Awareness and Use of Academic Service-Learning and Community-Based Research among St. John's College Faculty
Barrett Brenton, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Abstract: This presentation provides preliminary results of an Academic Service-Learning Faculty Survey. A ten question online survey was administered during the first few weeks of the spring 2008 semester to full-time faculty in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. They were asked questions about their use of and familiarity with academic service-learning (AS-L) and community-based research (C-BR). From this opportunistic sample nearly 30% of the college faculty completed the survey (N=69). Ninety percent of respondents were familiar with AS-L and 54% had used in the past. However, only 24% reported using AS-L in the fall 2007 semester and only 30% planned to integrate it into their spring 2008 courses. Far fewer faculty were familiar with community-based research (36%) and had integrated related projects into their courses (13%). By and large, St. John’s College faculty were interested in learning more about AS-L (51%) and C-BR (69%). In addition, open-ended comments were given by 33% of the respondents. This qualitative information has been especially important for addressing faculty concerns, perceived impediments, and targeting outreach and training. Overall, the survey reflects a continued need for raising faculty awareness about both opportunities and navigating the logistics of integrating academic service-learning into the classroom, and developing community-based research opportunities. It is also clear that forums should be further developed to create a dialogue with faculty about the student-centered orientation of the experience and its importance in fulfilling the University’s Vincentian mission. A more complete analysis of the report is forthcoming and will be available to the University community.