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CommUniverCity San Jose: A Partnership for Service and Learning
Unformatted Document Text:  courses. That said, university financial support for service learning is minimal and with a heavier-than average workload, many faculty members are unwilling or unable to find the time it takes to develop effective service learning projects for their students. Student time is also a challenge. Besides commuting, most SJSU students work full-time or part-time and many have families. These obligations make it hard for them to participate in activities outside the classroom, and some resist such assignments. Nevertheless, many faculty members believe in the power of service learning and make time for their projects, while students, once engaged in service, soon see the benefits and enjoy participating in an alternative to traditional classroom teaching. City. Founded in 1777, San José is the oldest civilian settlement in California. An agricultural market town for two hundred years, San José boomed beginning in the 1950s, growing from a population of 95,000 to nearly a million today. The tenth largest city in the United States, San José claimed the title of “Capital of Silicon Valley” as high tech industries came to dominate what once was a valley of orchards. Highly diverse and relatively affluent, San José is a classic Sunbelt sprawling city, with a small downtown surrounded by old neighborhoods like FWBT, and then miles and miles of suburban-style housing—now some of the most expensive in the country. San José’s website ( www.sanjoseca.gov ) describes its form of government as council-manager, but it is better understood as a mayor-council-manager or “adapted” city, ii with both mayor and council playing a more active and authoritative role than is typical in council-manager systems. A confluence of factors prepared the city for partnership in CommUniverCity. One important element was the city’s Strong 4

Authors: Christensen, Terry., Jackson, Melinda. and Agredano, Ricardo.
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courses. That said, university financial support for service learning is minimal and with a
heavier-than average workload, many faculty members are unwilling or unable to find the
time it takes to develop effective service learning projects for their students. Student time
is also a challenge. Besides commuting, most SJSU students work full-time or part-time
and many have families. These obligations make it hard for them to participate in
activities outside the classroom, and some resist such assignments. Nevertheless, many
faculty members believe in the power of service learning and make time for their
projects, while students, once engaged in service, soon see the benefits and enjoy
participating in an alternative to traditional classroom teaching.
City. Founded in 1777, San José is the oldest civilian settlement in California. An
agricultural market town for two hundred years, San José boomed beginning in the
1950s, growing from a population of 95,000 to nearly a million today. The tenth largest
city in the United States, San José claimed the title of “Capital of Silicon Valley” as high
tech industries came to dominate what once was a valley of orchards. Highly diverse and
relatively affluent, San José is a classic Sunbelt sprawling city, with a small downtown
surrounded by old neighborhoods like FWBT, and then miles and miles of suburban-style
housing—now some of the most expensive in the country.
San José’s website (
) describes its form of government as
council-manager, but it is better understood as a mayor-council-manager or “adapted”
city,
with both mayor and council playing a more active and authoritative role than is
typical in council-manager systems. A confluence of factors prepared the city for
partnership in CommUniverCity. One important element was the city’s Strong
4


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