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.
The program is an integral and stated part of the educational program as mandated by the Department of Education Work Colleges legislation. It is a competency based (rather than credit hour based) model of learning. It has clearly defined student learning goals and expected outcomes which are regularly reviewed by the Labor Program Council. The council has comprehensive responsibility for major programmatic changes that affect experiential learning in the program, with specific responsibility regarding evaluation and assessment of labor.
Labor Learning Goals and Expected Outcomes
Goal 1 – To develop and apply the six soft skills (attendance, accountability, teamwork, initiative, respect, learning) directly related to the work-learning-service level, the description of duties and the learning opportunities sections of the job description
Expected Outcome: In their labor positions, students will exhibit the good habits of attendance, accountability, teamwork, initiative, respect, and life-long learning.
Goal 2 – To develop and apply the hard skills articulated in the work-learning-service level, the description of duties and the learning opportunities sections of the job description
Expected Outcome: In their labor positions, students will demonstrate through their work, the specific skills and/or attitudes set forth in their job description.
Goal 3 – To develop and apply, whenever possible, the four core general education goals (Writer, Speaker, Researcher, Critical Thinker).
Expected Outcome: In each labor position, whenever possible, students will: exhibit skills in writing that applies to their work; successfully communicate information, thoughts and ideas; identify through discovery, data or ideas that support advances in their work; and demonstrate the ability to analyze and interpret ideas that benefit the work place.
Goal 4 – To work in labor positions that support the student’s academic goal and/or field of interest
Expected Outcome: Students will develop skills and professional attitudes related to their academic major, career, and or personal interests.
Goal 5 – To progress over time to more skilled and responsible levels of work, as defined by the seven Work-Learning-Service levels
Expected Outcome: Students, upon graduation, will have advanced to a WLS leadership level (4, 5, 6, or UC).
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.