Frequently Asked Questions
What is service learning?
At Georgia Southern University service-learning is an opportunity to assist community partners with their organizational capacity through a partnership with Georgia Southern students and faculty. This partnership encourages community organizations to utilize the skills, resources, creativity, and expertise of Georgia Southern students and faculty to address an unmet need.
Georgia Southern University recognizes our community partners as co-educators in the service-learning experience. The expertise you bring to the community and share with the students provides them valuable experience and knowledge about not only your issue, but also the community we share.
Service-learning experiences can result in the accomplishment of new projects, revamping of previous projects, and in some cases more hands to tackle projects placed on the back-burner. A service-learning project can take multiple shapes:
- Direct: Interaction between students and your staff or clients (e.g. teach children in an afterschool program, interact with seniors at a living facility, read to young children, prepare adults to take the GRE, plan an event, etc.)
- Indirect: Students will not need to visit the community partner site weekly to complete these projects (e.g. create marketing and advertising pieces, write grant documents, devise an interior design layout, write a strategic plan, website updates, etc.)
- Community Based Research: These projects seek to engage the expertise of the community partner, faculty, and student to address a pressing community issue for your organization, while also meeting academic objectives (e.g. assessment of community needs, land mapping, water testing for residents, etc.)
- Advocacy: Students create awareness and promote action on a local issue (e.g. plan/participate in advocacy activities, public speaking, conducting public information campaigns, etc.)
How do I know if service-learning is a fit for my organization?
This partnership is ideal if you believe that students and faculty have a skill or expertise that can help you fulfill your mission. Service-learning should be a win-win-win situation for you, the students, and faculty.
How do I find a class to assist with a project?
The Office of Leadership and Community Engagement will assist you in this process. If you have worked with faculty previously and would like to do so again, feel free to contact them. However, we will initiate contact with faculty to match your project needs as most community partner projects change.
How do service-learning volunteers differ from other volunteers?
Service-learning volunteers are receiving a for-credit experience. The purpose of their volunteer experience is to connect classroom instruction with community involvement. Students are required to reflect on their time assisting the community partner and how this experience reflects classroom materials. These students DO NOT complete at-will projects unless it directly ties to the course objective of the service-learning project. Students are required to complete a minimum of 15 hours to complete this requirement.
How long does a service-learning project last and how much time must I commit?
The time-frame for each project varies based on the organizations need and the faculty member time frame. Some projects last a traditional semester (15 weeks) while others continue semester to semester. The length of the project should be discussed with the faculty member you will be working with. Georgia Southern requires service-learning projects to consist of a minimum of 15 hours of work. This could mean multiple students at the site for hours at a time, depending on the project, or students maintaining contact with the community organizer to answer questions for project completion.
Am I required to grade students?
No. You will be asked your thoughts on the project to ensure the desired outcome. Some faculty will also ask for documentation noting student completion of hours, such as a signature on a time sheet.
Do I have to commit to a service-learning project every semester?
We welcome the opportunity for repeatable semester projects; however, each community partner needs are different and service-learning is another resource to help meet those needs. If you have participated in service-learning prior and received the desired resources then we encourage you to share this success with another community partner. If another project or need comes up and you think service-learning is a fit, we welcome the opportunity to partner again.
Last updated: 11/23/2016