Service Learning Handout

Phil/WS 381: Feminism and Philosophy


I. Theory and objectives of service learning

A. Theory: Service learning fosters understanding, the ability to apply knowledge in novel situations. At its best, it empowers students to analyze situations in light of their academic knowledge and contribute to society in positive ways. Service learning can help you develop skills, capacities, sensitivities, and attitudes that will help you understand the course material better and learn about your own interests and abilities.


B. Objectives for this service learning project


-      learn about real world applications of feminist theory

-      engage with the community to lessen the effects of sexist (or other) oppression

-      reflect on connections between theory and activism


II. Possible projects

A. Local service/research projects

-      Hilltop Child Development Center: contact Gina Byrd-Stadler, 864-4940 (this would involve helping in one of the classes)

-      Boys and Girls Club: contact Janet Murphy, 841-6854 (this would involve playing with the kids after school)

-      Pinckney Elementary School: contact Sharon Carlson 832-5800 (this would involve being a tutor or "lunch buddy")

-      Girl Scouts (Pinckney troop): contact Jill Hardesty, (This would involve attending the scout meetings and helping with activities)

-      Women's Transitional Care Services: contact Emily Nelson (she will be making a visit to our class)

-      You may also contact other sites yourself.

B. International service projects – local consciousness- and fund-raising

1.    Micro-credit lending organizations

2.    Women's human rights organizations

3.    Organizations geared toward stopping trafficking in women

4.    Other?

C. Other? (You may propose something else to me)

-      E.g., research some aspect of status of women in Kansas and propose legislation to state legislator

-      E.g., fundraising for local women's organization, such as Peggy Bowman Second Chance Fund


III. Assignments and expectations

A. Assignment: The basic assignment is to engage in service having something to do with women/girls or sexism or gender stereotypes and then to make a presentation to the class about your findings and to write a short essay about that finding and your service. If you do a local service project, then you will fill out a contract with a service provider and they will ask you to do something or you will offer them a project to which they will need to consent. You will perform the service and document the hours of service. If you do an international service project, then you will find an organization that you wish to support and host an event to inform others about that organization and to raise funds for its works. Then you will make a (10-15 min.) presentation to the class, in which you try to draw some connections with feminist theory. The discussion should help you to focus your impressions about your service project. Then you will write a short essay about what you learned.


B. Specific expectations: Local service projects

1.    Choose a service site/project and contact service agency

2.    Fill out contract with service agency supervisor and Prof. Cudd

3.    Perform at least 15 hours of service.

-      You should perform the duties requested by your supervisor and described in the initial contract.

-      Please be on-time and dress appropriately.

-      You should plan to lead the group in one activity aimed at lessening some aspect of gender (or race or class) oppression that you have observed. Use an activity from the Teaching Tolerance website:, or design your own. You must present your idea to your on-site supervisor in advance to make sure it is appropriate for your population.

-      Document with photos if at all possible. (I can loan you a digital camera on the day you wish to take photos. Please ask for permission from your subjects to use the photos for academic purposes.)

4.    Keep track of hours and keep notes in on-line BlackBoard journal after each volunteer session. Answer the following questions in each journal entry: how long were you there? What did you do and with whom? How did sex/gender play a role in the interactions you had or observed?

5.    Have supervisor fill out evaluation on contract at end of service.

6.    Reflect on your experience: what did you do? What did you observe? What did you learn? What social problems became salient to you? How might you go about affecting these problems in the future?

7.    Present the results of your reflection to the class.

8.    Write up the results of your reflection.


C. Specific expectations: International service projects

1.    Investigate international service organizations on the internet. Hand in a list of 10 organizations with brief descriptions about each of them, and an explanation of why you are choosing to support one of them with your service project. This is due by Feb. 18.

2.    Draw up a plan of action with Prof. Cudd

3.    Organize a consciousness- and fund-raising event for the organization you have chosen to focus on: reserve a place; advertise; construct poster for the event with information about the organization. If there are several of you, you may wish to organize an event together on International Women's Day: March 8.

4.    Create poster for organization which discusses the problems and solutions offered by the organization. Make suggestions for "what you can do" which include the kind of event you hosted.

5.    Host the event. Document with photos if at all possible. (I can loan you a digital camera on the day you wish to take photos. Please ask for permission from your subjects to use the photos for academic purposes.)

6.    Send the funds to the organization and get acknowledgement from them

7.    Present poster in class and hand in, along with copy of the acknowledgment form.

8.    Write up your reflections: what organizations did you investigate? Why did you choose the one you did? What did you do to raise consciousness and funds? Was this successful in each of the two dimensions (raising consciousness and fundraising)?