Outline History of the Michigan State University
Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement
1960: Michigan Governor George Romney encourages college students to develop volunteer programs for youth in the schools; pre-school; delinquency and crisis intervention.
1962: Michigan State University Students, with support from faculty in the College of Education and others, initiate the Student Education Corps. Service Projects involve primarily short-term volunteer opportunities. Initiative is in response to Gov. Romney's call for service.
1962-1967: Student Education Corps continues and grows. Existence and work of the corps is indicative of student activism at the time in response to the national civil rights movement, "War on Poverty", and growing awareness of the armed conflict in Vietnam, i.e., students believe they can make a difference "at home", and can see some results. The primarily student-initiated Student Tutorial Education Project (STEP) with Rust College in Mississippi, summers 1965-1968, provided an opportunity for activist students to do service outside of Michigan.
1967: MSU Board of Trustees approves the Office of Volunteer Programs. The Student Education Corps becomes the Volunteer Bureau, and maintains responsibility for the student-led, short-term service initiatives. Name change reflects both the establishment of the companion Office of Volunteer Programs, in which university administrators provide continuity both in terms of sustaining service efforts on the part of MSU, and in developing and maintaining relationships with the community, e.g., developing and sustaining "institutional memory" and long-term commitment to community constituents.
The Office of Volunteer Programs was approved by the MSU Board of Trustees on November 22, 1967. The duties as outlined for the office included:
- THE COORDINATION OF VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS WITH THE GENERAL ACADEMIC PROGRAM OF THE UNIVERSITY;
- TO COORDINATE VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS WITH THE UNITS WITHIN THE OFFICE OF STUDENT AFFAIRS;
- TO WORK WITH FACULTY AND STAFF OF THE UNIVERSITY;
- TO ENLIST THE RESOURCES OF THE UNIVERSITY FOR THE USE OF VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS;
- TO DETERMINE AND IDENTIFY AREAS FOR COLLEGE VOLUNTEER INVOLVEMENT;
- TO REPRESENT THE UNIVERSITY TO THE COMMUNITY;
- TO ASSURE MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES FOR STUDENTS IN COMMUNITY SERVICE;
- TO COORDINATE AND ADVISE STUDENT VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS;
- TO ADMINISTER BUDGETS;
- TO ADMINISTER FUNDS FROME PRIVATE SOURCES;
- TO COORDINATE EDUCATIONAL AND RESEARCH PROGRAMS.
MSU Urban Affairs became involved as first director and assistant director, (who also served as director of the Volunteer Bureau), of the Office of Volunteer Programs were appointed from Urban Affairs. As Urban Affairs traditionally works both with and in the Lansing community, utilizing this department underscored MSU's commitment to respect and include the "community voice".
1968: January 2, 1968: The Office of Volunteer Programs officially opened. The university provided office space in the basement/"foundation level" of the Student Services Building.
1971: The National Corporation for Volunteer Service provides national recognition to the "MSU Volunteers of 1971".
1979: The Office of Volunteer Programs and the Volunteer Bureau becomes the Service-Learning Center. MSU was a pioneer in the national service-learning movement, (Eyler, J; Giles D., Pioneers of Service-Learning), looking at voluntary service as purposeful, planned and reciprocal contributions to the community and for the public good, rather than as simply "volunteerism". MSU's view of service-learning included (and continues to include) both intentional curricular and co-curricular service.
Note: Due to the growth of MSU in the 1960's, and 1970's the roles and responsibilities of the Office of Student Affairs, to which the Office of Volunteer Programs/Service-Learning Center administratively reported, also expanded and evolved during these decades. Eventually the Office of Student Affairs became the Division of Student Affairs and Services. The Service-Learning Center originally reported to the Dean of Student Affairs. Coinciding with the naming of the Division of Student Affairs and Services, and a corresponding university vice president to administrate, along with, in the early 1980's, the extensive university departmental and unit re-alignment due to state budget cuts, the reporting lines of Service-Learning Center came under Student Life, a unit of the Division of Student Affairs and Services.
1989: MSU is instrumental in launching the Michigan Campus Compact, http://www.micampuscompact.org, state "chapter" of Campus Compact, lead entity in organizing colleges and universities around voluntary service and service-learning. Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) was one of the first state compacts. MCC was housed through MSU until the late 1990's when it became part of the Michigan Non-Profit Association and "Connect Michigan Alliance."
1990-1991: MSU student leaders, seeking to revitalize student activism and action in response to the "Me Generation" of the mid/late 1980's create MSU Campus Outreach and Opportunity League (COOL). The MSU Alternative Spring Break program is a result of COOL, as is "Into the Streets".
1992: MSU COOL launches MSU and national "Into the Streets" Day of Service. "Into the Streets" continues as an annual fall event at MSU, and has expanded to include the MSU "Martin Luther King Day of Service".
1993-1994: The reporting line for the Service-Learning Center changes from that of Student Life to that of Career Services and Placement.
2000: Upon retirement of Mary Edens, long-time director of the Service-Learning Center, the director position is re-vamped to include a dual reporting line to Career Services and Placement, under the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services, and the Assistant Provost for University Outreach, (with reporting through Outreach being an addition.) The new director keeps responsibility for the Young Spartan Program and MSU America Reads/America Counts, (under Outreach Partnerships), expanding the role of the director, and broadening the work of service-learning. — While course-connected, academic service-learning had been part of the charge of Service-Learning Center, renewed and focused efforts on academic service-learning begin. Working with University Outreach helps service-learning at MSU to reach back to its "roots" in viewing outreach as scholarship cutting across teaching, research and service, with academic service-learning providing a strong linkage between undergraduate learning and the community.
Campus Compact, in partnership with the Pew Charitable Trust, on a national level encourages colleges and universities to re-visit a basic tenet of service-learning, education for social and civic responsibility. National efforts for colleges and universities to listen to "community voice" so that service initiatives were purposeful and reciprocal also appear, prompting MSU to re-visit the ways in which it views service-learning. Greater emphasis is placed on service as meaningful, active community-based learning, builder civic responsibility, and a means of helping students to develop a sense of caring for others.
2002: Hiram Fitzgerald is appointed Assistant Provost for University Outreach, and creates a new unit in Outreach called Civic Engagement to reflect national trends in student service and service-learning and the philosophies of University Outreach, (whose name is later changed to University Outreach and Engagement (UOE)). The director of the Service-Learning Center (SLC), Young Spartan Program and MSU America Reads is named director of UOE-Civic Engagement (CE). The SLC works in tandem with CE, and some functions overlap. Primarily, however, administration remains separate, but with the same director.
2002, Fall: The Vice President for Student Affairs and Services removes the SLC from the administration of Career Services and Placement, to coincide with the naming of CE as its own unit under UOE. The SLC reports directly to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services. The work of the SLC and CE become more intertwined once the direct connection to Career Services is removed, and more comprehensive outcomes, to include academic linkages, leadership development, sense of on-going caring for others, education related to social justice, and civic responsibility and engagement, are the intent.
2003, Fall: To reflect the connections between the SLC and CE, the two units are given the joint title, Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement (CSLCE). CSLCE is responsible for curricular and academic service-learning and civic engagement, support to faculty for service-learning and community engagement opportunities involving students, co-curricular service initiatives, the Young Spartan Program, MSU America Reads/America Counts initiatives, and serving as "clearing house" for students and faculty seeking service placements and community non-profits seeking assistance from students.
2005, Fall: MSU hosts the 5th annual International K-H Service-Learning Research Conference. Three members of the CSLCE administrative team published the corresponding book, "Advancing Knowledge in Service-learning, Research to Transform the Field."
May 2005: Due to school closings and changing priorities in the Lansing School district related to curriculum development and professional development for teachers, the Young Spartan Program as a discreet partnership ended. The commitment on the part of the CSLCE to provide service-learning students to Lansing School District schools continued.
2006, Fall: The Asian Indian Endowment for the Education of Underserved Children endowment was formed to initially support the work of the CSLCE with the educational programs of the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing. Members of the Greater-Lansing Asian Indian Community initiated this endeavor. Support continues.
2007, Winter: To recognize the contributions of the MSU STEP volunteers of 1965-68, and the achievements of the students who benefited from MSU's service to others, there was a STEP reunion during the University's Martin Luther King Jr., celebratory activities.
2006-2007:The growth in MSU service-learning has been appreciable since the formation of the CSLCE as an independent, "stand-alone" unit reporting jointly through the Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement and the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services.
In 2006-2007, 13,825 student applications/registrations for service-learning were received and accommodated through the CSLCE.
2008-2009: Marked the 40th Anniversary of the CSLCE.
In 2008-2009, the CSLCE received the Presidential Award.
2009-2010: 16,114 student community engaged learning and/or community service registrations were reported campus-wide
2010-2011: 17,892 student community engaged learning and/or community service registrations were reported campus-wide
2011-12: 18,899 student community engaged learning and/or community service registrations were reported campus-wide
2012-2013: 20,739 student community engaged learning and/or community service registrations were reported campus-wide
2013-2014: 20,781 student community engaged learning and/or community service registrations were reported campus-wide
2014-2015: 26,127 student community engaged learning and/or community service registrations were reported campus-wide
2015-2016: 27,475 student community engaged learning and/or community service registrations were reported campus-wide
2016-2017: 32,223 student community engaged learning and/or community service registrations were reported campus-wide
2017-2018: 32,241 student community engaged learning and/or community service registrations were reported campus-wide
Awards and Recognition
In recognition of the service and engagement of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners, Michigan State University was awarded the following prestigious awards in 2014
2014 U.S. President's "Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (with Distinction)"
2014 Carnegie Foundation "Elective Community Engagement" Classification
2014 Michigan Campus Compact "Engaged Campus of the Year"