Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Service Learning Programs

Interdisciplinary Seminar
Service Courses
Contact Information

The central idea with service-learning is that students are testing the concepts of their courses (e.g. in the humanities) or practicing the skills of a course (e.g. languages or sciences) through experience in the community.  This experience is in service to an underrepresented or marginalized group.  Thus, service-learning ought to benefit both the student who learns course materials through additional methods, exposure and experience, and the community agency where the student volunteers his/her time.

All placements in service agencies are arranged through the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice where a partnership has already been established in the community.  The Center aids students in finding a site appropriate to a particular course and establishing contact for volunteer placement.

Currently, Fordham has service-learning initiatives across the disciplines in a variety of forms, including:

Interdisciplinary Seminar

Aligned with Fordham’s mission as a Jesuit university, service-learning aims to form students in a “well-educated solidarity” (Jesuit Conference 2002, “Communal Reflection on the Jesuit Mission in Higher Education”) and to provide an opportunity to apply academic resources to the work of social justice.  The Service-Learning Interdisciplinary Seminar brings together community service, reflection and course work.

To become a participant of the service-learning program for any given semester, a student must:
1.  Choose the course and service agency with which you would like to partner (Service-Learning staff assists in each student's placement at an agency).
2.  Pick up a service-learning agreement from the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice (Rose Hill-McGinley 101, Lincoln Center-SL-18A) and discuss connections between service and the course with a Service-Learning staff member.
3.  Discuss connections between service and the course with instructor: get instructor's approval and have the instructor sign the agreement.
4.  Discuss the agreement with the agency supervisor, who must also sign the agreement.
5.  Make a copy of the agreement for your own records and return the original to the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice by the agreement deadline.

Students in the Interdisciplinary Seminar volunteer in the local community and connect this to the work of a course in which they are enrolled.  The faculty member teaching this course serves as their service-learning mentor, while  students across the disciplines come together at the Interdisciplinary Seminar meetings organized through the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice.

Requirements include:
•    3-5 hours of community service a week, totally at least 30 hours a semester
•    Five interdisciplinary seminar meetings which take place on Thursdays throughout the semester
•    Service-learning Luncheon
•    2 integrative essays
•    Seminar readings and reflections (via Blackboard)
•    Any other requirements added by your professor.

Within the seminar, students examine the following topics:
Seminar 1: Jesuit Education as Justice Education
Seminar 2: Introduction to the Bronx and Lincoln Center Community in Historical Perspective
Seminar 3: A Structural Look at the Systems in Society
Seminar 4: Race, History, and Community
Seminar 5: "A Well-Educated Solidarity"

Integrated Service Courses  
In this form of service-learning, the course is listed in the catalogue as a ‘service’ course, and students understand in advance that service hours in the community are required.  Thus, the service experience can be fully integrated into the methods of learning in the course and enhance classroom discussions. Generally, faculty members structure the course load so that service is balanced with reading and writing assignments. 

Analysis and discussion of the service experience can be facilitated within the classroom
Connection between curriculum and service experience can be continuously fostered
Students are able to closely examine the realities and issues of community residents on a weekly basis
Course is advertised as service inclusive course in the course book. 

Contact Information
We are interested in developing these initiatives and expanding the opportunities for service-learning at Fordham.  If you would like to be part of the conversation or have questions about taking part in one of the initiatives currently in place, please contact us:

Jeannine Hill-Fletcher, (Service Learning Faculty Director, Theology Department),
Sandra Lobo Jost, (Center for Service and Justice Director),
Justin Freitas (Associate Coordinator at Rose Hill, x4510),
Kathy Crawford (Associate Coordinator at Lincoln Center, x7464),

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