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Frequently Asked Questions

What counts as a community service experience?

The FSEHD Community Service Requirement is defined by the following criteria:

  • Service that is a minimum of 25 hours and takes place in one or more settings (health, education, environment, etc.);
  • Service in which at least 13 of the 25 required hours are instructionally based;
  • Service that is: unpaid; outside of scheduled class hours; and, may be either independent of or in conjunction with college course work (see page 4);
  • Service that is performed while enrolled at Rhode Island College;
  • Service to children, youth, adults, families or communities;
  • Service that is secular in intent, purpose and effect, even if affiliated with a religious organization, and consistent with the mission of the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development.

What is the difference between the service I do in my classes and the Feinstein School Of Education and Human Development Community Service Requirement?

A number of courses require school-based community service. This type of community service is service learning. Service learning is defined as,

"...a teaching and learning approach that integrates community service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities."

- National Commission on Service Learning

The Feinstein School of Education and Human Development Community Service Requirement asks that students engage in community service. Community service is defined as,

"...the engagement of students in activities that primarily focus on the service being provided as well as the benefits the service activities have on the recipients. The students receive some benefits by learning more about how their service makes a difference in the lives of the service recipients."

- National Commission on Service Learning

To better understand the difference between the two types of service, here are 2 examples:

Community Service:
When students remove trash from a streambed, they are providing a service to the community as volunteers.

Service Learning:
When students remove trash from a streambed and then analyze what they found, share the results, offer suggestions for the neighborhood to reduce pollution, and then reflect on their experience, they are engaging in service learning.

A limited number of education courses with service learning components have been approved by the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development to count towards the Community Service Requirement. You can use the service performed in conjunction with only those courses listed below and only if the service is performed outside of scheduled class hours.

FSEHD courses that have a service learning component that may be used to fulfill the community service requirement are:

FNED 346: Schooling in a Democratic Society
SED 407: Instructional Methods, Design, & Literacy

If I remained at my FNED 346 site beyond the 15 hour course requirement can I use the additional hours towards my community service requirement?

Yes.

Can teaching CCD be used towards the community service requirement?

No. As listed in the criteria for community service on page 3 of the handbook, your service must be, "... secular in intent, purpose and effect, even if affiliated with a religious organization, and consistent with the mission of the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development."

Secular is defined as, "not religious; not connected with a church" therefore teaching CCD, bible study, etc. may not be used towards fulfillment of the community service requirement. However activities such as volunteering at a church-sponsored food pantry, organizing a clothing drive, or taking elderly members to doctor's appointments can be used towards the community service requirement.

If you are unsure about a particular activity, contact the Liz Garofalo, Special Projects Coordinator at mgarofalo@ric.edu or call 456-8877.

How is the community service requirement completed?

Students follow four steps to complete the Community Service Requirement. All four steps are outlined in detail on pages 5 and 6 of the community service handbook.

Do I have to perform my service in a school?

No.Your community service hours may be completed in a variety of settings. A list of the community service criteria can be found on page three of the community service handbook.

Can I use volunteer work from high school towards my community service requirement?

No.Volunteer hours used towards the community service requirement must be performed while you are enrolled at Rhode Island College (page 3, community service handbook)

When do I submit my community service documentation?

As soon as you have completed 25 hours and one semester prior to student teaching

If I transferred from another college where I performed community service can I use that service towards my requirement?

Contact Liz Garofalo at mgarofalo@ric.edu

Page last updated: August 14, 2013