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Definition of Service-Learning

“Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities”

National Service Learning Clearinghouse, 2012


To enhance student learning through an integrated approach that amalgamates academic knowledge and organized service to address community-identified priorities.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to: 


Examine responsible and inclusive strategies for advancing sustainable communities. (Competencies: Decision Making, Analysis, Evaluation, Social Justice, Social Responsibility).


Demonstrate skills that convey a reciprocal relationship between the course’s discipline and the identified community priority (Competencies: Service, Others’ Circumstances, Appropriate Interaction)


Articulate the relationship between course content and service-learning experience through guided critical reflection assignments (Competencies: Reflection & Application, Evaluation, Decision Making).

Volunteer vs. Service-Learning

Community Service/VolunteerismService-Learning
Students pick-up trash in a local park. Environmental Biology students pick-up trash in a local park and research the effects of litter on surrounding ecosystems. They present their findings to the class.
Students volunteer at a nursing home.Students record the life stories of residents living at a nursing home and submit the biographies as an assignment for their Creative Writing class.
Students teach English to migrant workers living in their community.Political science students teach English to migrant workers and then have an in-class debate about whether immigrants should be required to learn English.

Models of service-learning

DirectInteraction between students and a community partner staff or clientsInteract with seniors at a living facility, teach a health concept, read to young children
IndirectStudents will not need to weekly visit the community partner site to complete these projectsCreate marketing and advertising pieces, write grant documents, and write a strategic plan
Community-based ResearchEngage the expertise of the community partner, faculty, and student to address a pressing community issue for an organizationAssessment of community needs, land mapping, water testing for residents
AdvocacyStudents create awareness and promote action on a local issuePlan/participate in advocacy activities, public speaking, and conducting public information campaigns

Last updated: 12/2/2022