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    How Chandler-Gilbert Community College Anchors Education in Service-Learning

    This post is part of our Higher Education Spotlight series, where we spotlight our incredible partners. We are so thrilled that GivePulse has been able to work with these nonprofits, centers, cities, institutions, and corporations!

    The staff and faculty at the Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) broadly celebrate the importance of community involvement across all four of their campuses. Their Service-Learning and Civic Engagement program believes that learning outside of the classroom through experiential learning opportunities is just as important as learning inside of the classroom. This consistent promotion of community engagement instills students with an appreciation for civic responsibility and off-campus involvement. Now, they have implemented a full scale assessment to understand student progress and learning and support this engagement. 

    In this post, we share how CGCC supports this broad and expansive program, including: 

    • How they rely on faculty insights to drive their community-based learning
    • How they track student progress and outcomes to tailor experiences 
    • How they’ve adjusted to the necessity of virtual engagement

    To learn more about how GivePulse can help your institution with these, schedule a call; for now, read on to be inspired by CGCC! 

    “We’re not just a place for students to learn. We’re a resource, a gathering place, an anchor for the entire Chandler-Gilbert area.” – Chandler Gilbert Community College

    Faculty Insight Drives Service-Learning

    By partnering with local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and small businesses and empowering them as co-educators in experiential learning opportunities, CGCC recorded over 8,000 student hours through service-learning projects in just one semester. CGCC shares volunteer and service opportunities with students, faculty, and staff through GivePulse in order to engage students and inform them of ways to get involved in the community. 

    “We are encouraging our partners to share their needs and/or volunteer opportunities with our department and we will continue to post them in GivePulse. We look forward to giving this to them, but for now, we are letting them know how easy it is to share their needs with a larger community.”

    Faculty insight plays an important role in developing impactful ways for students to participate in service opportunities outside of the classroom. Because of this, it’s essential to streamline processes for faculty to efficiently and intentionally integrate service-learning with all curricular systems such as their Learning Management System (LMS). In particular, the ability to see the specific needs of CGCC community partners in a single location enables faculty members to build service-learning projects into their curriculum to engage students and meet community gaps, while allowing faculty to manage their time, data, and projects more efficiently. 

    “Being able to hear what our community partners are looking for and having a place to share that with the campus has been truly helpful.”

    Tracking Progress to Support Students

    In addition to building service-learning projects into their curriculum within the same platform, faculty members are able to track student progress, ensure partners are supporting students with quality experiences, and assess student learning throughout the semester.

    The Early Childhood and Teach Education Program (ECTEP), a program within CGCC, can now see how students progress with regard to their service-learning experience. Prior to GivePulse, program members were only able to check student progress at mid-semester and end of semester checkpoints. Now, they are able to track progression consistently throughout the semester by keeping track of student activities, as well as accessing student forms on the go for faculty convenience. 

    “For ECTEP students, I am hopeful that their utilization of GivePulse for their EDU courses will foster interest in exploring other service and volunteer opportunities as well.“

    Adjusting to the Virtual World

    The sudden need for change raised by the global pandemic in early 2020 posed technological challenges for Higher Education Institutions as they tried to meet the demands of large-scale virtual learning. For CGCC, the necessity of adopting the GivePulse platform during a tumultuous time for higher education felt daunting, but they soon found that doing so during the pandemic provided them with more time to think through the roll-out process and consider ways in which students, faculty, and staff would interact with the software. 

    “Most students were able to utilize the platform easily without training which was great because of its intuitive nature.”

    As time progressed, so did an understanding of the platform, and the CGCC team was able to enjoy the full benefits of assessment, student reflections, and course storytelling and analytics. These capabilities enabled faculty and program leaders to easily approve hours online, bolstered connection with community partners, and allowed for a more efficient process to capture student information and host volunteer opportunities. At a time when CGCC had to focus their energy on reimagining community engagement to meet changing needs, minimizing the logistical aspects allowed their campus to devote their time to working closely with community rather than maintaining records. 

    In addition, the platform allowed CGCC to support critical needs during the pandemic. For example, the Student Life and Leaders group hosted a pandemic-friendly volunteer event to distribute free produce on a monthly basis, using automated registrations and reminders, as well as easily viewing sign-ups and cancellation, to keep their focus on supporting food justice in their community. 

    The Future of Service-Learning at CGCC 

    The impact of CGCC’s incorporation of service-learning into their curriculum reaches far beyond their classrooms and campuses. As the community begins to open up, they hope to share their learnings of GivePulse with Career Services to collaborate on internships, as well as to co-curricular clubs and organizations to track experiential learning, volunteer hours and community service. This full scale assessment system will help scale their understanding of student progress and learning across the four campuses. The utilization of the platform aims to strengthen CGCC’s national reputation for service through education programs, so that they may efficiently expand on their innovative approach of teaching by giving back to the community.

    “We are so excited to let our campus see all the amazing opportunities their community has for them to get plugged in.”

    Connect with us to schedule a time with our team to access more resources and stories.