CEWIL 

Mount Royal service learning

Key success factors

  • The project features an engaged group of community partners that continue to return. Many partners are not-for-profits or Mount Royal alumni. Working with community partners also shifted the student’s understanding of these organizations to view them as employers. The first partner in the program pilot was the Mount Royal human resources department, and through working with these students the department has since begun hiring co-op students. 

  • The capstone experience is spearheaded by a dedicated course instructor who recruits community partners.   

  • Course content is scaffolded with community partner engagement, allowing students to develop professional skills and confidence before their final meeting and ultimate transition to work as an HR professional.  

Unique characteristics

  • This experience gives every Human Resources graduate an opportunity to leave Mount Royal with an HR experience working with a client

  • The capstone features a variety of projects (e.g. diversity and inclusion, succession planning), so students can find a topic connected to their specialization that's of genuine interest. 

  • As a capstone project, students are introduced to a new way of learning they haven’t been exposed to over the course of their program. Students must break out of their regular routine and discover a new way of learning.  

  • The course is focused on career preparation through working with a live client.

Challenges

  • Service learning is a new topic for these students, so it takes time for them to understand aspects like the principles of reciprocity and reflect on the role of HR professionals in the community.   

  • It's important to optimize the reflective journal by setting expectations for the depth and frequency of reflection, and by helping students understand why the reflections are important.  

  • The ambiguous nature of the course is challenging for students and requires support from the course instructor (emails, office hours). The instructor must strike a delicate balance by guiding students to a place where transformative learning can happen without intervening and providing solutions.   

Resources

Mount Royal University

Key characteristics

  • Type: Service Learning
  • Year program was established: 2015
  • Number of students per year: 60
  • Number of employers/partners per year: 15
  • Programs/academic disciplines participating: Human Resources program
  • Duration of experience: 50-80 hours per term
  • Submitted by: Christian Cook