Adamson University embarks upon Academic Service Learning (ASL)
by Engr. Noe Enriquez
Academic Service Learning (ASL) is a pedagogical model that integrates community service and academic learning. Through providing service for a community, students take part in activities in which both the server and those being served teach and learn. The students contribute knowledge, energy, and ideas to the community, in return, the community provides the students with real life experiences and observations. Adopting this teaching pedagogy will make Adamsonians learn how to assess their own attitudes, beliefs, and values about the community and the world, as well as understanding the economic, political, and cultural structures of society and groups and/or individuals are affected. This program is very consistent with the University’s vision of producing competent and socially responsible leaders.
On January 10-13, 2006, Dr. Laurie Worall, executive director of Steans Center of Community Based-Service Learning of De Paul University, Chicago, and Dr. Marilyn Fleckenstein, VP for Academic Affairs of Niagra University, New York visited Adamson University to introduce and orient faculty members about the Academic Service Learning (ASL).
Dr. Worall and Dr. Fleckenstein discussed the Experiential Learning, which refers to a broad spectrum of education opportunities that provide students ‘concrete experiences’ related to coursework—including academic service learning. During the last day of orientation, Dr. Worall and Dr. Fleckenstein gave a workshop on ASL, letting the participants have a hands-on experience in crafting course syllabus, where ASL can be integrated.
On February 24, 2006, Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, Jr., C.M. met with Sr. Aurora Velasco, DC, with the then Institutional Planning and Policy Development Office (IPPDO) director Engr. Venusmar Quevedo and Ms. Grace de Guzman to discuss the implementation and integration of ASL in Adamson Academic Structure and System.
On March 3, 2006, initial meeting of the ASL Committee members was conducted. Committee members are Fr. Atilano Nonong Fajardo, ICES director, Dean Nerisa Balena, Dean College of Nursing, Dr. Gladiola Santos, Dean College of Sciences, Engr. Venusmar Quevedo, the IPPDO Director, Dr. Ramon Maniago, Vice Dean, Engineering, Joy San Juan, ICES staff, Grace de Guzman, Director HRM&DO, and Engr. Noe Enriquez.
An initial meeting was conducted with the establishment of the following: guidelines in choosing subject, guidelines in choosing a community, guidelines in syllabus making, conduct if ASL subject, Evaluation and Student Performance.
April 10-11, 2006 was when the first ASL seminar and workshop was carried out. Since then, ASL workshop has been done by the committee members every start of the semester to orient Adamson University faculty members who have been given assignment to integrate ASL in their subjects.
ASL Committee Duties and Responsibilities
· To plan the ASL program of the University
· To approve courses that will adopt ASL methodology
· To conduct orientation to faculty members who will handle ASL
· To review syllabi
· To formulate resolutions for any ASL-related concerns and problems
· Evaluate ASL programs
Content of ASL Training
· Definition and Vincentian perspective of ASL
· Definition and characteristics of the community
· Steps in the Academic Service Learning process
· Skills of a teacher
· ASL Evaluation
“I learned a lot of things, like communicating and helping other interns with their needs. I learned to be more patient and understanding amidst our differences. My college life is memorable because I experienced all of these things.” Javie L. Kin (BS Biology)
“I learned a lot of things in ASL. I learned to be aware of our surroundings. This experience was very unforgettable for me because it was my first time to go to Ipo Dam. I experienced all of the things that happened in ASL for the first time. I will never forget this opportunity.” Elaine Miralles (BS Biology)
“My ASL experience enriched my interpersonal relationship with other people, most especially with those people who are needy. I learned to reach out more and stop prejudice with other people. It also enriched my knowledge in applying concepts into real life situations. And it explained to me that theories are different from what are really happening in the field when you’re in the situation itself. You will learn more on applying it than memorizing and reading those concepts.” Carla Sacrista (BS Psychology)
“Life in a classroom is different from life outside of it. Those experiences were not just merely added in my memory, but I really treasured it. These experiences that have will be my edge in the near time.” Theresa Allera (BS Psychology)
“ASL Project enriched my college experience by dealing with other people. I learned different things in our ASL. This project gave me a rare opportunity to be involved on this. ASL also tested my ability and taught me how to handle things in this kind of environment.” Cindy Bautista (BS-Chemistry)
“Our ASL Project enriched my college experience by exposing me to the real situation in the society. With the aid of the specialization I am taking, I know that I could serve more people like them. If we have conducted our water sampling then I could have given more contribution.” Joan Cruz (BS Biology)
“Our ASL Project helps me see and experience realistic situations where I can apply my IE course. Through my ASL experience, I realized that the techniques and methods discussed in our classes could be used in many ways. I feel fulfilled because I know that I could help my community even in my own little way. I also appreciate being a part of the ASL Project because it helped me gain more knowledge.” Racquel Arciaga (BS Industrial Engineering)
Other Activities for the ASL Program
On November 20 to December 6, 2008 , three professors from De Paul University visited Adamson University to offer consulting assistance and technical training at Adamson University for service learning initiatives and capacity building. This was one of the three-fold objectives of De Paul-Adamson Manila Program. Together with Dr. Marco Tavanti were Dr. Howard Rosing, Director of Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning and Community Service Studies, and Ms. Marisol Morales, Associate Director of Steans Center.
Faculty members who already experienced handling the ASL course shared the challenges brought by the first stage of implementation of the ASL course. Twelve faculty members from different colleges and departments attended the meeting.
Engr. Noe Enriquez, being the temporary ASL program coordinator, presented the structure, guidelines, status of the program, and some evaluations done by faculty members and students. The meeting was held to assess the strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations for the AdU-ASL program.