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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

For PULSE Supervisors

complete resource guide to the year in PULSE

Blue Jay Mural
Intersection of Columbus & Heath
Nightime Mural
Orange Line Mural
Mural on Bench

Introduction: What's here for me?

This page is designed to be a full resource guide to PULSE Supervisors.  It is our hope the content herein includes the forms, dates, and resources you might need to fulfill your role as a PULSE Supervisor.

Look out for the following items:

  • PULSE Calendar for Supervisors: Contains all dates pertinent to PULSE student schedules, the PULSE Placement Process, and deadlines.
  • PULSE Paperwork for Supervisors: As you need them throughout the year, find the Learning Work Agreement and Semester Evaluations here.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Not surprisingly, many PULSE Supervisors face similar obstacles, and encounter similar questions.  This resource is intended as a self-service shop for sharing some of the more frequently asked questions.

Please view the pdf version of the Supervisor Manual, filled with in depth history of PULSE, and the foundation for the service experience:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. The Placement Process
  2. Tips for Scheduling Student Service Time
  3. Elective Students
  4. Learning-Work Agreement
  5. Fall/Spring Evaluation Form
  6. Transitioning to Spring Semester
  7. Learning Work Agreement Addendum


The Placement Process

What is PULSE Council?

PULSE Council consists of 18 student leaders who have already completed the PULSE Course. Each supervisor will be paired with a PULSE Council member, who acts as a liaison between the supervisor, the PULSE students, and the PULSE office. Council members have been selected and trained for their role. Supervisors should communicate to PULSE Council members any questions they may have regarding the selection process, their students, or the program itself. Supervisors can expect to meet with their council member during the first two weeks of September.


What is the Town Meeting?

The Town Meeting is an opportunity for our students to attend information sessions pertaining to four of the placements that they have expressed interest in. This year, the Town Meeting will take place on September 6th, 2017 on the Boston College campus. It will begin with an optional dinner for our supervisors at 5:30 pm. Then, our supervisors will move to specified rooms throughout the campus, where they will give four, fifteen minute long presentations to our PULSE students. The presentations should give our students a basic idea of the nature of the organization, the times they will serve, and the sorts of tasks they can expect to perform throughout the year. Our office can provide projectors and laptops if a supervisor would like to show a powerpoint presentation or a video. Some supervisors choose to hand out fliers/ other information pamphlets, or even invite a former PULSE student to speak about his/her experience. PULSE Council members will be there to assist their supervisors throughout the night, and can answer any questions and address any concerns.


What are tours?

After the Town Meeting, our students will choose 3-4 placements that they would like to visit. These tours are very important, as they give our students an idea of what it will be like to spend their school year working with an organization. Each partner will host 3-4 tours taking place in the last two weeks of September, to be scheduled during the time when students would be serving throughout the year. Supervisors will be able to decide how many students to accommodate for each tour.


How do I decide which students will be serving at my organization?

Our supervisors use a variety of different methods to select which students they would like to work with. Some supervisors hold group or individual interviews during the times that students are touring their organization. Many supervisors will ask our students to fill out an application, to e-mail a small paragraph dictating their continued interest after the tour, or to fill out necessary forms, like the CORI form. Some supervisors will choose to offer every student that tours the opportunity to serve at their organization. How you decide to choose students is largely up to you, and can be discussed with your PULSE Council member. Be sure to inform your council member if students must fill out applications before the tour, or if you would like the students to partake in an interview.


How and when should I inform the students I’d like to make offers to?

If you would like to offer spots to the students who have already toured your organization, and gone through any necessary application steps, you can choose to e-mail the students or call them. You must notify all students who have toured/applied to work with your organization of your decision by September 20th, 2017. You can choose to accept a student, place them on a waiting list, or deny them, but they must be notified by this date. You can choose to accept students before this date, however, we ask that you do not make any acceptances before all interested students have finished touring your organization.


How will we confirm which students will be serving at our organization?

Our students may receive offers from more than one organization. Therefore, the student must choose which organization they would like to serve with once they receive those offers. Our students are required to inform you of their decisions by September 21st, 2017. If a student you have made an offer to has decided to work with another organization, you may offer his or her spot to a student on your waiting list. However, you will hear from all of the students you have made an offer to by 1pm on September 21st.


Once we know who will be serving at our organization, what are the next steps we should take?

Once you have confirmed which students will be serving with your organization, or as you are accepting students, you should work alongside the student to decide when they will be serving. Most of our students will serve two, four hour shifts on separate days. It may be prudent to ask students for their class and extracurricular schedule up front in order to find a time that works for both the organization’s schedule, as well as the student’s.


When will the students begin working with our organization?

All students will begin their service work on the week of September 25th. Since we are an academic program, our students follow the academic calendar. Therefore, when the university is closed for weather, or for holidays, are students are not asked to serve on those days. To view the official university calendar, please click here:


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Tips for Scheduling Student Service Time

  • Students are expected to serve 8 hours on-site per week. Most supervisors find this is best done in two 4-hour shifts each week.  A few students are able to serve one 8-hour day per week.
  • Be VERY CLEAR about the times students may serve at your site by indicating the hours available for on-site service time on the website, at the Town Meeting, and on tours.
  • Ask students to indicate their availability in terms of placement shifts.
  • Many supervisors do not give students a choice in terms of their schedule - after asking their availability, supervisors schedule students in a way that meets the placement's needs first.

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Elective Students

What is a PULSE Elective Student?

PULSE 'Elective Students' are enrolled in either of our PULSE Elective Courses, there are two offered per semester.  These courses are distinct from the core PULSE year-long academic program in a few ways: a) students may enroll in an elective for one semester only, b) students have typically already completed their core philosophy/theology courses, c) students tend to be upperclassmen/women, and d) some elective students have already completed core PULSE.

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How is the service requirement different for elective students?

PULSE Elective Students fall into two categories, those fulfilling a 'full PULSE placement' serving 8 on-site hours per week, and those serving approximately one 4-hour shift per week. It is the student's responsibility to be upfront about identifying him/herself as an 'elective student.'

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What do I need to consider and know about elective students in the Placement Process?

You have the following options in terms of accepting elective students: a) open to elective students serving 4 hours for one semester, b) open to elective students serving 8 hours only, OR c) open to elective students that commit for the entire year only. Although we recommend that all supervisors ask if students are in a PULSE elective or the core course, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to inform you during the Placement Process.

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How is the PULSE Paperwork different for Elective Students?

If the elective student is committed for 8 hours/week, please follow the guidelines for all PULSE students and complete the original Learning Work Agreement form.  If the elective students is committed for 4 hours/week, we have an alternate Learning Work Agreement and Semester Evaluation.  It is the student's responsibility to bring the appropriate LWA form to your supervisor, and to submit the forms to the PULSE Office by the appropriate deadline.  We have designed these alternate forms to make your job easier - they (hopefully) require less work of you, but the same investment of the student.  Please make use of the appropriate form.

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Learning Work Agreements

What is the Learning Work Agreement?

The Learning Work Agreement (LWA) serves as the learning contract between each student and site supervisor. The content of each students' LWA describes the supervisor and student's expectations for the year.  Logistical items covered in the LWA include: service schedule, absence policy, student tasks, and how the student can best seek guidance.  Other items included in the LWA are: qualities the supervisor hopes the student will develop to be most effective at placement, personal goals the student has, and how the student must conduct his/her self at placement.

The Learning Work Agreement is due WHERE and WHEN?

It is the STUDENT’S responsibility to submit the document on-time, however, we hope that you will set up individual meetings with your students to review the LWA that are best for your schedule in advance of this date.  Each student will be introduced to the LWA and receive instructions from their PULSE Council Member.

What is the process for completing the LWA?

Prior to meeting with each student, both you and the student must complete your respective sections of the LWA. We ask that ALL documents be typed. PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE to use similar content for all students at your site – it is quite reasonable to expect similar learning objectives, tasks, and development qualities of all students, (Questions 1-3).  Many supervisors have found it useful to create a LWA “template” for their agency, to reduce the magnitude of this task. 

During individual meetings with students, the contents of the LWA should be reviewed and discussed.  You should be prepared to answer questions about your expectations for them.  In particular, please be clear with students about your policies regarding attendance.  As you may recall, for a student to earn an A in their placement work, he/she must exceed all expectations. The A is awarded to only those students who have contributed in a truly exceptional way to your agency.  Council members will explain to students that the LWA defines the expectations for their service work, and that an A is given only when he/she exceeds the expectations defined in the LWA.  Students are encouraged to ask, during these meetings, what an “A” looks like at your site.  At the end of the meeting, please feel free to e-mail the final document to students and ask that they print it out for submission. (*in this case, electronic signatures are fine) Finally, please do save a copy of the complete LWA for your reference throughout the semester, and especially at when the time comes for grading.

Overview: In many ways this meeting should serve as the foundation for your relationship with each student for the year.  It is an opportunity to clearly define your expectations of them, as well as to let them know when and how you will be available to them.  Many supervisors like to specify how they prefer to be contacted by students, (phone/e-mail).  Others like to set-up a weekly check-in time at this meeting.  Regardless of your preference, now is the time to consider how you will monitor PULSE student performance throughout the semester, and how you will deliver feedback throughout the semester to ensure students meet your needs, and have an opportunity to improve. 

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Fall/Spring Evaluations

What is the process for completing Fall/Spring Evaluations?

Before students’ last day of service work, PULSE supervisors should fill out electronically the first 2 pages of the evaluation form, putting an X by the appropriate grade.  We ask that all supervisors complete the evaluation in MSWord to provide for easier submission via e-mail.  Given this request, we will accept electronic signatures.  It is essential that you discuss your evaluation with each individual student during a one-on-one meeting.  It is important that students receive candid written comments about their work at your agency, and that these comments support the final grade.  It is also important for PULSE students to have an opportunity to talk with you about their evaluation. 

The students will access the third page of the evaluation independently, and will complete it to assess their progress, comment on their PULSE placement experience thus far, and respond to your evaluation.  Please make time for your PULSE students to fill out the third page before you return the completed evaluations.  Students will receive information regarding the Fall Evaluation immediately following Thanksgiving Break.  Students will receive information regarding the Spring Evaluation sometime in April.

Supervisors are responsible for e-mailing ( completed evaluation forms, including the student portion, to the PULSE office.  Please DO NOT return evaluation forms to the PULSE office via the student. 

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Transitioning to Spring Semester

When will students return to service?

Service work resumes on the first day of classes, this year that date is Tuesday January 16th, 2018.

How does student scheduling work for the Spring Semester?

When scheduling students for their shifts during the Fall Placement Process, you may expect students to commit to the shifts set at that time for the entire year.  We instruct students to assume that their schedule is for the entire year, unless you, their supervisor, indicate otherwise.  If the student's schedule demands a change to the placement schedule, (there are many legitimate circumstances in which this will be the case), we encourage him/her to discuss this with you before the end of fall semester, to explore his/her options.  We expect that any changes will be made only if they are mutually beneficial. 

How do I select Spring Elective students?

We will have students enrolled in PULSE elective courses in the spring semester only, and these students will be seeking a placement.  Your council member will have asked you at the beginning of September if you are open to accepting one semester elective students in the spring semester, but he/she will likely confirm your interest the first week that classes resume.  We will aim to transition these students to placement schedules as quickly as possible.  To do so, we will be distributing a list of available placements will supervisor contact information to those students on an as-needed basis.  We will encourage them to contact you directly, indicating their interest and available schedule.

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Learning Work Agreement Addendum

What is the LWA Addendum?

The LWA Addendum is an optional document that may be initiated by either the student or the supervisor.  It is an opportunity to document changes in schedule, schedule policy, goals, or tasks for the second semester of service.  Perhaps the goals from the first semester have already been achieved. Perhaps a new schedule means that the student is participating in different programs, and his/her tasks have an entirely new focus.  Perhaps you and a student were not on the same page at the end of fall semester about the expectations for placement work - the LWA Addedum is an opportunity to clean the slate and beign on the same page for the second semester.

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