Goals and Purposes
Learning, Service, and Work Well Done
The Labor Program, through the leadership of the Dean of Labor, the Labor Program Council, and countless supervisors and mentors, reflects a unified vision of labor as student and learning centered, as service to the College and broader community, and as necessary work well done. In 2000 the Strategic Planning Council (SPC) appointed a subcommittee to review the Labor Program and make recommendations for improvement with special focus on enhancing labor as learning, including “developing broad, related visions of learning and labor that attend to students becoming more reflective, responsible people while enhancing their capabilities as learners and contributors to the world of work in and beyond Berea.” Through its work the Labor Review Team subcommittee developed the following seven Labor Learning Goals for the program:
Labor Learning Goals (LLG)
- To develop and sustain habits of understanding all working as both independent and interdependent contribution to a community integrating labor, learning, and service.
- To develop and sustain understandings of working well in community – of what it is to work well, of how to work well, of why work well. This may include systems and interrelationships within workplaces and community, general principles grounding specific tasks, and practices pertaining to use of resources and sustainability.
- To develop and sustain abilities to communicate, collaborate, and interact with others as compassionate and caring human beings; as diverse people both similar and different from each other; and as co-workers with shared goals.
- To develop and sustain abilities to solve novel, complex, multifaceted problems as they arise, whether working collaboratively or individually.
- To develop and sustain both basic workplace habits (e.g., timeliness, healthy attitudes about working and co-workers, motivation to work well, flexibility and discipline, accountability and initiative, willingness to learn and to share learning, etc. ) and job-specific practical skills, abilities, or knowledge (e.g., software).
- To develop and sustain abilities to learn how to learn, including habits of offering and accepting constructive criticism and habits of effective reflection, including reflection about broad, deep issues related to labor, work, and the world of work beyond Berea.
- To develop understandings of self (interests, abilities) and of the changing world of work in order to promote habits of responsible deliberation about possibilities for future work:
- Work chosen to fit individuals’ interests and abilities (i.e., work as a vocation or calling)
- Work chosen to address needs of others and community (i.e., working as serving)
- Work chosen as an important, enjoyable, and valuable activity (i.e., work as fulfilling)
- Work chosen in light of those harmonies that constitute living well (i.e., work as aspect of multi-faceted life).
The Labor Program is also designed to support the following objectives:
- Support the total educational program at Berea College through experiences providing the learning of skills, responsibility, habits, attitudes, and processes associated with work;
- Provide and encourage opportunities for students to pay costs of board, room, and related educational expenses;
- Provide staff for college operations;
- Provide opportunities for service to the community and others through labor;
- Establish a life-style of doing and thinking, action and reflection, service and learning that carries on beyond the college years.
Labor assignments function very much like classes. Beginning at basic levels of work, students are expected to progress to more skilled and responsible levels. Through these experiences, it is expected that student workers will 1) develop good work habits and attitudes, 2) gain an understanding of personal interests, skills and limitations, and 3) exercise creativity, problem-solving and responsibility. Students may also learn the qualities of leadership, standard setting, and effective supervision.
The Labor Program makes it possible for students to know each other as co-workers as well as classmates. More importantly, linking the Academic and Labor Programs establishes a pattern of learning through work that continues long after college is completed.