Instructors & Facilitators

This is a two semester, one credit each semester, graded course fulfilling the requirement for all members of the Sophomore Service Learning Community.  The course content includes readings, class discussions, written assignments and yearlong service placement.  The seminar will cover issues related to a variety of service placements and issues that affect the people with whom we serve.  Topics such as inequities in education, racism and segregation, poverty and illiteracy and differing abilities will be covered in the seminar. This seminar is the integrating component to your academic course and your service and the community.   Students receive a grade each semester for the seminar.

Students are encouraged to

  • Use Knowledge gained through course and fourth reading, class lecture and experience in the community to reflect with others.
  • Allow the integration of knowledge and experience to affect your worldview through critical reflection.  “Critical reflection requires, “moving beyond the acquisition of new knowledge and understanding into questioning of existing assumptions, values and perspectives.  Cranton 1996  Cranton, P. Professional Development as Transformative Learning: New Perspectives for Teachers of Adults. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996.
  • Raise questions
  • Challenge self and others
  • Be open


  • Active participation in fourth hour seminar includes preparation and discussion based on readings assigned for seminar, course content and service.
  • One Community Action Project due April  2014  
  • Full participation in SLC is a condition for living in Alumni Hall.
  • Please read rubric for grading so you know what is expected.
  • Please Keep cell phones off and away from your line of vision
  • For information pertaining to service, special events a weekly newsletter is sent to all members of SLC.  You are responsible for information in the “SCOOP.”  If you are not receiving the SCOOP please let us know.

Required Text

Readings for each week will be on the Sophomore Service Learning Community Website-- see fourth hour readings


Why do we call it an integrating seminar?

You will be making connections between reading, experience through dialogue and discussion.  The connections will be important in understanding yourself, others in the SL community and a bit more about the lives of those with whom you serve.    Your role in life at present is to be a learner.  The most important think you can do as a learner is to raise questions.  Through service learning you learn for the sake of others, so that you may grow in understanding of what it means to be poor or alienated/marginalized because of your socio-economic status, physical or intellectual abilities.  


Guidelines for Discussion ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT in class are the best way to be successful in this course.


  • Listen ask questions, challenge ideas.
  • Lean into discomfort
  • Be Honest, sharing what you feel/think and why you feel/think that way.
  • Raise Questions: The questions you raise may be more important than the answers
  • If you don't understand something, or if you have concerns, ask your instructor or student facilitator. 
    • Be fully present in every class session
    • Participate in every class session
    • Take chances, volunteer, share your views
    • When participating, share Why you think/feel What you think/feel
  • Each group will make up their own additional guidelines for their group including these principles


Some ground rules for class:

  • Attendance.    Since this course is primarily experiential in nature, you need to attend all classes.  Students who have more than TWO unexcused absences will NOT PASS the class.  Your instructor will determine whether an absence is excused or unexcused.
  • Assignments are in the syllabus
  • Journal: each week you will be given a journal prompt.  You do not need to respond to all the prompts. 
  • Written Assignments:  All written assignments are turned into your instructor in the format that your instructor approves.
  • Comfort zone. Some of the material may be new and different, and will touch on sensitive subjects such as religion, politics, poverty and race.  If you are in any way uncomfortable with anything that comes up, please let a member of the leadership team know
  • Copies of work. Please keep copies of all the work that you submit for the entire course.
  • Disabilities. Villanova seeks to make reasonable academic accommodations for students with disabilities. If you are a person with a disability, please contact me outside of class, and make arrangements to register with the Learning Support Office (610-519-5636;  
  • Academic Integrity.  There will be a number of short reaction papers or other assignments for this class.  These will be based on your experience and the materials covered in the course. In producing these works, you are expected to follow the normal rules of academic integrity regarding plagiarism and collaboration.  If you for some reason do consult any other sources in preparing any of these papers, you must include footnotes and a formal bibliography, following the principles laid out in Easy Writer by Andrea Lunsford, which is required for your ACS Seminar.  You are free to share your thoughts and journal and reflections with others at any time regarding the reading for this course.  Discussion outside the classroom is highly encouraged provided your written assignments are your own work.
  • Final Grade.  You will receive a grade for fall semester in December and in May for Spring Semester.


Calendar of Events for SLC

Saturday, August 24



Garey Hall

Sunday August 25



Garey Hall or Ropes Course

Tuesday, September 3           


Fourth hour begins

3rd floor lounge or Peace and Justice

Friday, September 27


**School of the Future day on campus.

Garey Hall??

Monday, October 28



ShreHup film and panel

Driscoll Hall Auditorium

November    4    



Community Partnership Dinner

Villanova Room

Friday, December 6


Last Friday or Weekend service


Monday,  December 9    


Last fourth hour 


Thursday, December 6


Last day of Service Monday through Thursday


Tuesday, January 14


Community Meeting

CAP project overview

Driscoll Hall


MLK Jr. Lecture  (Jan)


SLC lecture

Villanova Room

Friday, April 18 or 25


***Community Partnership day

CAP project presentations




*Community Partnership Dinner   Teachers, agency directors, partner  liaisons to join us for dinner and a panel, we learn about their needs, a  little about why things are the way they  are as well as the impact of Villanova SLC service for them and their students or constituents.


**School of the Future Day on Campus: The students who you will mentor throughout the year will be on campus.  The Entrepreneurship club will have orientation to the club. Other students will have a series of workshops based on the needs as they are articulated by our faculty and staff at School of the Future.


***Community Partnership Day April 25 All the children in elementary and high schools with whom we serve are invited to a day on campus. This is a day to make students feel comfortable, welcome in a college environment.  We have fun, food and educational workshops.  You are asked to participate in these workshops with the students and be around to end your year with the students you worked with all year.

Note re Cristo Rey students: If you are serving with Cristo Rey. A day on campus will be planned and implemented for students on a Saturday as Cristo Rey students are not available on a Friday.  SLC will plan this day alongside Caritas Community.     

Events you might be interested in attending

  • Wednesday, August 28   Re-enactment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” Speech
  • Service Break experience Applications –See Campus Ministry Web site for Application deadlines.
  • September 28           Villanova’s Day of Service We Strongly encourages you to participate in the day of service.
  • November 8-10  tentative   Sophomore at the ½ retreat—Student Development
  • November  18-22          Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
  • January 20th         MLK Day of Service



Participation in Fourth Hour:              70 points

Written Work                                      30 points

You may miss one homework assignment without penalty. 


Participation:  This course is different from other courses and will require different skills.   It is a discussion based course so   70% of your grade is dependent on the quantity and the quality of your contributions in fourth hour.  See rubric below.  To receive points you must demonstrate that you are actively involved listening and contributing to the conversation with evidence that you have read the assigned readings. 

Written Work:  Each written assignment will be given 1-5 points.

3 points:  Insightful, relevant and thoughtful

2 points:  Good, relevant and shows understanding of purpose of the assignment

1 point:    Average work

0 points:  work no completed with competence and must be re-done to gain any points.

  • You may miss one assignment without penalty
  • Consequences for work that is turned in late is up to your instructor and leadership team.

CAP Projects:  Community Action Project (CAP Project)

This is a project that is designed and implemented by students at a particular service site that meets the need of the school or agency with whom your serve as defined by that agency or school.  A CAP project may also be designed to educate the Villanova Community about an issue that you are dealing with in the community. (i.e., homelessness, illiteracy)  CAP projects are presented at the end of the year celebration dinner, April 23, 2014.  Each group has a budget of $100 toward the implementation of their CAP project.  

Cap projects are not graded.  They are part of your commitment to service site.  See description and due dates in this syllabus.


Rubric for Evaluating Class Participation

Reflection is key to service learning.  You will be evaluated on your participation in fourth hour.  Your ability to talk and to listen, to be present and attentive to what other people are saying is important.  We hope that you will be ready for some of your ideas to be challenged and to challenge the ideas of others.  Sometimes it’s not how much you say but the connections you make, the ability to think critically and deepen the conversation for all students. 


Your instructor and Teaching Assistants will give you marks for participation each week. 


Strong work

 4-5 points

Needs development

2-3 points


0-2 points


Actively and respectfully
listens to peers leadership and instructor. Connects personal comments to the comments of others in the group.

Sometimes displays  lack of interest in comments of peers

Projects lack of interest or disrespect for peers


Arrives fully prepared at every session with notes on readings observations and questions.  Student refers to response to journal questions.

Sometimes arrives unprepared or with only superficial preparation

Exhibits little evidence of having read assigned material

Frequency of participation

Comments reflect understanding of reading and the remarks/insights of other students each week.

Sometimes participates but at other times seems “tuned out”

Seldom participates

Quality of contributions

Complex application, understanding and articulation of knowledge connected to community based experience.  Raises relevant questions for the group and for themselves.

Comments sometimes betray lack of preparation or lack “other perspective. Shows some empathy  and/or deeper observation but lacks context or application

Comments reflect little understanding of either the assignment or previous remarks consistent self centered perspective.

Impact on seminar

Comments frequently advance the seminar through challenge, questions or making connections between course work, service and content of seminar.

Comments sometimes advance the conversation, but sometimes are tangential.

Comments do not advance the conversation or are actively harmful to it