Following the University-wide reorganization at SF State in 2011-2012, the College of Health & Social Sciences emerged from the blending of academic units from the former Colleges of Health & Human Services and Behavioral & Social Sciences. Subsequently, we underwent a process to rename the college to the College of Health & Social Sciences, write a mission statement and create task forces to craft collective vision statements on scholarship and teaching. The creation of these documents involved a highly consultative process with faculty across the college. Following up on the vision statements produced by the task forces on scholarship and teaching, the Task Force on Contributions to Campus and Community has produced a draft of a “Collective Vision of Contributions to Campus and Community of the College of Health and Social Sciences.”
Background and Purpose
The dean of the College initiated a task force comprising members of the faculty from several academic units in Fall 2014 to create a unified, collective vision of contributions to campus and community. Specifically, this task force was charged with the responsibility of: (a) identifying the values and principles that reflect and guide contributions to campus and community (service) in the College; and (b) creating a working document that exhibits these values and principles.
The task force met regularly throughout the Fall 2014 semester and examined collegewide departmental RTP criteria specifically related to service, 6th-Cycle Reviews undertaken by academic units in the College, Universitywide documents (e.g., mission statement, and the WASC self-study) and documents pertaining to service activities in higher education throughout the United States. From the outset, the task force identified the critical issue of service to campus differing from service to community yet being frequently combined in RTP policy, and elsewhere. After much discussion, the task force drafted a vision statement distinguishing these contributions.
To solicit feedback and input on the draft of the vision statement from the faculty from all departments, programs, and schools in the College, the task force: (1) distributed the vision statement to the Chairs; (2) posted statement on the College website inviting all faculty (tenure-track, tenured, and lecturers) to offer their reactions to the document and provide specific feedback; (3) revised statement based on faculty feedback. Lastly the task force produced and posted the final version of the vision statement on the College website in the spring semester of 2016 alongside the vision statements on Scholarship and Teaching.
This Collective Vision of Contributions to Campus and Community (Service) for the College of Health & Social Sciences was produced, in part, to recognize that service is one of the three pillars of academic success. The mission of the College articulates an important commitment to prepare students as follows:
“to help solve the most pressing and enduring issues confronting the well-being of individuals, families, communities and society… and supports them in the pursuit of equity and social justice… [through] innovative teaching, scholarship and service that inspire leadership for positive social change.”
Activities that support these values are vitally important in the service of the College’s commitment. Equally important to the broad mission statement of the College, is a Collective Vision of Contributions to Campus and Community for the College of Health and Social Sciences including values and principles that guide service activities accomplished by CHSS faculty.
Contributions to campus and community are paramount to our mission. Within these categories, College policy and practice recognizes the importance of both contributions to the governance of the Departments, the College and University and to the civic engagement of faculty and students with the various communities we serve.
Effectively addressing the most pressing health and social issues of our time requires community partnerships that inform our teaching and scholarship. Within our various communities, service is essential to effect positive health, social change, intellectual growth and increased quality of life.
Our contributions to campus and community enhance the well-being of individuals and communities. We are proponents of equity, social justice and environmental sustainability. Our service activities ultimately involve advocating for, and working toward, the public good, including the betterment of institutions within all of our disciplines. Our contributions (or forms of service) are best achieved when they are initiated by faculty who derive intrinsic satisfaction from such service activities. The College endorses a breadth of service activities and strongly encourages faculty members to be involved in a blend of community-based as well as on-campus forms of service. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Engaging in community-based participatory action projects and other activities that increase the quality of life in, and across, various communities
- Engaging in partnerships with SF State and community-based organizations
- Serving on boards of community-based organizations and nonprofit organizations
- Connecting with schools and colleges to improve curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities
- Participating in community service learning activities
- Providing leadership within professional organizations and actively serving local, state-wide, national and/or international organizations
- Serving on departmental, College-wide, and Universitywide committees and/or task forces either as a member or in leadership position(s)
- Leading and coordinating departmental activities
- Mentoring fellow faculty members
- Serving as a faculty advisor to student organizations
In supporting these activities, the College adheres to, and promotes, the following values and principles:
Values and Principles
- Intrinsically Motivated: Significant participation in faculty governance is essential to the well-being of the department, college, and university. Faculty recognize the need for contributions and service at all levels. These service needs are best achieved when faculty freely decide what service activities they undertake to campus and community. Faculty maintain an understanding that service activities should be a personal interest, related to their professional disciplines, and become an integral part of their teaching and scholarship.
- Necessity of Outreach: Faculty are encouraged and supported to reach out to community institutions, organizations, and entities to forge partnerships in the interest of the public good.
- Student Involvement: Whenever possible students should be encouraged to participate in service activities and be mentored by faculty thus creating a college-wide culture of participating in meaningful service.
- Mutual Purpose and Shared Benefits: Faculty and community partners create service projects that serve the needs of both our campus and the community. Faculty understand the power of reciprocity through collaboration.
- Quality and Impact: It is critically important that ongoing assessments of the quality and impact of service activities be undertaken using valid qualitative and/or quantitative measures. Quality service should be able to demonstrate impacts on promoting equity, social justice, sustainability, individual and/or community well-being. Furthermore, as faculty become tenured, hence more senior gaining more expertise and stature, there is an expectation of commensurate development in the depth and breadth of their service contributions and an increase in their leadership roles.
- Faculty Governance: Faculty regularly serve on committees at the departmental, collegewide, and Universitywide levels to ensure the integrity of this governance process as well as to enhance the organizational functioning of the institution.