning Annual Assessment Report 2009-2010
Gail Jessen, Director

2009-2010 was an exceptional year. It was a year of exceptional challenges and a year of exceptional accomplishments. More students than ever before were engaged with our community and we tracked record-breaking statistics in nearly every program we coordinate. Our 2009-2010 assessment efforts focused specifically on four programs: Service Council, Alternative Spring Break, Service-Learning, and Community Partnerships.


Supporting Engaged Learning through Student, Community, and Faculty Programs: Thayne Center for Service & Learning Annual Assessment Report
Betsy Ward, Director

During 2008-2009, the Thayne Center focused on assessing four areas: student participation, student learning, community partnerships, and faculty support. This report details assessment results and progress in each of these areas.


Annual Program Assessment, 2007-2008
Betsy Ward, Director

This assessment includes an overall look at student programs and faculty development programs coordinated by the Thayne Center for Service & Learning during the 2007-2008 academic year. It also examines GPA and graduation data for past Thayne Center students, 2003-2007.


Thayne Center Assessment of Student Programs
Betsy Ward, Director

The Thayne Center’s 2006-2007 assessment report includes an in-depth look at students in all of its programs. For example, participants ranged in age from 17-58, 24% were part-time, and 19.5% were ethnic minorities. The report also includes qualitative data about students’ service experiences, drawn from focus groups, and quantitative data about student learning outcomes, which came from surveys.


Service-Learning Class Evaluations, 2005-2006
Dr. Kyle Ryan, University of Utah

This assessment examined student evaluations and community partner evaluations for the following newly-designated service-learning courses: Education 1400, Education 2020, Education 2600, Math 1050, Math 1220, Learning Essentials 1020, Learning Essentials 1220, English 2010, and Barbering/Cosmetology 2410.

Engaging the Campus, Connecting with the Community
Betsy Ward, Director

From 2003-2006, the Thayne Center for Service & Learning had a $345,000 Learn and Serve America grant. Through this grant, the Thayne Center established a formal service-learning program, developed student-led initiatives, and further developed community partnerships. This publication documents the growth of service programs at Salt Lake Community College during the grant period.

Final Service-Learning Evaluation for Learn and Serve America Grant
Dr. Kyle Ryan, University of Utah

This evaluation triangulated data from service-learning students, faculty, and community partners over the three-year grant period to complete an overall picture of designated service-learning courses.


Student Assessment of Pilot Service-Learning Classes
Dr. Frank Cooney

In Fall 2004, three faculty taught service-learning courses based on the new designation criteria formalized by SLCC in Spring 2004. This report details the results of student evaluations for these pilot courses: History 1700, History 2700, and Political Science 1100. This assessment also includes self-reflections written by the faculty members, Dr. David Hubert, Marianne McKnight, and Dawn Martindale.

Student Assessment of Occupational Therapy Assistant Service-Learning Classes
Dr. Frank Cooney

In 2004, the Occupational Therapy Assistant program became the first Engaged Campus at SLCC. This report examines course evaluations from four OTA service-learning classes.

Service-Learning and Non-Service Class Impacts on the Political Values and Attitudes Underlying Civic Engagement
Dr. Frank Cooney

This comparative study of political attitudes and civic engagement measures involved 1,331 service-learning and non-service-learning students. The evaluator compared students in 41 non-service-learning sections of history and political science courses with students in four service-learning sections of the same classes, using a pre-/post-test format.

Assessment Summary: Community Work-Study and Student Volunteer Programs
Betsy Ward, with focus groups led by Dr. Frank Cooney and Rod Romboy

This assessment compares data on these programs with that collected the previous year.


Research Note: Service-Learning Experience
Dr. Frank Cooney

This preliminary evaluation involved thirteen faculty members who identified themselves as teaching service-learning courses before a formal service-learning designation process existed at SLCC. The faculty viewed this pedagogy primarily as a way for students to learn course material and have a real-world connection.

Assessment Summary: Community Work-Study and Student Volunteer Programs
Betsy Ward, with focus groups led by Dr. Frank Cooney

This baseline assessment provides both quantitative and qualitative data about Thayne Center student programs.

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