One of the most important aspects of teaching is evaluating whether students really "got" what the professor wanted them to "get" out of the course. That’s why teachers assign all those papers, exams, pop quizzes and blue books. Evaluation can be pretty tricky, and it’s especially tough when teachers try to evaluate what students get out of learning that occurs in somewhat non-traditional ways.
For this reason, Minnesota Campus Compact set up a grant program for colleges and universities to assess service learning. UST just received one of those grants to evaluate courses in the Ascension Parish Project, a 12-course partnership with Church of the Ascension in North Minneapolis, the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, and the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning.
Students in all of the courses will fill out questionnaires on their experiences in this project. In addition, students from other service-learning courses will complete the same questionnaires, essentially giving a snapshot of service learning at UST and a control group for the Ascension courses.
Dr. Ellen Kennedy, director of Service Learning, is the principal investigator for the grant. She is assisted by Emily Gausman, a senior, who participated in the Ascension Parish Project in fall 2002.