The Office of Mentoring & Service-Learning (OMSL) was established in the department of Student Affairs in the Student Development division in the spring of 2000. The mission of the OMSL at City College of San Francisco is to enhance student learning, promote teaching innovations and involvement, respond to community needs and foster civic responsibility and personal growth.
The role of the OMSL is to provide guidance and support to faculty and students in meeting the goals of the faculty project, to provide outreach and procedural information to community partners, and to assess and ensure the success of the programs in meeting the goals of the college. The kind of support that the office provides includes orientation and training for peer-mentors and service-learning students as appropriate, office and procedure support to faculty, project/curriculum design consultation, outreach and communication with the community, and assessment tools and reports. When possible the OMSL will provide faculty and/or students with a stipend or equivalent.
The OMSL supports two types of programs to increase student success and transfer, and enrich the college experience with hands-on application of classroom learning.
In the mentoring program, faculty members sponsor projects and recruit student mentors who have been through a course or program and know the challenges that students will face. Mentors, with the direction of a faculty sponsor, offer academic and personal support to help students succeed. We currently have faculty sponsoring peer-mentor projects in 27 academic and vocational courses or programs.
In the Service-Learning program, students participate in co-curricular and curricular community service projects. Students enrolled in courses offering service-learning as an option are placed in the community, where they apply both their academic and practical skills for the benefit of society. Service-Learning integrates community service with academic instruction so that each strengthens the other, and provides time for reflection and critical thinking while making significant contributions to individuals, organizations, and neighborhoods. For example, students taking biology courses may contribute to habitat restoration. We also support service learning projects which are linked directly to departments and the OMSL office, such as the Civic Engagement Initiative, which places interns in community-based organizations across the Bay Area to participate in intensive internships of up to 15 hours per week. Our flagship service learning program is Project SHINE (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders), which places students from political science, psychology, sociology, foreign languages and health science in classrooms throughout the city to prepare elders to take the citizenship exam.