Feinstein Service Learning Graduation Requirement

The Mission of Roger Williams University is to “strengthen society through engaged teaching and learning”. RWU is a private institution that embraces our very public responsibility to partner with local organizations and municipalities to tackle the challenges that face communities. We live this mission in many ways – through teaching that tackles community-based issues, our facilitation of student engagement with the community, and sharing the resources and expertise of our community with our neighbors.

At Roger Williams University all students are required to engage in credit-bearing community engaged scholarship prior to graduation in order to satisfy the Feinstein Service Learning (FSL) requirement.  The requirement, forms a part of the student’s transcript and is listed as the 0-credit FSL.999 course.

NOTE: 

  • Transfer students who entered RWU with 24 or more credits are exempt from the requirement. 
  • For students entering RWU prior to the 2020-2021 academic year, refer to the catalog associated with the academic year you entered the University.  (for example, 2019-2020  catalog can be found here.  
  • For students entering RWU during the 2020-2021 academic year:  The FSL graduation requirement was waived due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on service locations.

Beginning with students entering RWU during the 2021-2022 academic year, the FSL graduation requirement is described in detail in the expandable sections below. 

There are several options for students to fulfill their FSL requirement.  Credit-bearing, academic community engagement is strongly preferred, though co-curricular proposals will be considered.  The links below are not exhaustive and students may propose other experiences should contact Community Engagement for approval before pursuing.

We are excited to announce that we will launch Give Pulse, a platform for community engagement at RWU, on June 1, 2022.  Prior to this, all questions should be directed to the Director of the Feinstein Center at engage@rwu.edu. 

    HOURS                   

    • Significant community engagement experience.
    • Should be credit-bearing.*
    • Can be completed during academic year or during breaks (winter, spring, summer).
    • Must be confirmed by site and recorded with RWU.
    • *Students may propose co-curricular service, outlined below under “options for service                             

    SETTING              

    • Non-profit organization, community-based agency, federal, state or local municipality*
    • For-profit organizations that have significant community benefits and/or social impacts could also qualify.
    • *All hours should be done with the same organization.  Students are strongly discouraged from using a “patchwork” approach of doing a small number of hours at several different sites.

    PROCESS               

    1. Students submit proposal for significant community engagement experience through GivePulse (launching June 1, 2022).
    2. Students engage in significant community service.
    3. When completed, service documentation and reflection artifact submitted via GivePulse (launching June 1, 2022).
    1. Community Partnership Center (CPC) project/course
      • Projects that benefit local community are facilitated through the CPC.
      • The project may be incorporated into a course and be facilitated under the supervision of a faculty member.
      • The project may be independently facilitated by the CPC.
      • Most projects are closely tied to academic skills and/or learning outcomes.
      • The experience may be credit-bearing or non –credit bearing
    2. Service Learning course
      • A substantial partnership and/or field-based community engagement experience is embedded in the course. 
      • The experience is credit-bearing.
      • Projects are closely tied to academic skills and/or learning outcomes.
    3. Public service internship
      • The experience may be credit-bearing or non –credit bearing. 
      • The student may not be paid for their engaged hours (scholarships and federal work study funds are acceptable compensation.)
      • The placement and work must conform to the requirements under “setting”.
      • Many majors require internships – check with your advisor to see if this can fit the parameters of the FSL requirement.
    4. Community engaged research
      • This is a significant engaged research project undertaken in collaboration with an external partner organization and under the supervision of an RWU faculty member.
      • The research must be in the public interest, addressing a community problem, and outcomes should be shared with stakeholders.
      • The experience may be credit-bearing or non –credit bearing.
    5. Study Abroad/Study Away with service focus
      • Programs that run during the academic year and semester breaks are available.
      • The trip may be sponsored by RWU or an external organization.
      • The experience may be credit-bearing or non –credit bearing.
      • RWU offers semester and summer programs through our study abroad program providers and direct enroll partners that will have service components available to students. Some of those programs include Florence, Italy; Galway, Ireland; Limerick, Ireland; Meknes, Morocco; Grenoble, France; Stellenbosch, South Africa.
      • The Washington Institute Study Away program satisfies the requirement.
      • Students should contact the Speigel Center at scgip@rwu.edu
    6. The Honors Community Engagement Experience 
      • The Honors Program prepares students to be Citizen Scholars through a reflective Community Engagement experience typically completed during the junior year.
      • Honors students and faculty partner with local and global communities to exchange ideas and address real problems.
      • The Community Engagement experience may take the form of a course-based service project, a faculty-led service trip or alternative spring break, or a pre-approved independent community engagement project.
    1. Community engaged fellowship
      • Fellowships are long-term service placements that resemble public service internships.
      • Student may be compensated for their service by earning scholarships, depending on available funding.
      • Community engaged fellowships are facilitated by the Feinstein Center.
    2. Alternative Break service trip
      • The trip may be sponsored by RWU or an external organization.
      • The experience may be credit-bearing or non –credit bearing.
      • This can be completed during academic year or during breaks (winter, spring, summer). 
      • The trip should have a public interest focus.  Examples include RWU’s Habitat for Humanity and FIMRC’s service trips. 
    3. Significant, sustained participation in service club or other club’s service activities including holding leadership positionFor many clubs, service is a key focus of club activities.  These include:
      • All Paws In
      • Brain Club
      • Colleges Against Cancer
      • Engineers without Borders
      • Food Recovery Network
      • FIMRC (Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children
      • Habitat for Humanity
      • Helping Hawks/Special Olympics of RI
      • Rotaract
      • Send It On (homelessness)

    Other clubs and organizations have sub-committees or programs that focus on service as part of their larger mission.  These include, but are not limited to:

    • College Democrats
    • College Republicans
    • Delta Sigma Pi
    • Eco-Reps
    • Future Teachers of America
    • Inter-Residence Hall Association
    • Public Health
    • Society of Women Engineers

    *Active club list is updated frequently on Hawklink and available at Department of Student Programs, Leadership and Orientation.  

    1. Community service work study position
      • The placement and work must conform to the requirements under “setting”.
      • Student must have federal work study award.
      • Work study funds are one of only two forms of acceptable compensation.
      • Community service work study positions are facilitated by the Feinstein Center.

    What?  So what? Now what?  These are the three questions that reflection addresses.  Any reflection, regardless of format, should address these questions:  

    1. What?  Describe the community engaged experience –
      1. what community issue/problem did the service address?
      2. what was your role?
      3. who was the beneficiary (both the agency and larger community it serves)?
    2. So what?  Describe the impact of the experience for you and the community.
      1. What were the outcomes for the community?
      2. How was your academic learning affected?
      3. How was your civic learning affected?
    3. Now what?  Describe how your experience will inform your actions in the future.
      1. Will you change any behaviors?
      2. Will you continue to work toward solutions in this area?
      3. Can you describe other possible solutions that can be applied to this issue?

    Acceptable artifacts to submit for reflection:

    • Most students will submit essays that address the questions listed above. 
    • Depending on the context of the experience, students may be required to submit a final paper or report on their work.  These are acceptable as long as there is a component that addresses the public interest impact and learning outcomes.  Many instructors will include this as part of their pedagogy.