Below are listed the top 10 misconceptions that students have about the public service graduation requirement, service-learning, and the Center for Public Service.
1. I can use community service hours to fulfill my graduation requirement.
Service must be completed within an academic context. Some credit must be assigned in order for students to complete the graduation requirement. This can be through s-l courses, internships, independent studies, study abroad, honors thesis, etc, but academic department must be giving credit to that service experience.
2. The second tier of the requirement requires 40 hours of service.
The graduation requirement is not hours based. Certain service-learning courses may require a 40 hour commitment, but the second tier of the requirement can be fulfilled with a s-l course that only requires 20 hours. For example, a student can complete the graduation requirement by completing a 20-hour 100-level course and a 20-hour 400-level course.
3. CPS is an academic department and can grant me credit/create a class etc.
CPS is not an academic department, cannot grant academic credit, cannot create courses, cannot waive your requirement. What we can do is certify credited courses as service-learning, or provide departmental information for completing the requirement.
All academic courses and service-learning components (with the exception of SRVC courses) are controlled by academic departments. When looking to get into a full class or service-learning section, have a grade changed, etc., students should begin the professor of record.
4. I can tack on service to any course to fulfill my requirement.
All service-learning courses are vetted prior to the semester by both the CPS Curriculum Committee as well as the Newcomb Tulane College -Curriculum Committee. Professors must submit their course prior to the semester beginning in order to have them reviewed for public service credit. This is not a process that students can initiate.
Likewise, the approved activities for service-learning course have been selected by faculty so that the service complements the in-class teaching. These activities have been vetted by the same committees and approved for use in that course. Therefore, students cannot create new service activities for existing service-learning courses.
5. CPS staff can approve my service activity.
CPS staff cannot approve s-l activities, courses, internships, study abroad credit, independent study, honors theses, etc. We have faculty committees that must review and approve everything before submitting to Newcomb Tulane College for final approval.
6. I can sign up for just the service as long as I have taken the course in the past.
Service-learning requires concurrent enrollment in both the academic course and the service-learning component. As reflection is a major attribute of s-l, it is imperative that students are learning and serving at the same time.
7. CPS can arrange transportation for me to my service site.
CPS no longer handles transportation. Please contact Shuttles and Transportation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Service-learning (first or second tier) must be done within my major.
Traditional service-learning courses can be completed within any department as long as the student has fulfilled the prerequisite courses. Public service internships, independent studies, and honors theses may need to be completed within the student's major or minor department as many departments will not sponsor these sorts of activities for non-majors.
9. CPS can help me complete my capstone requirement.
CPS does not determine capstone courses. In certain cases, internships, s-l course, etc. may complete the capstone requirement, but this is determined by the academic department, not CPS. Students should check with the department if they have any questions.
10. I have to wait until I am a junior complete my second tier.
Students can petition Newcomb Tulane College-Committee on Academic Requirements in order for the credit to be granted before the student has junior class standing. Typically, this petition is granted for students with sophomore standing.
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