Faculty Fellows Program

As part of VCU’s Quest for Distinction, funds have been designated for experienced service-learning faculty to participate in the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program. This program is designed to:

  • cultivate faculty leadership for the civic engagement aspect of the university mission by increasing understanding of current service-learning research literature.
  • support faculty development by advancing community-engaged research and the scholarship of teaching and learning, and
  • increase departmental and campus support for service-learning and community engagement by developing a cadre of master teachers in service-learning.

Application Deadline and Notification

Applications are received each spring, and notifications are made in early June for the following academic year. For additional details on applying, contact Dr. Lynn Pelco at lepelco@vcu.edu.

The application period is currently closed.

Faculty Fellows Application & Instructions(Word)

Current and Previous Service-Learning Faculty Fellows

Second-Year Fellows Re-Application Form (Word)


The VCU Service-Learning Faculty Fellow Program supports faculty members who have experience in teaching service-learning classes to improve, document and disseminate their mastery of service-learning to others. Fellows are appointed for one year with the potential of extending their appointment for one additional year. Second-year fellows must apply and be accepted.

Each Fellow is expected to:

  • update/improve at least one service-learning course.
  • produce scholarly products related to their service-learning initiatives.
  • provide formal and informal service-learning training to VCU peers and/or community partners.

Faculty Stipend

VCU Service-Learning Faculty Fellows will receive $3,000 for their participation in the first year of the fellows program. The second, optional, year is compensated at the level of $2,000. Continuing fellows must apply and be accepted. These amounts can be transferred to an academic department for course buy-out or for professional development, or can be received as two lump sum payments for summer salary (Note: 12-month employees may not receive summer salary).


All faculty, including tenure-line, term, clinical and adjunct appointments from all academic units at VCU with at least two semesters experience using service-learning, are eligible to apply for the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows program.  It is expected that each year’s fellows group will include both first-year and two second-year fellows.

Schedule and Expectations

Orientation Meeting:

Fellows are expected to participate in an orientation meeting during the first month of the academic year. The meeting provides an opportunity for Fellows to meet each other, review the program goals, overview each Fellow’s goals and develop a schedule for the year.

Faculty Fellows Learning Community:

The Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program runs from September 1 to August 31. All Fellows are expected to participate in six, Faculty Learning Community (FLC) meetings throughout the year to discuss progress on the Fellows’ service-learning teaching, scholarship and dissemination goals. Faculty Fellows will have assigned tasks, and the expectation is that adequate preparation will be completed prior to each FLC meeting. These meetings are designed to support Fellows’ accomplishment of their program goals, inform Fellows of internal and external resources, and create professional networks to advance service-learning and civic engagement at VCU.

Activities related to Teaching:

Each Fellow will work throughout the year to revise and improve at least one of their service-learning courses. In particular, Fellows will be expected to focus attention on improving the strategies/tools they use to assess their students’ learning outcomes and/or the community impact of their course.

Activities related to Scholarship:

Each Fellow will be expected to complete at least one scholarship product during the fellowship year. The Service-Learning Office staff will assist Fellows in finding outlets for their scholarly service-learning products. Co-authored products are encouraged, particularly those that include student and community partner co-authors. Fellows may work collaboratively with each other on scholarship products.

Activities related to Dissemination:

Dissemination to Faculty Peers: Fellows serve as members of the VCU Service-Learning Faculty Advisory Council. As Council members, they are expected to support the expansion of service-learning course offerings within their own departments or schools through presentations to faculty and/or individual- or small-group consultation. Each Fellow is required to provide documentation of their presentations/consultations, with a minimum of one presentation per year expected.

Service-Learning Institute Participation:

Each year, the VCU Division of Community Engagement presents a three-day Community Engagement Institute to introduce faculty, administrators, community partners, and graduate students to service-learning pedagogy and community-engaged research. Each Fellow will be expected to contribute to the planning and delivery of the Institute, which is offered annually in April.

Service-Learning Workshop Participation:

Once a year, the VCU Service-Learning Office presents a half-day Service-Learning Workshops for experienced service-learning instructors. The goals of the workshop are to build VCU service-learning instructors’ expertise in using service-learning pedagogy and to provide these instructors with an annual opportunity to network with each other. Each Fellow will be expected to contribute to the planning and delivery of this professional development event.

Reporting Requirements

Due on or before May 1:
 Each Fellow is required to provide the VCU Service-Learning Office staff with an end-of-year report that includes the following components. NOTE: Activities/accomplishments that are planned/expected to occur between May 1 and Aug. 31 can be included in the report as (Expected):

  • SECTION ONE: Evidence of their scholarly products and works in progress
  • SECTION  TWO: Description of dissemination activities completed (e.g., your contributions to the service-learning institutes/workshop, service-learning trainings/consultations you conducted within your unit)
  • SECTION THREE: An updated service-learning course syllabus with a narrative to explain the improvements made.

IMPORTANT: First-year fellows who wish to be considered or a second fellowship year must combine their end-of-year report with their Second-Year Fellows Reapplication Form (Word) and submit both by the May 1 deadline.

Selection Criteria

The goal of the VCU Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program is to involve faculty from a wide-range of disciplines. Evaluation of applications will be based on the following criteria:

Service-learning teaching goals:

  • Experience in teaching service-learning classes.
  • Assessment and/or evaluation of service-learning class to date.
  • Plans for improvement of at least one service-learning class.

Service-learning scholarship goals:

  • Alignment of the Faculty Fellows program to the applicant’s professional scholarship goals.
  • Plans for disseminating service-learning work through publishing and/or presenting at refereed professional conferences.

Service-learning dissemination goals:

  • Plans for disseminating service-learning expertise at VCU and/or in the community (community partner, academic unity and/or department).
  • Availability to assist with Service-Learning Institutes and Service-Learning Workshop  (see above).