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Survey to measure service and civic engagement at Guilford
By Bn/an Dooley
Mark your calendars, Guilfordians:
Starting Oct. 31, Guilford will participate
in the Assessment of Service and Civic
Engagement survey. Siena College
developed this survey, which measures the
level of student involvement in nine areas.
"Some of the areas are hunger and
homelessness, environmental issues, elder
care, youth development, public awareness,
economic justice and spiritual life," said
James Shields, director of Community
Learning. "Our main goal is to find out
what students are doing and where."
All students will receive three invitations
to answer the survey during the 12-day
period ending Nov. 11. Guilford College
will receive the results after Siena analyzes
"(Siena) will tell us how much we do
and how many do it," said Kent Grumbles,
director of Institutional Research and
Assessment. "Then they will say Guilford
is at this level and schools like Guilford are
above or below."
Historically the level of service at
Guilford has been high.
"For the last 20 years, civic engagement
has been strong," said Shields. "There
wasn't a lot of organized service until
20 years ago when the Bonner Scholars
Program started. Now we have 14 sites that
are community partners, some of which go
back to 1995 and are open to everyone. So,
when you think about it, there have been
easily a couple million hours of service
done in the community."
Generally, Guilford believes civic
engagement is a vital part of education.
Student participation in the survey is crucial
because it allows the school to monitor
and improve volunteer experiences. Until
which will improve the quality of experience
students obtain, because the institution will
be able to cater to students' desires.
"We are really interested in the quality of
the civic engagement because we view it as
a part of (students') learning, not a separate
thing," said Justad. "So we feel as much as
possible we should ensure the quality and
depth of the experience."
According to the executive summary
“Some of the areas are hunger and homelessness, environmental
issues, elder care, youth development, public awareness,
economic justice and spiritual life. ()ur main goal is to find out
what students are doing and where."
James Shields, director of Community Learning
now, there has not been an organized
examination of students volunteering,
according to Mark Justad, director of the
Center for Principled Problem Solving.
"We are asking for (students') help in
helping us to understand the student body
better," said Justad. "There is no better way
than talking to students, and a survey is one
way of talking to a broad number of them."
The survey will give Guilford a baseline
of the ASCE survey, "By understanding
the current service environment both on
and off campus, schools can speak and
act confidently on issues of service and
civic engagement. Some areas where this
knowledge could prove beneficial include
marketing, strategic planning, recruitment
and retention, and outside funding
Guilford will use the results from the
survey for the second Strategic Long-Range
Plan (SLRP II) to improve engagement
experiences for students.
"We need to do more experiential things
for students," Grumbles said. "This is one
way the college can be accountable to our
Some students also see the value in
service and civic engagement.
"I know how to deal with the community
in an effective manner," said junior Bonner
Scholar Lily Wotkins. "I like making others
smile; knowing that I am affecting someone
in a positive way changes it all for me."
"The survey will help us establish
baseline — where we are now," said
Judy Harvey, engaged teaching and
learning specialist, via email. "SLRP II
has ambitious goals for getting students
involved in experiential learning and so we
need to be able to measure our progress.'
We know what Bonner Scholars are doing
in the community, but other students
are involved, too, and we need a way-to
measure what they are doing so we have
a full picture and can chart our progress."
The more students participate in
the upcoming survey, the better the
opportunities will be in the future.
"It's really important for everyone to
participate so we have a realistic picture of
where we are now and we can work to meet
the goals for improvement set by SLRP II,"
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