Class Policies


This course includes a service-learning project with a local non-profit organization, and also a group presentation and group paper. To support mutual responsibility within and outside the class, no drops are permitted after the end of week 2. Please do NOT come to talk to me about trying to drop this class after that time. It will only be an uncomfortable situation for us both, and in the end, the policy is firm.


Class participation/attendance: 14 points
Service-learning: 16 points (4 reflections, 3 points each + service learning plan [1 point] + service learning agreement [1 point] + service learning time log [1 point] + service learning evaluation from your site supervisor [1 point])
Reading reflections: 30 points   (2 points each)
Group presentation: 20 points    (everyone in group gets same score * a multiple between 0 and 1 based on team feedback)
Final paper 20 points
TOTAL 100 points


This course has a significant service-learning component.  Service-learning involves students in community service as a context for critical analysis and learning tied to course material, to facilitate student learning, personal and social growth, and civic responsibility.

Students are required to participate in a service-learning project. Arrangements have already been made with some pre-selected sites for students who do not have access to other sites.  Students may also identify their own sites with professor approval.  I encourage students to continue service at sites they already know, but you may not double count hours for the class you are doing for some other purpose.  In all cases, the students and the site contact must sign a contract for the service learning and return it to the professor by the end of the second week of classes.

The service experience must include 15 hours of service over at least three weeks (e.g., you cannot do all 15 hours in one weekend, but you could do 5 hours a week for three weeks, 3 hours a week for 5 weeks, etc.). The community organization will be depending upon you to fulfill this responsibility.

Signing up.  Those who have already agreed are described on our class web site—including the site’s mission, location, hours, requirements, and what the service-learning placement would involve.  You can sign up for sites by contacting the primary site contact.

Some service-learning placements will require you to complete applications.  These may be on line on the site’s web page, or you may receive the application during your first visit to the site.  Other sites require Live Scan screening (to check for criminal records) and/or TB testing.  See the list of service-learning placements for requirements for each site.  Also see instructions for Live Scan screening and TB testing.  These are all available on our class web site.

Transportation to your site.  An essential aspect of this class is getting students involved in communities outside of campus.  An effort was made to include service-learning sites within the city of Irvine, but most sites are not within walking or easy bicycling distance.  For students without cars, information on the UCI zip car program and on the Orange County bus system is available on the class web site.  Please plan for transit time in schedule your hours at your service-learning site.

Keeping track of hours.  Use the service-learning time log (it will be available on our class web site) to keep track of your service-learning hours each week.  You will be asked to submit your completed time log at the end of the course.


After first class

Review service-learning placements

Sign up for service-learning placement site (starting Sunday 9/27)

Week 1

  • Complete and submit applications, screening requirements required by the site
  • Contact the site contact and arrange for a date to meet (before week 3)

Week 2

  • Meet your site contact
  • Have the site contact sign the service-learning agreement (on our class web site).  Please give a copy of the agreement to your site supervisor and a copy to the professor and/or reader.

Weeks 3 to 8

  • Conduct service-learning placement at your site.
  • Submit reflections on your service learning every other week (beginning of class on Thursday of weeks 4, 6, and 8 )

Week 9

  • Submit completed service-learning time log in class


Students are required to submit reflections on their service-learning experiences in response to questions provided.  These reflections provide an essential opportunity for you to transform your “service” experience into “learning.”  You will do this through critical analysis of your experiences, integration of your experiences on site with class concepts and information, and through connection of your service-learning experience to larger issues such as the political, economic, and sociological characteristics of communities.

Reflections should preferably be typed and double-spaced, and should include your name and date. If you have really nice clear handwriting thats okay too. Reflection questions will be turned in to the reader or instructor at the beginning of the class when they are due.  Reflections will be evaluated based on their thoughtfulness and their thoroughness in addressing the reflection question(s).  There is no required page limit for reflections;  however, longer entries will not necessarily be evaluated more positively.  One page should generally be sufficient to address the question.  The key is the quality of your reflection rather than the length.  No reflection questions will be accepted after the beginning of class on the due date.


There will be substantial discussion in this class. To prepare you for that discussion, you will post reflections on the readings at least two hours BEFORE class each time there is one assigned. These should be short (a paragraph or two) and available on the wiki for everyone.  Responding to other people’s posts, going back and reading responses to yours, and so on is highly encouraged.  Discussion of these responses during class is also highly encouraged.


Students will work in teams to prepare group oral presentations papers tied to one set of social and/or environmental issues discussed in class.  Group presentations will offer an overview of key issues to be discussed in class, focusing on how those issues are playing out locally.  Presentations will discuss the scope, background, and consequences of the issues and will focus on strategies for addressing these issues.  You will choose your own groups and sign up online on the class wiki.


Students are expected to attend all lectures on time. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Students are expected to follow the university’s code of academic conduct. Cases of suspected academic misconduct will be immediately forwarded to the Dean of Student Affairs, and will be pursued to resolution. This is an unpleasant process for all involved, so please do not put yourself in this situation.

You can turn in your assignments up to two days late for half-credit.  Later than that, and no credit.

I will occasionally give out extra credit. If you don’t get this, don’t worry, you can still theoretically get 100% in the class without extra credit.

You should do EVERYTHING in your power to avoid missing class.  If you miss class and want to make up the material, you must make an appointment with the professor to determine what can be done.