In their courses, the faculty evaluate and grade their students based on their academic performance in the class and their commitment to their service site. As one of the main expectations of any service-learning course, the community partner must be satisfied with the students’ performance at the site. Particular courses may choose to evaluate the service more directly, but these will be exceptions, and the criteria will be spelled out before the course begins.
Students are required to complete their service commitments. If they know they will miss a commitment, they are expected to give advance notice to a staff member at their community organization and their CA/L, and reschedule if appropriate. They are also expected to notify their Community Assistant/Liaison. If a student’s absence is chronic, we ask that the Community Partner contact the CA/L with whom they are working. The CA/L will then notify the faculty of the course who will decide whether or not the student can complete the course.
The first option is to talk with their Community Assistant/Liaison and Community Partner and discuss the problem. Often, students may not understand the difference between a regular challenge and a real problem. These barriers are lowered if the students know whom they can ask for help, and if they are encouraged to ask for help early on. It can also help to tell the students in advance about problems common to the service they will be doing. As with all courses, students have direct access to the faculty of their course at any time. All discussions are confidential, and the student raising the concerns must approve their communication to any party.
The Feinstein Institute has attempted to place several students at each community organization so that they may arrange transportation together. If one of the students does not have a car, and the site is not within walking distance, the CA/L can assist. Providence College students can ride RIPTA at no cost, and other transportation options can be found here www.providence.edu/transportation.
The Feinstein Institute, Department of Public and Community Service Studies, and the Global Studies Program work closely with one another. There is a director of the Institute, a department chair for Public and Community Service Studies, and a program director for Global Studies. Our partnerships are with the Institute through our Service-Learning Coordinator and students in Public Service and Global Studies classes are placed at sites depending on the course they are take. Since it is not an academic department, the Feinstein Institute also sponsors other service opportunities outside of just service-learning classes. Both majors and non-majors have the opportunity to participate in other service opportunities such as Alternative Spring Breaks, Scholarships For Service, Community Work Study, and internships.
The easiest way would be to contact our service-learning coordinator who is in touch with our Community Partners the most and explain how you’d like to get involved working with the Institute and what programs or services you are looking for people to plug into. However, many of our partnerships also originated because of an existing relationship with a faculty or staff member, and even students. If you have an established relationship with someone who is on staff for the Institute, Public Service department, or Global Studies Program or a major/minor, reach out to them about forming a partnership with Feinstein.
We work with a variety of sites who are community partners from ESL courses, working with elderly to youth, afterschool programs and homework help, refugee and immigrant services, and many more. Many of our sites are focused around youth services and while we do see and value the obvious need, we hope to diversify our community partner sites to serve various types of communities and demographics. We also try to have all our partnered sites be accessible to students and many of our Community Partners are in and around the Smith Hill community but extend to the greater Providence area as well.