The concept of service learning was introduced on this campus in the spring of 1996 by Evelyn Wesley Vice President for Student Services. Dr. Wesley hosted a series of brown-bag lunches designed to foster a greater understanding of service learning and to explore its implementation at San Jose City College. In the summer of 1996, a team of Dr. Wesley, then Dean Jim Potterton, yours truly, Ronald Levesque, Lois Janowski, and a student attended a three-day training workshop put on by Campus Compact, an association of colleges and universities that promotes community service. The team set a goal of producing a plan to start a service learning project on this campus. In the fall of 1996, this team formed a steering committee, and took concrete steps to secure the support of the administration to hire a consultant to help design a service learning program that would meet the needs of the campus. Audrey Munoz of the County Office of Education, and with experience in the Eastside Project at Santa Clara University, conducted a needs analysis, interviewed faculty and potential community partners, and offered a program design. By the end of spring 1997, the committee was able to secure administration support from President Bill Kester for a reassigned-time position for a service learning coordinator. The Academic Senate also voted to support a service learning program. Ronald Levesque was appointed coordinator for fall 1997. Jeanette D'Anna joined the steering committee at that time because a decision was made to house the program in the Job Placement Office.
- In the fall of 1998, the steering committee was honored with the Realizing Shared Dreams Award given by the Community College League of California.
- In Spring 200 1, the Service Learning Program at San Jose City College was awarded d a two-year $105,000 grant jointly with the Center for Service Learning at San Jose State University. This Corporation for National Service grant was awarded by the Center for Intergenerational Learning at Temple University. These neighbor colleges are collaborating in Project SHINE to recruit and train students to tutor elderly immigrants to help them become citizens.
- In Spring 2002, the San Jose Evergreen Community College District Board of Governors recognized the Service Learning Program for its positive impact on learning and on the community. Special mention was made of Project SHINE.
Over its five-year history, the program has grown steadily and quite rapidly. In the academic year 2000-2001, 360 students were referred (advised and placed) to community sites. 296 of them actually performed service learning, compiling 3701 hours of service. One year later, 2001-2002, the program referred some 765 students to community sites. 609 of these students completed some service hours, compiling 8783 hours of voluntary service. In addition, last year 26 faculty members assigned service learning projects in 41 sections of classes. Equally important, the number of community partners surpasses 50.