lunes, 28 de noviembre de 2016

A Global Classification for Recognizing Outstanding University Civic Engagement

University rankings are becoming increasingly influential around the world. These systems are mostly research oriented, and count factors such as external funding, numbers of articles and books written by faculty members, library resources, etc. But universities have different missions and goals, and some are not included in the rankings. University civic engagement is one of them.

This topic was discussed at the Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Conference, that took place a few months ago in Boston. I moderated a panel organized by Talloires Network with my colleagues Lorene Hoyt, Gul Zehra and Hector Opazo. 

Our main point is that universities around the world are committed to strengthening the social responsibility of higher education by improving conditions in communities and responding to global challenges such as poverty, health, and illiteracy, while improving students´ learning. Given the social and academic relevance of this mission, it is necessary to develop rankings that take civic engagement as criteria.

This session engaged participants in the development of an alternative approach to rankings that values contributions to and from communities and public goods. The debate evolved around issues such as: Improving current rankings and developing civic engagement rankings, national, international and global rankings on civic engagement, agreed criteria of university civic engagement, benefits and limitations, and alternatives to rankings. 

There was an agreement on the need to improve the current rankings and developing a classification system that considers civic engagement and social responsibility practices essential in the reshaping of higher education. Much is still to be done in this field, but the debate is open...

jueves, 30 de junio de 2016

The role of the school counselor in service-learning

In recent years, the perception of the role of school counselors has undergone a significant change. That is why it is particularly relevant to know the role of the school counselor in service-learning.

This is the objective of the case study that has being carried out by Lourdes García at the Miguel Catalán high school of Madrid, that is considered a reference point in the use of this methodology. This work is part of her doctoral dissertation, that has been presented at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Results of the study show the pedagogical leadership of these professionals, who can act as promoters, coordinators, consultants, developers, and ambassadors of S-L in their schools. 

Literature on educational change looks at the role of counselors in the processes of support and advice to schools regarding plans for improvement and innovation. Their training on pedagogical, psychological, strategic, and mediative aspects allows them to perform their role in in collaboration with other members of the school community. It is, therefore, a relevant figure for making real innovation and improvement proposals related to the coordination and advisory functions, such as the implementation of service-learning methodology. 

As supervisor the of this doctoral dissertation, I believe it is a significant contribution to the field of counseling. Service-learning is one of the innovative methodologies that enhances quality teaching. This methodology enriches the educational process and helps to achieve its objectives. The two elements, learning and service, form a combination that contributes to promoting quality and improvement, where learning improves the quality of service and vice versa.The conceptualization of service-learning as an original combination of two known elements, learning and community service, makes it an interesting content for school counseling. This doctoral dissertation is based on the idea that service-learning can be a vehicle to affect a large number of students in a positive way.