Fall 2017 Syllabus word document printable version

Service-Learning Community VEXP1000 CA Syllabus fall 17

“Before all else,” Augustine wrote, “you must live together harmoniously, in one heart and one in soul, on the way to God…Let all of you live together in unity of heart and mind, and honor God in one another.”  St. Augustine


Course Instructor:  ­

Student Facilitators: Place:  Basement Lounge in Good Counsel


VEXP 1000 is the integrating seminar of Caritas Community. This one credit seminar aka “Fourth Hour” is connected to your ACS course and has an out-of-class service component.  We are responding to a call from the ACLAMO to be consistent, trustworthy, reliable and loving assistants at an afterschool program for 1st -8th grade students in Norristown.  ACLAMO serves a in a low-income Latino Community in Norristown PA. 


The Caritas seminar is a one-credit course fall 17 and one credit spring semester 18.  You will receive a grade at the end of each semester.


Through this experience students will explore concepts related to poverty and discrimination as a lived experience and as part of a larger social structure.  You will have the opportunity to reflect on contemporary social justice issues that affect the families and community served by ACLAMO.  Service Learning is explicitly designed to promote learning about the historical, sociological, cultural, economic and political contexts that underlie the needs or issues the students address in the community.”  Barbara Jacoby, Service Learning Essential, Josey Bass 2015


Student Learning Objectives:   We are a community that seeks to serve the common good through acquisition of knowledge, action and reflection. 

  1. Integrate the service experience and classroom learning through reflective thinking.
  2. Engage in dialogue about the issues that affect the people we serve that takes seriously the perspective of others.
  3. Acknowledge and be critically aware of social narrative, policies and practices that hurt or harm the people we serve. 
  4. Discover and challenge normative assumptions about social reality that each of us has acquired. The learner will raise questions and unlearn assumptions(a thing that is accepted as true without proof)
  5. Develop awareness of identity markers (race, class, gender…) and historical and sociological factors that have established and contributed to poverty, racism, ableism
  6. Participate in advocacy, research and/or action that positively contributes to the community in which we serve.

7.      Enter into a reciprocal relationship with the community in which each of them becomes teachers and learners, served and servant.

8.      Making a successful transition to college in community



·         Participation in three components service, designated ACS section and fourth hour.

  • Consistent and 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  2018
  • Attendance at Service Learning Community events: One social justice lecture each semester or community activity (group trip off campus), Community Partnership Dinner, Martin Luther King Jr. lecture (January 2018), Community Meeting January and Celebration dinner. There are other community events which are optional.

·         For information regarding SLC events and announcements you are responsible for information in the weekly newsletter “SCOOP.”  If you are not receiving the SCOOP please let us know.

***Attendance is required at these events.  If you have class during any of these times please let your instructor know.  If you miss due family emergency or if illness or you will need a note from health center.

Date and time



*Wednesday    August 23             4:30pm

introduction to Caritas

 Bring copy of all clearances or receipt for FBI fingerprinting

Good Counsel Basement Lounge Pizza,, cookies and conversation

Week of August 28 

Complete Clearances, fingerprinting, driver approval during fourth hour


Tuesday September 5 

Fourth hour Begins


Monday September 11

Service Begins: 

Your driver will email you regarding meeting place.


*Tuesday, September 19            7:00pm 

Eboo Patel, the author of Acts of Faith

Villanova Room

*Friday, September 22 6pm 

Caritas Dinner 

Dougherty East Lounge  5:30pm

*Saturday or Sunday pre or post fall break

Visit to CFET.Org

Camden NJ

*Monday, November 6           6pm-9           

Community Partnership Dinner

Villanova Room










Service Schedule—See Addendum to syllabus for complete schedule. 

Service Begins on Monday, September 11.  Last Day of Service December 7

Thanks giving week:  Monday service only—Tuesday service option

Rules of Engagement

  • ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT in class is the best way to be successful in this course. ,
    • Be fully present in every class session: Active Listening -Participate in every class session-Take chances, volunteer, share your views When participating, share Why you think/feel What you think/feel
    • Ask questions.  If you don't understand something, or if you have concerns, ask your instructor or student facilitator.  The questions you ask may be more instructive and important than the answers you have.
    • Cell Phones are off- if you need to refer to an online journal please bring your computer. 
  • Attendance.  Your attendance in class and at service can affect your grade.  Since this course is primarily experiential in nature, you need to attend all classes and service days.  Students who have more than TWO unexcused absences will NOT PASS the class.


  • Assignments are in the syllabus:  Assignments are turned in 24 hours before fourth hour. 


  • 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. Your concerns will be treated respectfully.


·         Copies of work. Please date and 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


Articles and current events will be available on line.  Link to all assignments and readings


Participation in Fourth Hour:              60 points

Written Work                                      40 points

Attendance at Service                         2 unexcused absences may lower your grade by one letter


Participation:  This course is different from other courses and will require different skills.   It is a discussion based course so 60% of your grade is dependent on the quantity and the quality of your contributions in fourth hour.  Two unexcused absence may result in a failing grade.  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. 


Strong work 2-3

Needs development 1.0-2.0

Unsatisfactory  0-1.0


Actively and respectfully
listens to peers and instructor

Sometimes displays lack of interest in comments of others

Projects lack of interest or disrespect for others


Arrives fully prepared with all assignments completed,  notes on reading, observations and or questions

Sometimes arrives unprepared or with only superficial preparation

Exhibits little evidence of having read or thought about assigned material

Quality of contributions

Comments are relevant and reflect understanding of: assigned text(s); previous remarks of other students; and insights about assigned material

Comments sometimes irrelevant, betray lack of preparation, or indicate lack of attention to previous remarks of other students

Comments reflect little understanding of either the assignment or previous remarks in seminar

Impact on seminar

Comments frequently help move seminar conversation forward

Comments sometimes advance the conversation, but sometimes do little to move it forward

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

Frequency of participation

Actively participates at appropriate times

Sometimes participates but at other times is “tuned out”

Seldom participates and is generally not engaged

Written WorkWritten work will be evaluated by content, ideas, conceptualization, and synthesis.  Mechanics and grammar, clarity and content, and conciseness will also be considered. Grades will be reduced for poor quality including sloppy workmanship, incomplete sentences, unintelligible answers, inattention to details, and not following instructions.


Grading written work

  • “A” 80-100 The essay responds to the prompt and is thoughtful, well written, and insightful. Student has achieved a balance of description and reflection.  Students have described their experience at service and reflected on those events through the lens of their own history and opinions, SLC course reading and discussion and fourth hour readings.
  • “B” 60-80 Work completed with competence. Student has described their service experience and reflected on those events in meaningful ways but may not demonstrate the ability to include outside resources such as SLC course, fourth hour readings and previous discussion in 4h hour.
  • “C” 40-60 Work completed in a cursory but passable fashion.  Work is descriptive and perfunctory with little evidence of reflection.
  • “D-F” 0-40 pts:  Work not completed with any degree of competence or concern for service and must be re-done to gain passing grade.  The journal is dishonest and completely ignores the basis of the course, or incomprehensible due to errors in language or structure of the essay. 


Service:  Attendance at your service site is integral to your participation in 4th hour.   Instructors and facilitators will ask if you attended service each week. Two unexcused absences may result in loss of once letter grade.


CAP Projects:  Community Action Project (CAP Project) SPRING

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 16, 2018

In the News


Integrate service with your academic coursework! Take a Service Learning course next semester.

Why Service Learning? See why with a PowerPoint Presentation explaining the merits of Service Learning.